Do Universities Support Student Parents?


"I decided to start the childcare scholarship to help women stay in school so that they can make a difference in lives of their children," Mosee said. "When the mom is educated, she values education and she'll pass those values onto her children."

In addition to the scholarship, FCS also partners with universities to funnel CCAMPIS funds to student-parents for off-campus child care. But Mosee says that as CCAMPIS funds are slashed and donor amounts dwindle, FCS stands on its last legs. At its height, the organization worked to provide funding for student-parents at 10 universities. Now it is down to one: Rutgers University.

Defying the Odds

Keys to Degrees, a program that helps student parents find housing and daycare, has succeeded in obtaining funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation.

"You seek grants to initialize the program and then you have to find a way to bring it under your budget so that it's sustainable. I make choices everyday to keep this program," said Keys to Degrees founder Richard Wyle. "This isn't a do-gooder attitude or social obligation. It's a social opportunity."

He created the program in 1997 when he was president of Endicott College in Beverly, Mass. At the time it was the first school to provide on-campus housing for 10 single student-parents, ages 18 to 24, and their children. Currently, the program provides resources for parents to find daytime childcare for their children while enrolled full-time at the university.

Wylie now aspires to spread this unique housing concept to five different universities across the nation within the next year.

As for the Handsels, they have reassessed their finances -- clipping coupons and canceling cable to save up for daytime infant care for Dutch.

But Handsel failed to find on-campus childcare for the summer. Instead, mother and son have both enrolled for the fall semester: Dutch into the Gethsemane Lutherane child care center in North Austin, and Kristen into her remaining neurobiology classes at UT. The Handsels have also accepted dual realities: childcare "college tuition" rates and their own amassing student debt.

Nevertheless, Handsel acknowledged one of the main reasons for getting her bachelor's degree: her son. She said, "I can't ever push him to get his degree if I don't have one myself." contributor Reshma Kirpalani is a member of the ABC News on Campus program in Austin, Texas.

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
  • |
  • 3
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...