Spotlight: Student Parents in the News

By Rachel Linn

SPSI

Student parents have been gaining visibility in recent months among the media, funders,
and policymakers. In August, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton released her higher
education proposal, which highlighted the importance of child care for student parent success, and included a significant increase in funding for the Child Care Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. IWPR’s fact sheets—“4.8 Million College Students are Raising Children” and “Campus Child Care Declining Even As Growing Numbers of Parents Attend College” —have been cited in coverage of the proposal. News outlets used IWPR research and interviewed experts to draw attention to the “invisible population” of college students with children, particularly the need for accessible and affordable childcare options. Social media was also abuzz with the topic of student parents, as IWPR partnered with the Young Invincibles to host a tweet chat about the barriers these students face and policy solutions that encourage postsecondary success as part of Young Invincibles’ popular #MillennialMon series.

In addition to increased visibility in the media, two new major campaigns have recently been launched by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, both with a strong emphasis on supporting low-income parents in college. With a total investment of $11.6 million, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation launched two new pilot programs—Supporting Transitions to Employment for Parents (STEPS) and Mobility and Opportunity for Valuable Employment by Upskilling Parents (MOVE UP)—to help families across the United States increase workforce mobility and achieve economic security.

The Lumina Foundation’s Today’s Student campaign, which features IWPR’s research on student parents, targets credential attainment among all students, including students that may be older, enrolled in alternative educational options, or have limited time due to employment or dependent children. IWPR Vice President and Executive Director Barbara Gault spoke on a panel at the release event for the Foundation’s campaign, held in the U.S. Senate on September 17.

Press highlights on student parents:

-IWPR Vice President and Executive Director Barbara Gault authored an op-ed published by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, about the importance of child care to student parents as part of her Public Voices Fellowship with The OpEd Project (September 18, 2015).

-Danielle Paquette from The Washington Post cited IWPR’s research on student parents and interviewed Research Associate Lindsey Reichlin in “This simple addition to college campuses could cut costs for a quarter of undergrads” (August 10, 2015).

-Politico cited IWPR Status of Women in the States research on proportion of family income spent on child care in “Clinton Wants to Expand Grants, Services for Parents Who Attend College” (August 14, 2015).

-The Atlantic cited and linked to IWPR reports and research on student parents in “Single Moms and Welfare Woes: A Higher-Education Dilemma” (August 18, 2015).

-National Journal cited IWPR research on student parents and quotes Research Associate Lindsey Reichlin in “Why Hillary Clinton Faces Steep Hurdles in Helping Student Parents” (August 20, 2015).

– Today cited IWPR research on the number of college campuses with child care in “Should Babies be in the Classroom? One Mom’s Fight to Bring Her Daughter to Class” (September 24, 2015).

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