By Queena Hoang

As 2023 draws to a close, it’s the perfect opportunity to reflect on the amazing advancements made to create more equitable pathways and futures for students who are struggling to meet their basic needs while in college. 

As we continued the Michelson Pregnant and Parenting Student Project, a platform for programmatic and policy efforts designed to increase support for pregnant and parenting students at colleges and universities in California, we were thrilled to see the following successes realized:

Highlighting the “State of Pregnant and Parenting Students in California

Furthering the State’s Understanding of AB 2881 

Assemblymember Marc Berman, who authored AB 2881 joined our California State University (CSU) Student Parent Network to provide more insight on the progress and implementation of the bill, which aims to remove barriers that inhibit academic success and degree attainment for student parents at California’s community colleges, CSUs, and University of California (UC) campuses. In addition to bringing greater attention to their needs, the law now grants priority registration for student parents, requires campuses to establish a student parent webpage, and necessitates that campuses provide more information to student parents about the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children.

Tracking Policy Updates That Support Student Parents 

Prior to the implementation of updated legislation, Michelson 20MM Foundation hosted “New Protections for Pregnant and Parenting Students: Updates to Title IX,” which explored how Title IX—a crucial federal law—provides support for pregnant and parenting students in almost every school in the United States. Led by subject matter expert, Jessica Lee, senior staff attorney at the University of California College of Law, San Francisco Center for Worklife Law, the conversation dove into the history of the law and its promising, long overdue updates.

Advancing Student Parent Data Collection 

In partnership with The Education Trust—West,  the CSU Student Parent Data Collection Landscape Analysis Project was launched. The goal of the project is to better understand, develop, and make transparent the formal and informal data collection currently taking place throughout the California State University System on pregnant and parenting students. Michelson 20MM along with The Education Trust—West recently hosted “The State of Pregnant and Parenting Students: How the California State Universities are Improving Data Collection” to dive into the report’s key preliminary findings. 

Harnessing the Power of the Student Parent Success Groundswell in California 

Learnings From Forging Equitable Futures for Student ParentsThis fall, we were proud to host “Forging Equitable Futures for Student Parents: A Statewide Summit.” The two-day event was a transformative convening in support of student parents’ success.
Attendees included advocates, practitioners, philanthropists, systems leaders, student parents, and allies from all across the state as we learned about evidence-based examples of success efforts and forged connections to sustain this growing movement.

Looking Ahead

As we move into 2024, Michelson 20MM is committed to continue affecting multi-generational change at the micro level within families, systems change within California’s higher education ecosystem, and policy change at the state level. For student parents and their families, we hope to strengthen and create postsecondary and employment and workforce pathways, which break intergenerational cycles of poverty and forge futures filled with economic opportunity and prosperity. Throughout the process, we’ll source solutions from student parents themselves and the many advocates who have sounded the trumpet on the importance of this work.

Michelson 20MM is a private, nonprofit foundation working toward equity for underserved and historically underrepresented communities by expanding access to educational and employment opportunities, increasing affordability of educational programs, and ensuring the necessary supports are in place for individuals to thrive. To do so, we work in the following verticals: Digital Equity, Intellectual Property, Smart Justice, Student Basic Needs, and Open Educational Resources (OER). Co-chaired and funded by Alya and Gary Michelson, Michelson 20MM is part of the Michelson Philanthropies network of foundations.

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