Urban Institute and Bakersfield College Collaborate to Improve Data Collection on Parenting Students

BC marquee near south parking lot

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Bakersfield College announced today it will join the Urban Institute’s launch of a new college community of practice, featuring a cohort of eight grantee colleges and universities and one citywide college system, to improve data collection on college students who are parents as part of the Data-to-Action Campaign for Parenting Students. BC will work to collect data on parenting and single-mother students in its college data systems and use those data to support students and their educational goals.

“More than 4.3 million undergraduate college students in the United States have children, representing more than one in five undergraduate students,” said Theresa Anderson, a principal research associate at Urban. “Despite national data showing this group’s large size, an absence of data at individual schools about parent students’ enrollment, characteristics, experiences, and outcomes renders them nearly invisible. We’re excited to work with Bakersfield College to help make change and ensure that the educational needs of this understudied group are met.”

The nine grantees are:

  • Bakersfield College – Bakersfield, Calif.
  • California Polytechnic University – San Luis Obispo, Calif.
  • California State University – Channel Islands, Calif.
  • City Colleges of Chicago – Chicago, Ill.
  • Klamath Community College – Klamath Falls, Ore.
  • Lane Community College – Eugene, Ore.
  • Rogue Community College – Grants Pass, Ore
  • Southwestern Oregon Community College – Coos Bay, Ore.
  • Treasure Valley Community College – Ontario, Ore.

The Urban team will work with Bakersfield College to help inform, guide, and steward the implementation of parenting status data collection and strategies to use these data to support students. The grantees are in states that have passed legislation allowing them to collect all college students’ parenting status at the student-record level, with the goal of improving higher education outcomes.

The college and university grantees will receive $30,000 annually for two years through Urban, with funding from ECMC Foundation, the Ford Family Foundation, and Lumina Foundation. Grantees will also receive peer learning opportunities, technical assistance, and coaching via the college community of practice. Lessons from this cohort will inform practices for other colleges, universities, and systems outside the community of practice, as well as state and federal policymakers, in terms of how to count, understand, and support parenting students–especially those who are single mothers.

A related brief by Urban researchers examines the current state of data collection on postsecondary students with kids. The work relates closely to Urban’s earlier Student-Parent Families at the Center project as well as the cross-organizational Student-Parent Action through Research Knowledge (SPARK) Collaborative.