Our Post-secondary Education Retention Program (PSERP) helps young adults (ages 18-25) to successfully complete their education goals—whether that's an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or certificate of completion from a trade program.

The program is a partnership of YSS's organization Iowa Homeless Youth Centers (IHYC) and the United Way of Central Iowa.

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How We Help

PSERP offers six key components:

  • Case management to address the needs of participants
  • A monthly stipend for attending classes, completing assignments, and maintaining a budget, as well as cash bonuses for good grades at midterm and finals
  • Mentors and tutors to provide individual support
  • Financial planning and coaching
  • Job searching, job shadowing, and internship assistance
  • Community involvement such as participation in clubs, volunteer opportunities, and engagement in community events

About the Program


PSERP supports youth who are working to overcome adversity. Individuals who are eligible for PSERP must meet the following qualifications:

  • 18-25 years old
  • Have a high school diploma or HiSET
  • Never before attended college and/or are the first in their family to attend college
  • Classified within a low income bracket

Learn more

If you are interested in participating in PSERP, contact Peri Sievers at psievers@yss.org or 641-691-4915 to set up an initial meeting.

If we determine you are a good fit for the program, Peri will walk you through the enrollment process, which includes an application, two letters of support, and two essay questions.

Arminta's Story

From a very early age, Arminta knew she wanted to be a paramedic. She was obsessed with ambulances and first responders. She knew she wanted to help people.

But growing up, Arminta struggled with an unsafe home environment. At age 16, she started acting out. She was removed from her home and placed in the juvenile courts, then bounced around to group homes, supervised living, and couch surfing.

Finally, Arminta went to IHYC, where she connected with resources and enrolled in PSERP. Thanks to the program, today Arminta is well on her way toward becoming an emergency medical technician—and eventually, a paramedic.

PSERP is there to help her every step of the way. When Arminta contracted COVID-19 during the fall semester, her advocates helped her adjust her plan, so she can still graduate on time.

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Contact Us

For more information about PSERP, contact Peri Sievers at psievers@yss.org or 641-691-4915.