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—characteristics which can overlap to create steep obstacles in their efforts to achieve success. Robust investments in accessible degree and credential pathways that lead to family-sustaining jobs are required for the country to successfully and equitably “build back better.”

“The Student Parent Equity Imperative: Guidance for the Biden-Harris Administration” serves as a call to the Biden-Harris administration to include parenting students and their families in its policymaking efforts tied to postsecondary education, early care and education access, and social welfare. The recommendations span four areas: supporting student parents’ college access and success, building affordable pathways to college for student parents, expanding caregiving support and child care access for student parents, and increasing basic needs security for student parent families. This memorandum was developed with support from The Kresge Foundation.