Supporting Student Parents by Addressing Basic Needs Insecurity

Student parents are the ultimate multi-taskers. Outside of the pressures that come from juggling academic responsibilities, student parents are responsible for the all-important work of raising happy and healthy children in a safe home environment. Unsurprisingly, the pressure that comes from this double-duty creates serious obstacles for degree completion. But although they make up around 22% of college students, student parents’ experiences are not always reflected in the resources and opportunities that their institutions offer. 

Despite being far more likely than non-parents to experience “time poverty,” student parents tend to be excellent students:  around 33% have a GPA of 3.5 or higher, outpacing their peers without children and those who are dependents themselves. Unfortunately, though, more than half of all student parents will drop out of the program in which they’re enrolled before completing.

To understand the challenges facing student parents, it's crucial that we know who they are and where we can find them. Though student parents can be found at all varieties of higher education institutions, they are most likely to be attending community colleges. En masse, student parents are more likely to be experiencing poverty than their peers, with 88% of student parents at or below the poverty level. The majority of student parents enrolled in higher ed programs are mothers, and within this group, 43% are single moms. Student parents represent a racially and culturally diverse student population: 60% are first-generation college students and more than half are students of color.

As an organization dedicated to reducing basic needs insecurity, Edquity has worked closely with students of varying circumstances to overcome barriers to their academic and personal success. More than half of the students we’ve supported in the past year are parents, allowing us to deepen our understanding of their lived experiences and the tools that they need to be successful. We hope that by sharing some of these insights, we can better enable institutions and other stakeholders to provide student parents with the support they need to navigate and complete their educational journey.

Here’s some of what we’ve learned from our experience supporting student parents through emergency aid and other programs: 

Pursuing higher education should not come at the expense of one’s health, safety or ability to be an attentive parent — and financial support is often the most effective way to provide student parents with the resources they need to balance both their educational and family responsibilities. To learn more about Edquity’s work with student parents, contact inquiries@edquity. 

Are you an administrator? Get in touch with us at to learn more about how you can bring equitable emergency aid to yours students today.

Are you a student? Contact or or click the blue bubble in the bottom-right corner of for assistance.

Written by
Edquity Team

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