Quentin Batalillon

General News 2024

Universities provide resources for student parents to help them succeed

Editor’s Note: The following is part of a class project originally started in Professor Adam Kuban’s classroom at Ball State University in the fall of 2021. Kuban continued the project this spring semester, challenging his students to find sustainability efforts in the Muncie area and pitch their ideas. to Ron Wilkins, interim editor of The Star Press, Journal & Courier and Palladium-Item. This semester, stories about healthcare will be discussed.

Isaiah Kimp is a third-year student at Ball State University studying advanced education in social studies. At the end of his first year he had already become the father of a son, Khepri.

According to the Urban Institute, more than 5.4 million college students, or 1 in 5 college students, in the United States have children, but resources have been made available to these students by their colleges and universities to help them thrive.

Kimp said he uses Ball State’s resources available to all students, such as Cardinal Kitchen, the student food pantry, Student Success Coaching and the Counseling Center, to better care for himself and his son.

“Every now and then you fall hard and need help getting food, especially when it comes to feeding the little ones,” says Kimp.

Dennis Bowling, senior associate director of student success programs at Purdue University, explained that they have a resource for their pregnant and parenting students called Span Plan.

“Span Plan is a program that started in the early 1970s, so it has been around for a long time and has evolved tremendously over that period,” Bowling says. “In the 1970s it was really for women returning. or embarking on higher education under the outdated ideal of people getting married at 20 or 21 and perhaps going to college at 30 or 40. We have now evolved beyond that. That umbrella organization serves those people.”

Under Purdue’s student parental leave policy, the university will approve all absences due to pregnancy or childbirth as long as a student’s medical provider determines it is medically necessary, and may approve other absences as necessary.

One national resource, The Pregnant Scholar, is a project that aims to be the nation’s “first and only legal resource center for pregnant and parenting students.” The Pregnant Scholar team provides technical assistance to college and university administrators and those involved with the student on pregnancy-related protections and Title IX assistance to help support the pregnant and parenting student.

Based on studies conducted by Capella University that primarily involved single mothers, researchers found that this population reported feeling stigmatized by the larger campus population, which “resulted in experiences of isolation.”

Bowling explains that Purdue has multiple resources for pregnant and parenting students, who fall under the umbrella of “non-traditional students.”

“The first big resource that students benefit from is our scholarships,” Bowling explained. “We have several scholarships that we offer that students can apply for, and for us, the scholarship is $2,500 a year, so it’s not like that. It doesn’t cover the full cost of tuition or anything like that. It’s to give people a break when it comes to their financial need for college. If the students are eligible and they’re recurring scholarships, then that’s for the four years that a student is in school.”

Purdue also has childcare scholarships that help supplement childcare costs for parenting students, as well as professional guidance to help navigate local resources. The university also has child-friendly spaces in the library to help students bring their family members along when they need to study, along with lactation rooms for nursing students.

To find a better balance between being a parent and a student, Kimp says, he keeps things related to school and work away from home so that when he is with Khepri, he can give him his full attention.

“I leave campus, work and life there, and that leaves us alone. It’s hard when I have meetings and I have my son, I have to walk away or he screams – it becomes hard to go about everyday life,” Kimp said. “There are always times when you feel like you can’t catch a break. We all deal with real life situations, but as a parent you have to deal with the most real of situations, whether it’s missing a class or classes, paying a bill or some other type of emergency. It throws everything off. If you’re in school and you don’t come to class or you don’t turn in a paper and that affects your grade, whatever the option is, then you have to express that, and as a parent you have to deal with that.”

Kimp continues to take advantage of the resources he receives from Ball State’s counselors and advisors, which he says have helped him immensely in dealing with both responsibilities: being a successful student and being a successful parent.