Students for Life of America, the nation’s largest pro-life youth organization, released this year’s list of Top Colleges and Universities for Pregnant and Parenting Students – Public School Edition.
“Unexpectedly finding out you are pregnant as a college student can be terrifying, lonely, and a huge shock. These students need support and encouragement, and the schools that go out of their way to offer programs, housing, scholarships, and childcare to these students should be commended,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “Instead of sending pregnant students to the nearest Planned Parenthood, these schools have put a premium on offering pregnant and parenting students the resources they need so they don’t have to choose between the life of their child and their education.”
According to a 2014 Guttmacher study, 42% of abortions are performed on college aged-women, ages 18-24. Many students feel the pressure to choose an abortion over parenthood, while others feel the pressure to drop out of school and choose parenthood. The top two reasons these mothers give for having an abortion is not being able to continue their job or education and financial issues. But another study done in 2014 shows that 4.8 million undergraduate students are parents of dependent children, making up more than 26% of college students.
SFLA released its first Top Schools for Pregnant and Parenting Students last year but many of them were private Christian or Catholic schools. This year’s list only consists of public universities, a couple of whom were on last year’s list as well.
“Instead of alienating pregnant and parenting students, these public universities are extending a helping hand and making it possible for students to continue their education and care for their families,” said Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Director for Students for Life of America.
In addition to the list below, pregnant students on campus can find excellent resources at www.PregnantonCampus.org, a unique website that has compiled lists of housing options, material resources, financial aid, and support groups at hundreds of schools across the nation.
“We hope that these universities will set the standard when it comes to an attitude of making campus a pregnant and parenting friendly place. They all deserve recognition and applause for their willingness to help all their students succeed,” concluded Hawkins.
Students for Life of America used the following criteria to determine the list of the top schools that foster an environment of true choice, where students can choose their child and their education:
- The school must have some of kind of support program or network for pregnant and/or parenting students.
- The school has policies in place that specifically welcome and accept pregnant/parenting students.
- The school has scholarships for Pregnant/Parenting Students.
- The school offers housing for students with dependents.
- The school offers additional resources like lactation rooms, diaper decks, child care for students’ children, etc.
Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students
According to a 2014 Guttmacher study, 42% of abortions are performed on college aged-women, ages 18-24. Many students feel the pressure to choose an abortion over parenthood, while others feel the pressure to drop out of school and choose parenthood. The top two reasons these mothers gave for having an abortion is not being able to continue their job or education and financial issues. But another study done in 2014 shows that 4.8 million undergraduate students are parents of dependent children, making up more than 26% of college students. These are the top public schools in the country making efforts to encourage pregnant and parenting students.
University of Washington, Seattle, WA
The UW Student Parent Resource helpfully guides UW parenting students to resources on and off campus. The Center offers comprehensive resources lists for both campus and community resources , and the Center helpfully identifies the locations of diaper changing stations and lactation spaces. The Center also offers the Child Care Assistance Program. UW currently has four childcare centers on or near campus and five family housing options. The office of UW WorkLife has actively worked to increase their campus’ “family-friendly” environment through their child care access initiative. The Child Care Advisory Committee meets 4-5 times each year to assess and improve child care accessibility for the UW community. What’s more, there are two parenting support groups and a pro-life group, Students for Human Life.
Los Angeles Valley College, Los Angeles, CA
Through the Family Resource Center (FRC), LAVC provides Student-Parent Scholarships to "LAVC student parents who demonstrate financial need and/or are going through a financial hardship." The Family Resource Center, which provides resources and support to all members of the LAVC community, organizes such programs as: children playgroups, baby clothes exchange, and a lending library. The FRC also provides a child-friendly study lounge, computer lab, and lactation room. Student internships are available to students interested in learning child development and cooperative education.
Winona State University, Winona, MN
Winona State University steps up their game by offering a well-resourced Student Parent Support Center on campus, where student parents can connect with other, attend workshops (with free food), and make use of the many resources offered to pregnant and parenting students. The Student Parent Resource Center houses resting and studying areas, has room for storage and toys, and has lactation rooms available with electric-grade pumps. They also offer parenting courses, emotional support, emergency funds and counseling. For childcare options, WSU has the WSU Children's Center for children ages six weeks through fourth grade, which has sites both on and off campus. The Families First Scholarship has been established for single parents on campus and there are extensive listings of local community organizations who can help pregnant and parenting students with financial aid, clothing, prenatal care, legal advice, sexual assault counseling and academic help.
