Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation working toward equity for underserved and historically underrepresented communities by expanding access to educational and employment opportunities, increasing affordability of educational programs, and ensuring the necessary supports are in place for individuals to thrive.
By Dr. Queena Hoang, Michelson 20MM Foundation (Originally published on 20MM.org)
Student parents in California and throughout the nation face unique challenges and barriers to their success. Oftentimes, they are saddled with twice the student loan debt of their childless peers, and less than a third of parenting students graduate from undergraduate programs within six years. Despite the obstacles, student parents tend to be among the best students, having higher GPAs on average.
Unfortunately, colleges and universities contribute to many of the barriers faced by student parents. Stigmatizing behavior runs rampant and discrimination has, in many ways, become the norm as many students are denied the courses they need or want, leading to withdrawal or an inability to complete their studies. Student parents also struggle with navigating absences for doctor’s appointments, sick children, and childcare needs and are often restricted in participating in certain activities. Additionally, many campuses lack secure and private spaces for taking lactation breaks, which makes three- to four-hour lectures and back-to-back night classes particularly challenging. These difficulties underscore the need for greater support and accommodations for student parents in educational institutions. We can and must do better.
Recognizing this, New Protections for Pregnant and Parenting Students: Updates to Title IX, the latest webinar in our virtual learning series, explored how Title IX—a crucial federal law—provides support for pregnant and parenting students in almost every school in the United States. Led by subject matter expert, Jessica Lee, senior staff attorney at the University of California College of Law, San Francisco Center for Worklife Law, the conversation explored the history of the law and its promising, long overdue updates.
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