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4.8 Million College Students Face The Challenges of Raising Children

According to statistical information provided by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR), there are over 4.8 million undergraduate students in the United States who are raising dependent children. This number represents about 26% of the current learners. In terms of challenges at play, it is safe to assume that the majority of women must balance college studies and their parenthood duties without financial or emotional support from a spouse or partner.

Since women represent 71% of all learners who also share parental duties, we have about 2 million individuals who require help and immediate assistance. Psychological help and a necessity of additional tutoring also become required since we have about 43% of the equation belonging to single mothers. Single fathers who are enrolled in a college or university in the United States represent only 11%, yet it makes a major point concerning the existence of male students who must carry out parental responsibilities, too.

Exploring Number of Student Parents Represented in All Postsecondary Institutions Based on Gender & Marital Status

The student mothers represent a total of 3,422,270 individuals, while the number of student fathers represents 1,400,478 persons.

In terms of being married, female learners make up 1,373 persons, and male persons are only 867,396.

The numbers with single parents that must raise children and study have a different proportion where females represent 2,049,242 students and 533,098 - single male parents.

It must be noted that this statistical information includes both four-year and two-year educational institutions that provide a degree, as well as those that do not provide a degree as of yet. While these are only estimates, we have approximately 235,327 student parents who attend those colleges, vocational schools, or university courses that do not grant a degree.

Speaking of "single" term definition, the talk goes of those who have never been married before or are in the state of being divorced, widowed, or living separately due to some legal or non-legal reasonы. Turning to IPEDS statistical information, the data represented does not differ much when compared to the U.S. Department of Education and National Center for Education Statistics.

The Educational Challenges in Numbers

Turning to more detailed statistical information, it reveals that an approximate number of student parents that attend two-year educational institutions is 2.1 million learners. It represents about 30% of the college student body in the country, which is a serious number to consider. Unfortunately, the issue still remains underrepresented in terms of educational support and related loan challenges. The other 1.1 million student parents attend full four-year colleges or universities. It must be noted that we count both private and non-profit opportunities. This number represents about 15% of the total graduates in this sector of undergraduates.

In total, we have 1.2 million learners who attend for-profit colleges, which becomes around 51% of the common student body and the profits made in the educational sector. Of course, it poses a serious challenge in terms of financial burdens and the necessity of at least part-time employment. It should be mentioned that there are also 371,207 student parents who attend private institutions in the country or choose to attend more than one university to continue with their former education or take more than one major.

Even more important aspect that must be considered by educators and the average society individuals alike is the gender factor that becomes apparent. Although we have 26% of students who are raising children, the number of women raising children is 32%, which is much higher than men raising children at 18%.

Moreover, women that represent non-Caucasian ethnicity also belong to those individuals who pursue postsecondary education while being financially-challenged. The statistics also reveal that nearly half of all African American females that are enrolled in American colleges have dependent children and represent 47%. The 41% belongs to American Indian females, and 39% goes to Native Hawaiian female representatives or women belonging to Pacific Islanders. The male students that belong to African American and Native Americans represent a much higher rate of parenthood when compared to the other ethnic groups and races. Namely, we have a quarter of African American fathers in college and 24% of American Indians or the men coming from Alaska's native population.

Making The Prognosis & Related Debts

The analysis of the U.S. Department of Education and the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study shows that those students who raise children have a lower probability of completing a certificate or earning a degree within a period of six years. The statistics also reveal that only 33% of such students receive degrees in that period of time allocated for initial studies. The reason for such numbers is increased time demands since over 56% of single parents must dedicate more than 30 hours to those in their care weekly. As a rule, it poses significant difficulties in terms of finances and household duties.

Compared to the students without children, the parents who also share educational duties usually have lower incomes. About 61% of all student parents are not able to make relevant contributions to various expenses at college. In other words, it means that their Expected Family Contribution is very low or totally absent. As for the single students who raise children, 88% have income that is at or even below the 200% of poverty.

Still, the far more frightening aspect of raising children as a student is the matter of student loans or debts. The level of money owed is usually much higher even after graduation if one compares it to the usual students with no parental duties. For example, women with children have an average of $29,452 compared to the $28,350 number of independent female students. The average undergraduate debt of a student mother one year after graduation becomes about $3,800 more than the debt of female students that raise no children. It is about $5,000 more compared to those of male students with no children.

Speaking of the total debts of all students with children, we have $28,350 average, while the students without children represent $25,169 average debt.

Considering all the information mentioned above, the challenges of parent students in the United States must be taken into consideration. It is necessary to research this aspect of college studies with an aim of offering special conditions and financial assistance for those who handle parenthood and the studies simultaneously. Such an approach will improve the situation and increase the number of college graduates raising children.

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