Colleges and universities have long struggled to meet the needs of the estimated 4.3 million undergraduates with children. Few have policies and facilities to support student parents and even those that do often find their resources stretched thin.
Advocates say schools and policymakers must prioritize this vulnerable population as the pandemic has laid bare the precarious nature of pursuing a degree while raising a family.
Some colleges are finding early success when it comes to keeping the coronavirus at bay.
Each campus is different. COVID-19 is still a newly discovered pathogen. But a combination of low infection rates in communities that surround schools and multimillion-dollar pandemic management strategies appear to slash the opportunities for the disease to enter campus and fester among students and staff.
Five years ago, two administrators at Southern Utah University worked evenings calling hundreds of students who had dropped out to ask them why. After students repeatedly said they didn’t know where to go or who to talk to about their reasons for leaving, the administrators learned they needed to create more authentic relationships with students.
Leaders at Southern Utah spent the next five years doing just that, investing in outreach to students and their parents and creating peer mentoring programs to develop relationships with students even before they set foot on campus.
What has been the real impact of COVID-19 on higher education? How will education adapt to the pandemic and the related recession? And can U.S. colleges and universities produce the skilled workforce that industries require?
This episode of Can Do explores the current issues facing higher education and the innovations that might offer a brighter future.