FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC—As Congress considers the Schedules That Work Act, a new fact sheet from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) highlights the need for access to fair and flexible scheduling among community college students, particularly those with children, to help students complete college.
For students with children, juggling the demands of school, work, and family care can make it difficult to complete their schooling. Three in ten (or 2.1 million) community college students are raising dependent children, and four in ten (39 percent) female community college students are mothers. Student parents work, on average, 25 hours per week; five hours more per week than their nonparent counterparts.
A survey by IWPR of female students attending community colleges in Mississippi found that 41 percent of students with children under 18, compared with 24 percent of students without dependent children, have taken a break from school at least once in their college careers. One in four of these said that access to workplace flexibility would have helped them stay in college.
Especially for students with children, unexpected developments in family life, such as having to care for a sick child or issues with child care arrangements, often disrupt students’ schedules on short notice—increasing their stress and limiting the time they have to devote to school obligations. IWPR’s research found that 72 percent of women community college students with children in Mississippi experienced high levels of stress, due to financial concerns, dealing with job demands, and balancing work, school, and home life.
“Employed college students with children need the ability to predict and have a say in their work schedules. Improved employer practices are very inexpensive to businesses and can help remove a source of unnecessary daily stress and chaos that threatens the nation’s ability to meet its college attainment goals,” said IWPR Vice President and Executive Director Barbara Gault, Ph.D.
The Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that conducts rigorous research and disseminates its findings to address the needs of women and their families, promote public dialogue, and strengthen communities and societies.