Colleges Pivot to Attract Student Parents Amid Enrollment Decline

colleges for student parents

Young people fresh out of high school are beginning to explore career pathways that don’t involve a college degree. This could be good news for one often overlooked population of college students—student parents.

With traditional enrollment on the decline, colleges are being forced to consider other student populations, and that includes those who have children at home. Moms and dads who are juggling parenting demands while working towards a degree have unique challenges. Chief among them?  Childcare expenses.

Related: Best Online Colleges for Moms

While the typical college freshman may prioritize study spaces and tutoring, parenting students might have other needs such as childcare centers and food pantries. Colleges and universities around the country are starting to make changes to accommodate students with kids to support.

The University of Michigan- Ann Arbor, for example, offers a full suite of services for student parents, including various childcare options, campus housing for families, and kid-friendly spaces across university facilities.

At the University of Washington – Seattle, student parents can apply for the school’s childcare assistance program, which can help cover the cost of care for children up to age 12.

Since 2011, the U.S. Department of Education has offered a federal assistance program for low-income student parents called Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS). Last year, the program offered nearly $84 million in grants to colleges and universities for the purpose of promoting childcare services and resources on campus.

Last year, the Understanding Student Parent Outcomes Act was introduced in Congress to improve data collection regarding this increasingly important segment of the college population in the U.S. If passed, the Act will fund a study to identify the best strategies for promoting success amongst college students who are also caregivers.