Top 12 Public Colleges for Pregnant and Parenting Students

Students for Life of America, the nation’s largest pro-life youth organization, released this year’s list of Top Colleges and Universities for Pregnant and Parenting Students – Public School Edition.

“Unexpectedly finding out you are pregnant as a college student can be terrifying, lonely, and a huge shock. These students need support and encouragement, and the schools that go out of their way to offer programs, housing, scholarships, and childcare to these students should be commended,” said Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America. “Instead of sending pregnant students to the nearest Planned Parenthood, these schools have put a premium on offering pregnant and parenting students the resources they need so they don’t have to choose between the life of their child and their education.”

According to a 2014 Guttmacher study, 42% of abortions are performed on college aged-women, ages 18-24.  Many students feel the pressure to choose an abortion over parenthood, while others feel the pressure to drop out of school and choose parenthood. The top two reasons these mothers give for having an abortion is not being able to continue their job or education and financial issues. But another study done in 2014 shows that 4.8 million undergraduate students are parents of dependent children, making up more than 26% of college students.

SFLA released its first Top Schools for Pregnant and Parenting Students last year but many of them were private Christian or Catholic schools. This year’s list only consists of public universities, a couple of whom were on last year’s list as well.

“Instead of alienating pregnant and parenting students, these public universities are extending a helping hand and making it possible for students to continue their education and care for their families,” said Beth Rahal, Pregnant on Campus Director for Students for Life of America.

In addition to the list below, pregnant students on campus can find excellent resources at www.PregnantonCampus.org, a unique website that has compiled lists of housing options, material resources, financial aid, and support groups at hundreds of schools across the nation.

“We hope that these universities will set the standard when it comes to an attitude of making campus a pregnant and parenting friendly place. They all deserve recognition and applause for their willingness to help all their students succeed,” concluded Hawkins.

Students for Life of America used the following criteria to determine the list of the top schools that foster an environment of true choice, where students can choose their child and their education:

  • The school must have some of kind of support program or network for pregnant and/or parenting students.
  • The school has policies in place that specifically welcome and accept pregnant/parenting students.
  • The school has scholarships for Pregnant/Parenting Students.
  • The school offers housing for students with dependents.
  • The school offers additional resources like lactation rooms, diaper decks, child care for students’ children, etc.

Make Your Campus Family Friendly

Pregnant and parenting resources are important to prospective and current students.  Without resources and support, pregnant and parenting students may be forced into a life path with little or no college education, reduced employment prospects, and possibly poverty. By challenging your school to improve resources and support for your pregnant and parenting community, you will be impacting not only your peers but also their families.These resources will also play an important role in the work experience of your school’s faculty and staff.

As the pro-life student group on your campus, you need to ensure that your peers are receiving comprehensive information about available resources (on campus and in the community) so that they can make informed decisions about their health and about their educational advancement. Moreover, your group needs to be pushing projects that will transform your campus into a “family friendly” community! Your efforts to increase awareness and resources on campus will encourage more students to recognize the support available for pregnant and parenting students.

First, you will want to do a simple brainstorming session with your group. Ask your group these general questions and begin to assess your school’s current state:

  • When future students or employees visit our campus, what is their experience?
  • What resources would they easily notice on campus (when visiting or while attending)?
  • What resources do students learn about during orientation?
  • How do current students perceive our campus’ resources for pregnant and parenting individuals?

Next, take our SFLA/FFL Survey (here). Some questions that you will review include:

  • What are our school policies concerning pregnant and parenting students? Do these policies serve to assist and support our students? Or do they exclude them from our school community and/or deny them privileges offered to other students?
  • What current accommodations are available to these students on campus- such as larger desks for pregnant students, diaper decks, and lactation rooms?
  • Are childcare services available for faculty, staff, and students?
  • Do we have housing available on campus for pregnant and parenting students?
  • Does our school offer scholarships or financial aid to single parents?
  • What accommodations is our school required (by state law) to provide, and has our school met these requirements?

Third, set goals, and take action! Your group should now answer these questions:

  • What will our pro-life group do to improve and expand our school’s resources?
  • What are some practical short-term and long-term goals for our group?

Is your pro-life group ready to commit to the Pregnant on Campus Initiative? Take the leap! Contact your SFLA Regional Coordinator for assistance in starting this program on your campus.

Want to learn more about pregnant and parenting students’ rights? Click the links below to learn more about Title IX and how your school can better assist your pregnant and parenting students:

College girls- Thumbs up

Questions? Comments? Email Beth O’Malley at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.