Did you know that one in five college students in the United States is a parent? They number nearly 4 million undergraduate students, yet few colleges and universities know how many parents they have on campus, or how these students are faring. Student-parents are highly motivated to attain a degree to provide a better life for themselves and their children, but they face unique barriers in accessing and completing their college education—student-parents are nearly twice as likely to leave college before graduating than students who are not parents.
As one of the first people that student-parents interact with on their educational journey, college admission counselors can play a key role in supporting the success of these students as they seek a higher degree.
Could changing the federal financial aid structure help more student-parents earn a degree?
A recent op-ed published by the Center for American Progress argues that awarding larger Pell Grants could help more parents persist to graduation.
“These funds would not be enough to cover anywhere close to the full cost of child care—nor would they address underlying structural issues related to the lack of available spots in high-quality child care options—but they would at least recognize that parents face larger costs than nonparents, including for things that go beyond child care, such as food or clothing,” Ben Miller, vice president for postsecondary education at American Progress, notes in his column.