“Tysa Rose had done everything she was supposed to when she enrolled in her local community college in Fargo, North Dakota, two years ago. She signed up for classes that allowed her to keep working full time so she could afford her rent and $800 monthly daycare bill. She applied for financial aid. She searched for an affordable laptop.
Despite her efforts, things didn’t go as planned once classes started.
‘I bought the cheapest laptop I could find at the time, and certain programs that I needed were not accessible for me on that laptop, so I ended up not passing the course,’ Rose says.
Burnt out and not wanting to waste money by signing up for the next semester only to potentially have the same thing happen again, Rose put her studies on hold. Her experience is all-too-common for the student parents on college campuses across the country.
About 4.8 million undergraduate students in the U.S. are parents, according to a 2021 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). But in the past decade, their numbers have declined at a rate faster than the overall student population as they face more acute financial burdens.
With extreme demands on their time, plus too few affordable child care options, student parents drop out at rates far higher than their non-parent counterparts. Only 18% of student parents actually earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree within six years, a problem that not only affects their own long-term economic stability, but that of their kids, too.”