Student Parent Success Initiative
Meeting the demands of an evolving economy requires a skilled workforce that is adequately prepared to fill in-demand jobs. Earning a postsecondary credential is, therefore, more important than ever for families to achieve economic security and mobility. For the roughly four million college students who are parents of children under 18—70 percent of whom are mothers—earning a degree or certificate is a pathway to a better life for themselves and their families. These student parents, however, are often overlooked on college campuses and in the broader system of higher education, and lack access to the supports, such as affordable, high-quality child care, that they need to successfully graduate.
IWPR’s Student Parent Success Initiative conducts research and policy analysis, provides technical expertise and assistance, and communicates its research and builds partnerships to lift up the voices of students with children and increase equity in higher education for student parents and other underserved student populations.
This briefing paper outlines how state and federal
policymakers can center the immediate and longerterm needs of student parents in policy responses to the pandemic, so that they are able to safeguard their families’ economic well-being and continue along their pathway to college attainment.
Greater investments in helping single mothers graduate college would benefit their families, their communities, and society as a whole.
Investments in the postsecondary success of parents with young children can increase attainment of credentials leading to good jobs, bring children the benefits of high-quality learning environments, promote later college-going among children, and improve family economic security across generations.
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.
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.
DOWNLOAD REPORT About this Report Promoting family economic security and mobility requires collaboration across key systems that serve families. This report describes opportunities for the early childhood and higher education systems to support each other’s key goals for system advancements to increase economic [...]
Nearly four million undergraduates, or more than one in five college students, are parents of children under 18. These student parents face—in normal times— disproportionate economic insecurity, difficulty meeting basic needs, and significant time and caregiving demands. Yet, in spite of these challenges, they are also incredibly resilient.
Pregnancy and childbearing have implications for a number of economic and social outcomes, including educational attainment (Sonfield et al. 2013). Yet young people are often left without the knowledge and tools to make informed reproductive health decisions. The majority of adolescents and young adults are sexually active but many hold incorrect or limited information about how to effectively avoid unintended pregnancies.
Earning a higher education is increasingly necessary for achieving family economic security. For single mothers, who are more likely to live in poverty than other women, earning postsecondary credentials can bring substantial benefits, from increased lifetime earnings and employment rates to better health outcomes and chances of success for their children.