At least one in five of today’s college students is parenting a child while enrolled in classes.1 If
these parenting students complete their degrees, both they and their children could expect
improved social, economic, and health outcomes. Nevertheless, degree attainment rates among
parenting students are low, and evidence about their experiences—which is critical to improving
policy and practice regarding parenting students—is sparse.
In 2019, the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice began using our tools to
fill that gap. Specifically, we added new questions to our fifth annual #RealCollege survey,
asking parenting students at 171 two-year institutions and 56 four-year institutions about their
experiences with basic needs insecurity, childcare, depression and anxiety, and campus and social

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Publication Date: May 01, 2020
Published By: The Hope Center, Sara Goldrick-Rab, Carrie R. Welton, and Vanessa Coca