Student Basic Needs

Pregnant and Parenting Student Initiative

Setting Up Pregnant and Parenting Students for Success

The Michelson Pregnant and Parenting Student Initiative is a platform for programmatic and policy efforts designed to increase support for pregnant and parenting students at colleges and universities in California. We aim to address the challenges encountered by this often unseen student population and effect systems change that will help student parents achieve their academic goals.


The Landscape

Million Undergraduate Students in the U.S.

More than one-fifth of undergraduate college students—about 3.7 million—in the U.S. are parents.


of California Undergraduates

In California, an estimated 20% of all undergraduates are parenting students—486,454 students—and 181,182 students are single mothers.


Report Feeling Disconnected

40% of parenting students report feeling disconnected from their college community, and 20% feel unwelcome on their campuses.

Student-parents are more likely than nonparents to be people of color, women, low-income, older than 30, and
first-generation college students.

Just 28% of single mothers graduate with a degree or certificate within six years of enrollment. 55% leave school before earning a college credential. 

Students with preschool-aged children have about 50% fewer hours left for things like studying and sleeping than their nonparent classmates.


Our Work

We seek to find impactful solutions for educational organizations to promote the wellbeing and academic success of pregnant and parenting students.


California State University (CSU) Student Parent Network

Led by an advisory committee spearheaded by Dr. Tina Cheuk (Cal Poly SLO), Haley Myers Dillon (Sacramento State), Jessica Lee (UC Hastings), Pamela Lewis (CSULB), and Dr. Larissa Mercado-Lopez (CSU Fresno), the CSU Student Parent Network designs and implements programmatic and policy efforts to increase support for pregnant and parenting students across the CSU system.

In 2022, the CSU Student Parent Network co-hosted Michelson 20MM’s virtual learning series “The State of Pregnant and Parenting Students in California,” advised Michelson 20MM and state leaders on the design of AB 2881, and launched The CSU Student Parent Data Collection Landscape Analysis Project in partnership with the Education Trust-West. The goal of the project is to understand, develop and make transparent the  data collection taking place at the California State University System on pregnant and parenting students. A report on the project’s findings is expected in December 2023.  

AB 2881: New Rights for Parenting Students in California

In 2022 The Michelson Center for Public Policy co-sponsored California AB 2881. Authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman, the bill provides a multifaceted approach to support student parents at the California Community Colleges (CCC), California State University (CSU), and University of California (UC). The bill grants priority registration to student parents, establishes a student parent webpage for every campus highlighting available services and resources, and provides greater awareness to the California Earned Income Tax Credit, the Young Child Tax Credit, and the California Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children. AB 2881 was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2022, and implementation is slated to start in July 2023 across all of California’s Higher Education systems.


California Student Parent Pooled Fund

Housed at the Michelson 20MM Foundation, the California Student Parent pooled fund is a collaboration between multiple funders focused on advancing equity and systemic change for student parents. The fund aims to support student-parent advocates and ensure a comprehensive approach to student-parent work in California. The fund’s grantmaking priorities include Research and Practice, Movement Building Education, Awareness, Narrative Change, Policy and Advocacy. The fund will officially launch in early 2023.

The State of Pregnant and Parenting Students in California Series

To address the challenges encountered by pregnant and parenting students, the Michelson 20MM Foundation partnered with the Blue Shield of California Foundation, Ascend at the Aspen Institute, the Education Trust—West, California Competes, and Tipping Point Community to support an emerging movement of student parents, educational leaders, and advocates driving systems change for the student parent population. 

In partnership, “The State of Pregnant and Parenting Students in California” series was launched. The series brings together advocates, nonprofit leaders, professors, researchers, administrators, policymakers, and students for conversations on ensuring the success of pregnant and parenting students. This series builds on the success of the “Uplifting California’s Student Parents” convening, hosted in November 2021.

Looking Back

New Protections for Pregnant and Parenting Students: Updates to Title IX

For the first time in decades, Title IX regulations, which protect pregnant and parenting students, are being updated, expected to be in effect by the next school year. On June 21st, we explored the new legal requirements designed to provide proactive support for pregnant and parenting students.

New Protections for Pregnant and Parenting Students: Updates to Title IX

Past Events

Supporting Parenting Students: Recommendations for Implementing New California Law

AB 2811, a new California law, requires colleges and universities to prioritize student parents in registration and provide them with resources and supports. Experts explored how the changes improve academic success. View the recording

Parenting Students in California: A Look At The CSU System

How is the CSU serving pregnant and parenting students? Five mothers and champions of supporting student parents joined us to present a landscape analysis of the CSU system. View the recording

The Road to Academic Success: Best Practices to Support Pregnant and Parenting Students

Research shows that 41% of student parents earn and maintain a 3.5 GPA or greater versus 29% of non-parenting students. The equity gaps don’t point to a lack of desire but to insufficient institutional support for student parents. An all-women panel walked through how California’s campuses can become family-friendly. View the recording

Student Voices Matter: A Roundtable with Pregnant and Parenting Students

Seven student parents shared their lived experiences to shed light on what we can all do to better support them on their academic journeys. They underscored the importance of centering solutions through a race equity lens, the need to increase economic opportunities for parenting students, and the value of priority registration. View the recording

For additional information about the Pregnant and Parenting Student Initiative, and how you can support our current work, please contact:

Dr. Queena Hoang, Senior Program Manager