UNITE-LA Today: Parenting Students Report Roll Out

At the L.A. Valley College Family Resource Center on May 7, Dr. Lisa Catanzarite, UNITE-LA’s Vice President of Research and Evaluation, presented findings from the Empowering L.A. Students for College Success research report, and Sonia Campos-Rivera, UNITE-LA’s Senior Vice President of Policy and Public Affairs, discussed policy opportunities to support parenting students. The research report illuminates parenting student demographics, their representation at L.A. County’s Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs), existing IHE supports, and the challenges faced both by parenting students and the institutions that serve them. Recommendations call for improved data collection and institutional supports that will foster equitable outcomes and improve college attainment for parenting students.

College success for parenting students is an equity issue. Our research is based on interviews and focus groups with 43 IHE administrators and staff and 11 parenting students, as well as the best-available quantitative data on parenting students from the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) and LACCD’s Fall 2022 Student Survey. This research also included questions on parenting that LACCD added. The report sheds light on the lives and struggles of L.A. County's parenting college students, including these findings:

  • 14 percent of all students at these institutions are parents.
  • Parenting is far more common among women than men, among BIPOC than white or Asian students, among older students and among community college students.
  • Many parenting students face significant hurdles like child care, housing, transportation, finances and scheduling, which dampen degree completion.

We are grateful to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation for funding this year-long project; to the LACCD Foundation, L.A. Valley College Foundation and SoCal Grantmakers for sponsoring the event; and to the interview participants across L.A. County two-year and four-year IHEs, the California Student Aid Commission and LACCD for providing invaluable information.

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