Affordability is one of the biggest barriers to higher education for all kinds of students, but for students who are also parents, the cost of college can feel like an insurmountable barrier.
In Colorado, there are 50,000 student parents. That means 1 out of every 6 students is balancing the challenges of school with the responsibilities of parenthood. These students have unique needs that make affording college more difficult than it is for other students. In fact, in Colorado only 8% of four-year institutions are affordable for student parents. Learn more in our factsheet.
Something needs to change. It’s time for Colorado to invest in the higher education ambitions of our students, and the well-being of families in our states.
But luckily, we have some ideas. We created a policy roadmap that outlines what Colorado needs to do to create an environment that allows students parents to thrive and succeed. Here are a few highlights:
- Adopt an affordability guarantee, whether branded as “Debt-Free College” or an increase in the number of affordable institutions.
- Prioritize student parents in state child care programs, including investing in more on-campus child care centers.
- Improve access to SNAP for student parents.
- Establish a student parent attainment goal and collect data about student parent experiences.
“Being a student parent is not easy, especially when trying to maintain an over 3.7 GPA like I’m doing. Without the CCAMPIS [on-campus childcare] grant, there would be no way that anybody in my position could pay for their child care and do well in school. I need CCAMPIS to remain available as I finish my bachelor’s degree at a 4-year college and work hard to achieve my goals – otherwise, it would be almost impossible to focus on school. In general, student parents face unique challenges that make it harder for us to get by and that’s what a lot of folks don’t realize.”
– Erin Scott, a Student Parent in Colorado Springs, Colorado.