According to a study conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, single parents make about a quarter of US undergraduate students. While this is a large group of the student population, colleges with on-campus childcare have declined more than five percent between 2005-2015. According to parents, these childcare facilities often have a long wait list and are often seen as unaffordable. The decline of on-campus child care underscores how uncommon campus policies that support students bringing their children to college classrooms are. However, there are now college professors who are changing their classroom policies to better accommodate students and their children.
Kylee Barnes shares her story of being a single mother while attending college. She remembers attending the community college in Albany, Oregon and being told right away that children were not permitted in class. Now, as a graduate student, she thought she was going to face the same struggle, but she didn’t. One of her college professors created a written policy that permitted parents to bring children to class, who were breastfeeding or without a sitter. Since then this policy was adopted by other educators on campus and across the country.
With the costs of tuition and child care on the rise, many single mothers are already discouraged to go back to school. Access to free or discounted childcare on campus can help single moms further their education; which would allow them to rise from poverty and live better lives. In order for single parents to afford child care or have the child in the classroom, college campuses need to offer better support systems.
Source: Lornet Turnball, “Kids in the Classroom Can Help Single Moms Rise from Poverty,” YES! Magazine, October 25, 2018, https://www.yesmagazine.org/peace-justice/kids-in-the-classroom-can-help-single-moms-rise-from-poverty-20181025.
Student Researcher(s): Rocio Hernandez, Mohammad Jaffery, Makayla Mejia, Gloria Ramirez (Sonoma State University)
Faculty Evaluator: Susan Rahman (Sonoma State University)