Project Title

College Students Who Are Parents: Opportunities and Barriers for Success

Presenters

Faculty Sponsor Name

Evelina Sterling

Abstract (300 words maximum)

The purpose of this study was to investigate the unique needs and factors for success of college students who are also parents. Many experts suggest that most postsecondary institutions in America are ill-equipped to meet the needs of non-traditional students. Additionally, the number of college students who are also parenting is also increasing further highlighting this lack of preparation. Unfortunately, we know very little about this population since official statistics are not collected for this group, especially at the college and university levels. This study included qualitative analyses of about 30 college students who are also parents. Semi-structured one-on-one interviews were conducted, and a modified grounded theory approach was utilized to analyze the transcripts. College students who are parents often feel overlooked, invisible, or disconnected within the larger college community. A major concern among these students is the lack of access to on-campus support to help ensure retention, promotion and graduation. Disclosing family information can single students out because of the stigma associated with younger parents and may be seen as playing the ‘student-parent card’ by asking for preferential treatment. The reality is, this group has unique needs that should be equally considered for accommodations just as any other special group on-campus that may be at risk for poor retention, promotion and graduate rates.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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College Students Who Are Parents: Opportunities and Barriers for Success

The purpose of this study was to investigate the unique needs and factors for success of college students who are also parents. Many experts suggest that most postsecondary institutions in America are ill-equipped to meet the needs of non-traditional students. Additionally, the number of college students who are also parenting is also increasing further highlighting this lack of preparation. Unfortunately, we know very little about this population since official statistics are not collected for this group, especially at the college and university levels. This study included qualitative analyses of about 30 college students who are also parents. Semi-structured one-on-one interviews were conducted, and a modified grounded theory approach was utilized to analyze the transcripts. College students who are parents often feel overlooked, invisible, or disconnected within the larger college community. A major concern among these students is the lack of access to on-campus support to help ensure retention, promotion and graduation. Disclosing family information can single students out because of the stigma associated with younger parents and may be seen as playing the ‘student-parent card’ by asking for preferential treatment. The reality is, this group has unique needs that should be equally considered for accommodations just as any other special group on-campus that may be at risk for poor retention, promotion and graduate rates.