Higher education is essential to accessing high-demand jobs with family-supporting wages and improving family financial well-being. This was true before the COVID-19 pandemic and is especially true now as the nation continues the process of recovering from one of the worst public health, economic, and social crises in modern U.S. history. Early evidence suggests that the pandemic exacerbated barriers faced by student parents, affecting their college plans.
To ensure student parents are wholly supported in their educational pathways, research is needed to understand the connection between quality, affordable child care and student parents’ academic outcomes. Yet several challenges persist that make rigorous study of this connection difficult. Drawing on interviews with campus child care directors and a review of data and relevant literature, this brief presents a snapshot of the availability and importance of campus child care services for student parent success. It concludes with recommendations to improve conditions for rigorous research on the role of campus child care in the outcomes of college students with children.
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.