“College campuses were not designed with student parents in mind.” This is now a common refrain echoed among student parent success advocates. It must be acknowledged, too, that the U.S. system of higher education was not designed for women, Black people, anyone parenting while in college, or those who experience life at the intersections of all three of these identities.
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.
Read the Letter September 13, 2021 [...]
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.
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 [...]
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.
This guest blog post is authored by Ashlee Hernandez, a [...]
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. [...]