Student Parent Success Initiative

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“Nevertheless, I Persisted and Graduated”: A Single Mom’s Journey

This guest blog post is authored by Zoe Erickson in collaboration with IWPR’s Student Parent Success Initiative. Zoe graduated with her Bachelor's degree in June 2020 from Portland State University and is expected to obtain her Master of Public Policy at Portland State University by June 2022. Zoe is also a recipient of services of the Resource Center for Students with Children program at Portland State University.

Leveraging Head Start for Student Parent Families

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.

“The Pandemic Was Not Going to Stop Me”: A Student Parent Reflects on Struggles, and Success, during COVID

This guest blog post is authored by Jessica Vera, a [...]

Re-Engaging Student Parents to Achieve Attainment and Equity Goals

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.

Head Start-College Partnership to Promote Student Parent Family Success: A Roadmap to Guide Collaboration

Collaboration between colleges and Head Start programs holds promise for promoting the educational and economic well-being of college students with young children. Roughly one million undergraduate student parents with children under age six are income-eligible for Head Start, and their ability to complete their educational programs is linked to their access to affordable sources of early care and learning for their children. [...]

The Student Parent Equity Imperative: Guidance for the Biden-Harris Administration

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..

Busy with Purpose: Lessons for Education and Policy Leaders from Returning Student Parents

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.

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