University of California, San Diego, CA
When it comes to family friendly housing options, UCSD goes above and beyond, offering four different housing options to parenting students. In addition, UCSD has two campus child care programs, plus suggestions for local UCSD babysitting resources. For students that bring their children to campus, UCSD provides two child-friendly study rooms, a family swim program, special parking for breastfeeding parents and caretakers, and special transportation services. If that wasn't enough, UCSD offers priority enrollment for undergraduates with children, family counseling, a campus food pantry, 16 lactation rooms, and parental leave. Pregnant and parenting students at UCSD are sure to feel the utmost support and empowerment to complete their education.
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
The University of Utah supports pregnant and parenting students through the Center for Child Care and Family Resources. UU students can utilize six different programs , such as the Student Child Care Program or University Kids. The school provides CCAMPIS child care subsidy grants, or the School-Life Scholarship for students who don't qualify for CCAMPIS and can't afford childcare. UU has free child care programs: Parent Night Out, Finals Week Child Care, Team Tots Child Care (for parents working out), and Drop in Evening Care. UU encourages students to breastfeed on campus and provides 15 family friendly spaces with lactation rooms and diaper decks. UU also hosts family workshops and lists local resources.
Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR
At OSU, pregnant and parenting students can voice their opinions and find support through the Student/Parent Advisory Board. Students can also benefit through various students and employee child care subsidies and scholarships, and even live in OSU's Orchard Court Family Housing. OSU offers a positive for environment for parents, and goes above and beyond with Bring Your Kid to Campus Day. Students are also encouraged to breastfeed on campus, and can use any of the 24 separate lactation rooms between classes.
University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Through the Office of Child Care and Family Resources, the University of Wisconsin offers several programs and resources to pregnant and parenting students that allow them excel in their education. Students at UW can utilize childcare and learning programs, childcare assistance grants, single parent scholarships, and 31 lactation rooms. Students can enjoy other programs like UW's Kids Night Out and various parent education events. This is a great child-friendly campus where parents can feel comfortable and reach their educational goals.
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM
UNM is slowly but surely supporting pregnant and parenting students. Parenting students are offered child care located right next to campus at UNM's Children's Campus. For students who qualify for federal aid, they can apply for the Drop-In Program, and still afford child care. Parenting students can also live in UNM's Resident Life & Student Housing, which offers 200 apartments to students with families. Students are encouraged to utilize over a dozen lactation rooms and join the new Lobo Cubs parenting support group. Members of the group are offered free childcare once a week for study hours.
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
This is the second appearance of Texas A&M on SFLA's list of top schools for pregnant and parenting students. Texas A&M has a campaign to promote breastfeeding for nursing mothers at the school by offering 10 lactation rooms throughout campus. The Pro-Life Aggies on campus offer a scholarship for pregnant and parenting students as well and have a support group for them.
City College of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
At the City College of San Francisco, parenting students can find community and support through the Dr. Betty Shabazz Family Resource Center. Parenting students can meet one another or study with their kids in the child-friendly computer lab. The Resource Center also provides a supervised child activity room for drop-in (for children six months to 12-years-old). The Parent Exchange Program allows students to leave their children for up to nine hours per week while they attend class. For more community support and resources, the Resource Center’s resources list provides suggestions for assistance with child care, family support, healthcare, social services, and domestic violence.
Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, CT
This is Norwalk's second time on SFLA's list of top schools for pregnant and parenting students. Norwalk offers the Family Economic Security Program, which seeks to help parenting students achieve economic security and obtain their degrees. They help with life goals, counseling, and support to achieve success. The school also provides discounted childcare for students at their on-campus Child Development Center for children ages six months to five years old.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA
UMASS understands that many parenting students cannot come to campus to complete their education, and seek to serve those individual students through the University Without Walls Program. This program allows parenting students to take UMASS courses online, and still manage their work and home lives.