Supporting Student Parents

naspa community college division

Rocio H. Fajardo, Ed.D.

May 23, 2018

In a recent article, Inside Higher ed shared the news that congress was beginning to place focus on student parents (Kreighbaum, 2018). Although several campuses have made efforts to support student parents, funding for their college attendance has continued to be limited. As mentioned in the article, “older students, transfers, veterans and student parents make up a growing proportion of the college-going population,” (Kreighbaum, 2018). Approximately 48% of students who are single parents are enrolled at the community college and are more likely to enroll in an associate’s degree, certificate program, or in a nonprofit college (Kantrowitz, 2017).   

The recent federal investment in student parents gives college campuses some hope. Student support needs to improve in order to meet the needs of the increasingly diverse population, especially as adult learners enter higher education at increasingly higher rates (Kasworm, 2003). In a study that looked at single parents, Yakaboski (2010) conducted focus groups with 21 single mothers and found that these adult students were feeling excluded. The students in the study felt there was a lack of family and child friendly events and that some of the student fees were more useful to traditional students (Yakaboski, 2010). The policies and practices implemented by student affairs professionals can have significant implications for adult learners (Compton, Cox, and Santos Laanan, 2006). The reality is that these students are enrolling in higher numbers each term, and our community colleges need to be ready to meet their needs.


Compton, J.I., Cox, E., & Santos Laanan, F. (2006). Adult learners in transition. New Directions for Student Services. (114), 73-80.doi: 10.1002/ss.208

Kantrowitz, M. (July 31, 2017). How to improve college success for single students with children. Retrieved from

Kasworm, C.E.  (2003). Setting the stage: adults in higher education. New Directions for Student Services, (102), 3-10.doi:10.1002/ss.83

Kreighbaum, A. (2018, April 6). More aid for student parents. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from

Yakaboski, T.  (2010).  Going at it alone:  Single-mother undergraduates’ experiences. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 47(4), 463–481.doi: 10.2202/1949-6605.6185,

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