California Law to Improve Support for College Students with Children

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A new California law aims to improve support systems for college students with children through improved education access to government programs and priority registration.

“The journey to and through college is challenging for many students, but it is even more difficult for the over 202,000 college students in California who are also parents,” California Assemblymember Marc Berman (D) said in a news release.

The law requires the three higher education systems in the state, California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California (UC), to implement priority course enrollment systems for student-parents.

Additionally, all involved institutions must provide educational information about various government benefits programs, including CalFresh, the California Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Young Child Tax Credit. 

“Not only must most student parents balance working while also going to school, but they must also juggle their child’s schedule,” Berman said in the release. “The disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the needs of student parents, whose challenges multiplied as school and child care interruptions put even greater demands on their time and attention. AB 2881 will give student parents priority registration and other critical supports so they can achieve their educational dreams while raising a family.”

Approximately 13 percent of students enrolled within the state’s colleges and universities were parents as of 2018, according to a 2021 UC Davis Wheelhouse report. More than two-thirds of student-parents live below or near the poverty line, and they have higher median student debt, according to a report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.