The New Opportunity School for Women is designed to improve the educational, financial and personal circumstances of low-income, under-educated women between 30 and 55 years of age living in the Appalachian region.



The New Opportunity School for Women was founded in 1987 by Jane B. Stephenson at Berea College in Kentucky out of an urgent need to help women in Appalachia become better educated and employed.  The program helps determined women to improve their lives and shape a fulfilling and successful future.   Building on its success, and the need to help low-income women in Appalachia, three additional programs were established.  The programs are held at the following locations:   Lees-McRae College, NC;  Bluefield College, VA; and, the fourth NOSW program on the campus of Maryville College. 

After 27 years of offering the program, over 770 women have graduated and 73% of NOSW graduates are sustainably employed, enrolled in further education, or both.



Women who enroll in NOSW will spend three weeks in residence at Maryville College.   Through testing and individual counseling,  participants will explore career opportunities and educational interests. 

Through testing and individual counseling, job skills will be identified.  Classes in basic computer skills, successful job search techniques, resume writing, and interview skills are part of the curriculum as well as internships with local businesses.

The New Opportunity School for Women prepares women for further education by providing academic skills, knowledge of processes, and a spirit of confidence based on achievement necessary to succeed.    The NOSW curriculum includes Appalachian literature, creative writing, basic finance and math classes along with classes in leadership development and self-esteem.

Cultural opportunities are provided on weekends through learning new artforms and through field trips to museums, music programs, and plays.   Weekend fieldtrips to explore the beauty of East Tennessee are also part of the program.

Through an intensive curriculum, hard work, community internships and career counseling, participants tap into new knowledge and skills while realizing value of their own wisdom, experiences and abilities. In three weeks, women begin to rediscover personal strengths, courage and life goals that have often been hidden by overwhelmingly difficult circumstances. The NOSW program is a life-changing event.

There is no cost to attend the New Opportunity School for Women.  Room and meals are provided.  Grants for travel to campus and childcare are available; however, childcare cannot be provided on campus during the three-week program.  

Participants remain on campus for the entire three week program.


The New Opportunity School for Women at Maryville College

- 2015 Program -

July 12 - August 1, 2015



 Fourteen women will be welcomed to attend the New Opportunity School for Women at Maryville College and to participate in the three week in-residence program.  

To qualify, applicants need to submit an application and have the following:

      • A high school diploma or a high school equivalency certificate, and do not have a college degree
      • Be at least 30 years of age
      • Demonstrate motivation and an eagerness to learn
      • Low income

 Program candidates will be interviewed either in person or by telephone. During the interview, applicants will be expected to express what they hope to accomplish in their personal life by attending the New Opportunity School for Women. Those chosen to participate in the program will be notified by telephone and mail. 

 Download Application:     



The New Opportunity School for Women is completely supported through grants, sponsorships, in-kind gifts and by donations. We are a 501(c)(3) and all donations are tax deductible.    Your interest and support are greatly appreciated!

      • $3,800 provides a scholarship covering all expenses for one woman.
      • $925 provides room and board for one woman.
      • Your donation of $10 to $1,000.00 will help provide books, transportation and/or partial housing.

To help us to continue to serve low-income Appalachian women in East Tennessee,  your  support in any amount is greatly appreciated.

Please mail your donation to:
New Opportunity School for Women
Maryville College
502 E. Lamar Alexander Parkway
Maryville, TN 37804-5907


We thank you for your interest and support!