Bright Spot from the Field – Identifying and Supporting Student Parents at Fresno State
California State University, Fresno is the largest state university in the Central Valley, serving over 25,000 students primarily from the surrounding counties. An estimated 20 percent of students on campus are student parents who are raising one or more children age 18 and under.
Fresno State serves as an excellent model for other colleges and universities in California around its work to support student parents, who are more likely to experience unique barriers to success in higher education, such as “time poverty,” a larger debt load, and employment demands.
Unfortunately, most colleges and universities largely do not account for this population in their data collection – resulting in their unique needs, challenges, and assets not being reflected in student support efforts and university narratives. Fresno State, however, stands out as a bright spot for its actions, from campus data collection, to marshalling resources to meet students’ basic needs, to creating critical infrastructure supports to understand and support the educational aspirations of its student parents.