CUNY SPH faculty Meredith Manze and Nicholas Freudenberg were awarded an Urban Innovations grant through the CUNY Interdisciplinary Research Grant Program to explore the ways in which institutions and faculty can support the academic success of college students with children. This project recognizes the primacy of social determinants, particularly education, as a conduit to economic mobility and improved health and well-being.
CUNY students with preschool-aged children are twice as likely to drop out as those with older or no children, primarily due to child care challenges. A better understanding of how faculty and institutions can support student parents will help develop school-based interventions and policy recommendations to foster their academic success.
Dr. Manze and her team will first form a student advisory board to guide this work, and start by conducting an environmental scan of existing resources for student parents at CUNY undergraduate campuses. They will conduct in-depth interviews with student parents to assess the structural, financial, and logistical barriers to their academic success and how faculty can be a supportive resource. Then they will interview CUNY faculty to glean their perceptions of the challenges and opportunities to meeting student parents’ needs. Lastly, the research team will interview CUNY administrators to understand existing protocols and resources.
“Our hope is that this study will shine a light on the needs of an often-unsupported student population and provide colleges with a roadmap for programs and policies to help student parents succeed in academia and beyond,” said Manze.