Today I have a piece in The American Prospect on student parents. Check it out:
Each morning, Sherita Rooney wakes up around 6 a.m. She gets her 14-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son ready for the day. She makes breakfast and gets her children to school before driving an hour to West Chester University outside of Philadelphia, where she recently transferred after graduating from Montgomery County Community College.
Every day is difficult, but Tuesdays are especially so. She works from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. before class from 2 to 7. She picks up her kids, then brings them home and puts them to bed. As a math education major, she takes challenging classes that keep her up late studying. She goes to sleep around 2 a.m. each night. The next day, she gets up and does it over again.
Without the child care scholarship she found through the Philadelphia-based nonprofit, Family Care Solutions, Inc., Rooney says, she's not sure what she would do. She'll find out this summer, when she's signed up for classes but won't have the scholarship.
Student parents like Rooney make up about a quarter of all postsecondary students in the United States, according to a new report released by the Institute for Women's Policy Research. The report estimates that of the total of 3.9 million student parents in the country, more than half are low-income. About 12 percent of all undergraduate students in the United States are single parents, and of those more than three quarters are low-income. The vast majority of them are women.