More than one in five undergraduates in the United States today are parents, and more than half of them are single mothers. This is largely an invisible group that falls through the cracks of our higher education system. But in order to give everyone who wants a college degree the chance to obtain one -- furthering gender equality and social justice -- resources must be made available to help student parents succeed.
Research Scientist Autumn Green is working to ensure student parents receive the support they need. Green created the Campus Family Housing Database, a comprehensive list of colleges and universities in the United States offering students the opportunity to live in college-affiliated housing with children. She is also creating a series of guides for student parents that provide information on childcare, scholarships and other resources. With past funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Ascend at the Aspen Institute, the U.S. Department of Education, the Russell Sage Foundation, and others, Dr. Green has worked for nearly twenty years toward advancing an ultimate goal to push our system of higher education to acknowledge that student parents are a growing segment of the population, and that they deserve the same access as any other college student.
When data is presented in a compelling way, it can reveal a bigger picture of which we were previously unaware. When it comes to student parents and their unique challenges, data is power, and it has the potential to spark action and propel social change.