In California, 20% of all undergraduates are parents and over 180,000 college students are single mothers. A national survey conducted by Generation Hope found that 40% of parenting students feel isolated on their campus and disconnected from their college community while 20% of parenting students feel unwelcome on their campuses. National data further demonstrates that student-parents are 10 times less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree within five years than nonparents.
Although national surveys are helpful in understanding the general student parent population, more information is needed to improve support for the more than 20% of students in California who are student parents. A good first step is understanding, developing, and making transparent the formal and informal data collections on pregnant and parenting students currently taking place at the California State University (CSU) system. To do so, together with The Education Trust—West, we are pleased to share a preview of the report from the California Student Parent Data Collection Landscape Analysis Project, an effort that aims to inform the field about how data on this student population is collected, where it lives, how it can be improved and how it can inform policy changes in support of pregnant and parenting students.
Join us on December 13th as we highlight key findings from the analysis and identify ways that campuses can go from family friendly to family serving.
Research and Data Analyst, The Education Trust—West
As a Research and Data Analyst, Isaac Alferos (he/they) joins The Education Trust—West team with his experience as an educational researcher, equity advocate, and social justice organizer. Born and raised in Buena Park, California, Alferos’ passion for community development and educational opportunity is a product of his community’s experiences.
Alferos has previously worked as an independent researcher in partnership with multiple higher education organizations and served on the California Student Aid Commission, working to keep higher education affordable for all students, making him one of the youngest queer men of color to be appointed to state office. In previous roles, he expanded public/private partnerships in education and developed fellowship programs to support holistic student development. As an organizer, Alferos has worked with leaders across the state to ensure the creation and development of educational equity initiatives that create community-led educational design. As a strong believer in the power of transformative education, Alferos has been a keynote speaker and guest lecturer at many institutions across California, sharing the application of liberative and abolitionist practices in education. Alferos is a queer Black and Ilocano community worker and a proud descendant of sharecroppers and immigrants. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration, concentrating in Finance, from California State University Fullerton.
Christopher J. Nellum
Executive Director, The Education Trust—West
Dr. Christopher J. Nellum is the Executive Director of The Education Trust–West, an evidence-driven advocacy organization committed to advancing policies and practices to dismantle the racial and economic barriers embedded in the California education system. He has led successful advocacy efforts to ensure equity in the K-12 accountability system, create a statewide cradle-to-career data system, address food insecurity for college students, ensure that every high school senior completes a financial aid application before they graduate, and defend fairness in college admissions. Before joining Ed Trust–West, Nellum was at the National Center for Institutional Diversity, Young Invincibles, and the American Council on Education. Nellum serves on several statewide committees, including a recent gubernatorial appointment, the advisory boards of the New Leadership Academy and GENup, and the Board of Directors of the James B. McClatchy Foundation and Swipe Out Hunger. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara; master’s degree at California State University, Long Beach; and Ph.D. at the University of Michigan.
Policy Analyst, Parenting Students, The Education Trust—West
Maya Valree supports policy research and analysis in the area of parenting students in California higher education systems and schools at The Education Trust–West (ETW). Before joining ETW, Valree worked as the graduate student coordinator for the Students with Dependents program at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, where she engaged campus and community stakeholders to increase programming and institutional support for parenting students. During her graduate studies, Valree worked as a research assistant on Dr. Tina Cheuk’s #StudentParentJoy campaign, a media and policy research program redefining what it means to be a pregnant and/or parenting student within the California State University system. In addition to personal experience as a parenting student of color, Valree’s work is informed by the fact that women of color and those with multiple marginalized identities often parent while in school, an important reminder that the work is racialized and gendered. Valree is a proud product of three of California’s higher education systems. She earned an Associate’s in Public Policy from Santa Monica College, a Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of California, Irvine, and a Master’s in Higher Education Counseling and Student Affairs from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.