As students all across the country head back to college and get ready for another year of being immersed in the university culture of studying, working, partying, and hopefully learning, many students will face unexpected events along the way that could catapult them into shock and have them running to the nearest Planned Parenthood to “fix” their problem. What “problem” would that be? An unplanned pregnancy.
“It’s no secret that college-age women report the highest number of abortions than any other age group,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “It’s terrifying to face an unplanned pregnancy while trying to get a college degree, which is why it’s important to recognize the colleges and universities that put a premium on offering pregnant and parenting the students the resources they need so they don’t have to choose between their child and their education.”
Besides 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.
“Pregnant students on campus should be welcomed and supported at all schools,” said Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator for Students for Life of America. “No mother should be forced to choose between her child and her education and finishing school is the best way for her to support her child.”
“We applaud all of these schools on the choice to make their campuses friendly to pregnant and parenting students and we hope all schools across the nation will follow their lead,” 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 program 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. (This list from 2011 provides excellent information on schools with child care and family housing)
Top 11 Pregnant and Parenting-Friendly Schools
As students all across the country head back to college and get ready for another year of being immersed in the university culture of studying, working, partying, and hopefully learning, many students will face unexpected events along the way that could catapult them into shock and have them running to the nearest Planned Parenthood to “fix” their problem. What problem would that be? An unplanned pregnancy. Here are the top schools that are most friendly to those pregnant and parenting students.
The College of St. Mary, Omaha, NE
The College of St. Mary tops the list by a milestone with their nationally-renowned Mothers Living & Learning program. This program is unique in that it offers the opportunity for single mothers to pursue college degrees full time while living on campus with their children ages six weeks to 10. The students live at Madonna Hall, which offers suite-style shared living with kitchens, dining areas and even free laundry facilities on every floor. Study areas and lounges include televisions and play structures for the children. The school also lets the children eat for free on their mothers’ meal plans and has daycare on campus, plus the services of free babysitting from other students. There are classes for parents plus a dedicated staffer who helps them navigate financial aid, custody agreements and state benefits.
The school is working hard to support these student moms.
Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC
In 2012, MiraVia opened up their first college-based residential facility for pregnant college students at Belmont Abbey College. The facility is a 10,000 square foot home where residents can maintain their academic careers. MiraVira provides support for these students, giving them free housing, private living space, meals, counseling, and limited child care up to 24 months. The first Belmont Abbey MiraVia graduate was featured in this news story highlighting her positive experience.
St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN
Access and Success is a program on campus that supports St. Catherine students who are raising children to be able to care for their child and continue their education. The program assists pregnant and parenting students with child-friendly study rooms, lactation rooms on campus, the option of participating in a holiday adoption program where families help students to provide gifts for their children, and laptop loans.
The program also provides helpful resources for childcare on campus, financial aid, and offers on-campus housing for pregnant and parenting students.
Misericordia University, Dallas, PA
Misericordia University hosts the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women With Children Program, which focuses on helping single mothers complete their education while living on campus with their children. They offer help with childcare (the university aids mothers with a subsidy to help with childcare costs), personal support, financial aid and scholarships.
University of Notre Dame, South Bend, IN
Notre Dame offers free pregnancy tests on-campus, counseling, pregnancy advocates, options for on-campus family housing as well as help finding suitable housing off-campus for pregnant and parenting students. If they are able, pregnant students can continue living in dorms. Notre Dame has three lactation rooms on campus that are available for students and faculty that are safe and clean to express breast milk for their children. There is a comprehensive question and answer site for pregnant students at Notre Dame here.
St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO
St. Louis University offers a comprehensive website for pregnant and parenting students that helps to lay out all the resources available. They are committed to supporting both pregnant and parenting students regardless of the student’s situation. The university suggests that pregnant students can continue living in their residence hall until the birth of the baby. They also offer several counseling options where students can go for prenatal care, in addition to a great list of area resources for childcare and maternity resources that are close to campus.
Norwalk Community College, Norwalk, CT
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.
John Carroll University, University Heights, OH
The school offers an on-campus health center, counseling services, and possible options for pregnant students to have a room with a private bathroom in residence halls. They offer assistance for finding off-campus housing when the baby is born as well as information about possible financial aid available for pregnant students.
Wilson College, Chambersburg, PA
The Women with Children program at Wilson College is geared specifically towards empowering mothers to parent their children and continue their education. They offer on-campus housing for mothers with their children, 20 months and older, as well as on-campus childcare for those children. They encourage mothers to apply for financial aid and scholarships as well.
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX
Brigham Young University, Provo, UT
The Mormon-affiliated university offers scholarships for single parents and nontraditional students. The Student Health Plan covers maternity care and allows mothers to add their baby to their health plan. There are several Mother’s Lounges on-campus for nursing moms to breastfeed or pump during the day. BYU offers family housing for students with dependent children as well.