Spring 2015

Support System for Student Moms and Dads

The Student-Parent Support Initiative helps students with children connect with each other and find support.

FROM GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP to making good grades, being a college student is a constant juggling act. But for students who are also parents, finding that balance can be even more challenging.

About 25 percent of college students in the United States are responsible for dependent children, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Most are first-generation college students from underrepresented backgrounds.

To help, a group of Humboldt State University students has founded the Student-Parent Support Initiative, a place where students who are pregnant or have children can connect with each other and find support.

“Student-parents are not only dealing with the normal college stresses of budgeting and being successful in their majors, but they’re also responsible for raising their children while juggling school, work and home life,” says Child Development major Kayla Masengale, who conceived the idea with fellow senior Kathy Jiang.

“These students are highly motivated, but they also need additional support to succeed,” Jiang says. “Our first step is determining who they are and hearing their needs directly from them.”

Masengale and Jiang are working with on- and off-campus groups to identify HSU’s student-parent population and educate the campus and the public about their unique challenges. They plan to eventually create a resource book identifying campus and community resources available to student-parents.

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research estimates that about 25 percent of college students in the United States are responsible for dependent children and that most are first-generation college students from underrepresented backgrounds. In addition to working full time, most spend an average of 30 hours a week taking care of their children.

“Our goal is to establish a network for student-parents at HSU and then empower them to continue the dialogue and support each other,” Masengale says.