Student parents face significant challenges that can limit their ability to enter, persist in, and graduate from college. Innovative partnerships between Head Start and the higher education system is a promising strategy to bring together essential supports to meet the needs of student parents and set them up for long-term success. This briefing paper explores what this partnership might look like, and how federal and state policy could encourage greater support for student parents and their families through Head Start.
In recent years, the goal of 60 percent of adults holding a postsecondary degree has been set as a key benchmark for the United States to build a skilled workforce and remain economically competitive. Engaging adults with some college credit but no degree is critical to reaching this goal.
As the Biden-Harris administration seeks to hasten the country’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, reforming the U.S. higher education system to ensure equitable access and attainment for all adults is more important than ever. The pandemic has disproportionately increased the caregiving, financial, and emotional burdens on student parents and their families—most of whom are mothers, students of color, adult and working learners, students with low incomes, and first-generation students [...]
Child Care Access for Student Parents in Oregon: Challenges and Opportunities for Improving Educational and Economic Success
Access to affordable, safe, and reliable child care is essential to the ability of college students with children to pursue higher education. In Oregon, systemic challenges within the state’s child care and early learning system can make it difficult for student parents to find and pay for the care they need. This report describes findings from a study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research to describe the landscape of child care..
Postsecondary attainment is widely recognized as key to accessing living-wage careers—in addition to fulfilling workforce demands and elevating the United States’ standing on the world stage. While much of the work to increase attainment rates has recognized the role of reengaging adults who have some college credit, but no degree or certificate, less attention has been paid to the salience of parenthood in adults’ postsecondary experiences.
Centering the Student Voice: Community Colleges and Sexual and Reproductive Health Access in Texas and Mississippi
Community college students’ lives outside of the classroom—including their sexual and reproductive health— can directly impact their ability to succeed in school, yet most community colleges do not provide sexual and reproductive health services (Bernstein and Reichlin Cruse 2020). Growing efforts to implement holistic approaches to student success also often ignore the role that sexual and reproductive health outcomes can play students’ academic careers.
Understanding the Student Parent Experience: The Need for Improved Data Collection on Parent Status in Higher Education
Data on students’ parent status would help campuses, higher education systems, and policymakers assess needs, target supports and services, understand student outcomes, and measure what works to promote student parent enrollment, persistence, and completion.
Head Start College Partnership to Promote Student Parent Family Success: A Roadmap for Collaboration
Collaboration between colleges and Head Start programs holds promise for promoting the educational and economic well-being of college students with young children.
Serving the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Community College Students: Promising Practices to Promote Student Success
Sexual and reproductive health and well-being plays a central role in the lives of young adults. The report describes existing gaps in service provision and highlights a range of practices that can be replicated and scaled up to expand access for community college students.
Nearly four million U.S. undergraduate college students are parents or guardians of children under the age of 18. These student parents, who already faced immense financial, child care, food, and housing insecurity before the COVID-19 pandemic, are now dealing with multiple new barriers, including school closures, lay-offs, and child care disruptions, among other challenges.