Grant to expand services for parenting college students

Federal funds will help pay for special support centers for pregnant or parenting students at 11 Minnesota colleges and universities.

The Minnesota Department of Health is distributing the $2.7 million to nine colleges that will set up new student-parent help centers and two colleges that will expand their services.

Elizabeth Gardner, the Minnesota Department of Health's student parents grant coordinator, said the centers are especially important because about a third of students at Minnesota's two-year colleges are single parents.

"We know that there are multiple demands on single parents, and we know that when a single parent is enrolled in an institution of higher ed, they are balancing a lot of responsibility: the schoolwork, perhaps a part-time job or a full-time job and then all the care-taking responsibilities," Gardner said.

The centers offer parenting classes plus health information for students. The centers also help student parents with their academic goals.

"Pregnancy and parenting are major reasons why college women drop out of school," Gardner said. "Having the social support in place will increase their connection to school to help them reach their education goals."

Minnesota and Virginia were the only two states to receive federal grants for the student-parent help centers.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.