Twice as Much Work. Not Enough Resources.

December 1, 2020  • Institute Staff

At colleges, technical schools, and workforce-development programs across the US, there’s a population of students who have twice as much work and not enough resources: students who are parents. The 3.8 million student parents need high-quality childcare, financial aid, and health supports, as well as faculty, staff, and peers who encourage them. This summer, Ascend launched the Aspen Parent Powered Solutions Fund, the first grantmaking fund led by student parents. Central to Ascend’s work is elevating parent voices in policy decisions that impact their lives. The fund is a milestone in participatory grantmaking: Ascend’s parent advisors to the Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative selected six nonprofits to receive 12-month grants totaling $150,000 to develop or enhance programs that help student parents earn a postsecondary degree or workforce credential. The advisors are a group of 11 students from across the US who share their insights with the initiative. Ascend announced the grantees in October. “Student parents are the new normal for colleges,” says Savannah Steiger, a parent advisor and a psychology and community-studies major at the University of Maine at Machias. “We are the change-makers and the future.”