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 Illinois, there are 97,000 student parents. That means 1 out of every 7 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 Illinois only 3% of four-year higher education institutions are affordable for student parents. Learn more in our factsheet.
Something needs to change. It’s time for Illinois to invest in the higher education ambitions of our students, and the well-being of our state’s youngest residents.
But luckily, we have some ideas. We created a policy roadmap that outlines what Illinois needs to do to create an environment that allows students parents to thrive and succeed. Here are a few highlights:
- Adopting an affordability guarantee, whether branded as “Debt-Free College” or increasing MAP grant beneficiaries and grant amounts, equips policymakers with clear affordability goals and provides students and families with the assurance that they can afford an education.
- Prioritize student parents in state child care programs, including investing in more on-campus child care centers.
- Adopt evidence-driven completion programs. The many challenges that student parents face results in lower than average graduation rates. State programs can address multiple barriers simultaneously, providing academic and career advising, funding child care and transportation support, and professional development.