NM Community College Boosts Support for Student Parents
Tuesday, February 28, 2023
In today's higher-education landscape, more than one-in-five college students also are parents - leading one New Mexico college to create a Student Parent Resource Hub offering support systems. Santa Fe Community College is using a $1.75- million grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to help students who are pregnant or have young children.
Becky Rowley, SFCC President, said at least 30% of students studying there are parents - some with obstacles working against them.
"And this particular group of students - they're generally students who are either already in the workforce and want to move up in the workforce or they've been out of the workforce for awhile and they would like to get back in," Rowley said.
The Hub will gather data to track the effectiveness of a home visitation model administered by the state's Early Childhood Education and Care Department. The program is free to families of all income levels that are expecting a child or have children under five years old.
Catron Allred, director of the Early Childhood Center of Excellence at SFCC, said students with children are always short of time, and need financial assistance, mentoring and coaching. One such effort is Kids Campus - which Allred said offers year-round child care and bilingual education to the children of students, faculty, staff and community members.
"We're always thinking about how we address the whole student and what comes with them - whether that's family and caregiving," Allred said. "And then also how we can make sure their kids are getting the best education possible so that we're really supporting economic mobility and multi-generation change."
Rowley said the pandemic has changed what students expect from college, and the Hub will work to improve the education-to-employment pipeline.
"I also think that people are trying to figure out how to come back," Rowley said, "and there are a lot of people that are trying to go into other areas of work than what they did before the pandemic and we're starting to see students in more occupational-type programs."
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