Many college students today are what used to be considered “nontraditional”: working adults who often have family care responsibilities. IWPR’s research shows that 26 percent of undergraduate college students have children. To substantially improve the rates of postsecondary credential attainment, which is crucial to increasing access to good jobs, colleges must recognize the need for supports and tailor them to college students with children. Recent IWPR research shows that even though the number of students with children on campus has been steadily increasing, the number of campuses with child care supports has declined.
Supporting students with children is also a critical component of promoting racial and ethnic equity in education, as rates of parenthood vary substantially by race and ethnicity. Among African American female undergraduates, for example, 47 percent are raising dependent children while in school.
IWPR’s Student Parent Success Initiative focuses on supporting students with dependent children who are pursuing college. The project involves research, tool-building, technical assistance, public education, and networking with advocates, policymakers, and practitioners invested in the success of student parents in postsecondary education.