The Most Parenting-Friendly Colleges by State

Schools Supporting Students With Children the Best

What Makes a College Parenting-Friendly?

According to a 2017 report written by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, roughly 4.8 million college students in the U.S. -- over a quarter of the country's undergraduate population -- have at least one child claimed as a dependent. This figure has grown gradually over the past 20 years and suggests a continuing upward trend. Earning a college degree offers many perks, especially for students with children, such as higher salaries, more job opportunities, and access to health insurance. Procuring an undergraduate or graduate degree can also help graduates advance into more senior roles in their field.

Many students with children succeed at the collegiate level thanks in part to the institution they attend. Many factors help the most parenting-friendly colleges stand out, including the options listed below.

Family Housing

A large number of postsecondary institutions offer dedicated on-campus housing to single parents of married students with children. These housing units provide secure, family-friendly atmospheres and enable students with children to socialize with one another. If on-campus housing is unavailable, some schools provide resources for affordable off-campus housing areas that allow children.

Childcare Services

To address the growing trend of students with young children, most colleges and universities provide some form of on- or off-campus childcare. In some cases, college childcare centers are associated with the school's department of education and staffed with licensed care providers. Children of students enrolled at a sponsoring institution often qualify for priority enrollment and discounts.

New Mother Services

Raising an infant can be particularly challenging for college students. Some schools try to mitigate these difficulties by offering private lactation rooms and diaper-changing stations where mothers can care for their infants in privacy.

Food Bank and Pantry Access

Due in part to rising tuition rates and a growing number of students living on a limited budget, nearby food pantries that receive items from food banks may distribute foodstuffs to students at no charge. Additionally, many on-campus food pantries are led by students. According to the College & University Food Bank Alliance, more than 200 U.S. schools have established food pantries.

Financial Aid

Many colleges and universities offer institutional scholarships geared toward students with dependent children. In many cases, these scholarships award preference to single parents or student parents facing financial hardships. Scholarship funds can usually be used to cover the cost of books and supplies, fees, and other expenses. In some cases, funds may also be used to pay for on-campus childcare.

The above list serves as a good starting point, but students can also consider many other factors; read on to learn more about the most parenting-friendly colleges or universities in each state.

The Most Parenting-Friendly Colleges by State

To generate this list of the country's most parenting-friendly colleges, we surveyed individual schools based on the criteria above. Other factors that we considered include tuition and fees, cost of living, parking and transportation options, health insurance, and student-led clubs and organizations that emphasize child-raising and family life. We only evaluated fully accredited public and private nonprofit institutions that offer four-year undergraduate programs.

Please note that this list is not exhaustive. Although these selections represent the schools deemed most friendly to parents, many other institutions also offer ample resources and services -- including financial assistance, childcare, and on-campus family housing -- to student parents. Prospective learners should research each school to determine if it offers their desired resources.

Alabama: Auburn University

One of Alabama's two original flagship schools, Auburn emphasizes support for mothers with infant children. The main campus contains 14 private lactation rooms for breastfeeding students. Additionally, the school's department of nursing also helped launch the Tiger Babies Breastfeeding Support Tent -- a private enclosure for nursing available at home football games and other major campus events.

The Auburn University Early Learning Center offers childcare services for student parents. Individual classes for both three- and four-year-old children are available in the morning, and both ages combine for a mixed afternoon class. Most of the center's staff hold licensure in early childhood education or child development. The school's campus also hosts a food pantry that is open to all students, regardless of their financial need. Additional resources for students and their families are available through the Auburn Cares program.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, Auburn's tuition rates for in-state and out-of-state students are on par with national averages. The university's rates rose less than 3% between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 academic years. PayScale notes the cost of living in Auburn is 8% lower than the national average.

Alaska: University of Alaska Anchorage

UAA is the flagship institution in the University of Alaska System. Single parents and other students with kids can apply for more than 800 institutional scholarships and grants, many of which are reserved for students with financial need. The university also offers financial assistance to help cover maternity clothes, food, and essentials for pregnant students and those with young children. Additional programs include low-cost insurance coverage for children of students and low-income families, pregnancy counseling, and adoption resources.

The school's main campus features several private lactation rooms, including rooms with reserved times and walk-in facilities. UAA also imposes a strict tobacco-free campus policy, minimizing health risks associated with secondhand smoke for pregnant women. Childcare services are not available on the university's campus but student parents seeking daycare facilities can access a list of options through thread -- an Alaska-based childcare referral network. Additionally, low-income students and their families can receive food assistance from the school's emergency food cache.

Arizona: University of Arizona

UA oversees a variety of online and on-campus degree pathways. The university's distance learning programs incorporate more than 30 bachelor's tracks, most of which feature fully online curricula and asynchronous delivery schedules. Flexible, self-paced formats can benefit students with kids -- particularly those with full- or part-time jobs. According to iPEDS, roughly 83% of the university's first-time undergraduates received some form of institutional financial aid in the 2016-17 school year.

UA offers lactation stations, breast pumps, and preventative services through its department of administration benefits at no extra cost to students. Learners with children may also qualify for daycare reimbursement through the Childcare Choice program. Eligible reimbursement recipients receive funds in their student accounts. Students with children can also obtain food from the campus pantry, which distributes goods twice per week.

The cost of living in Tucson -- the location of the school's main campus -- is 6% lower than the national average according to PayScale.

Arkansas: Arkansas State University

Located in the city of Jonesboro, A-State provides a wealth of resources for students with children and other nontraditional learners. These include The Village, which is an on-campus housing area of 191 units reserved for students with children, married students, graduate students, and learners who are 26 years or older. Students with kids can also receive academic and social support through the school's Nontraditional Student Organization, which publishes an online guide of childcare providers, medical facilities, and other local resources for student parents. Additionally, the student-run A-State Food Pantry has served hundreds of local households since opening in 2015.

The university's main campus features a private lactation room with comfortable chairs and refrigerators. To ensure privacy, the exact location of this room is not disclosed to the general student population, but breastfeeding students can obtain a key in the humanities and social sciences building where the room is located. Unmarried students with children may also qualify for the 1P Single Parent Scholarship Fund, which is open to all Arkansas residents who provide primary custody to at least one dependent child. According to iPEDS, roughly two-thirds of undergraduates at the school received some form of institutional aid during the 2016-17 school year.

Jonesboro is a highly affordable community, with a cost of living 16% below the national average.

California: Mills College

California contains more than 150 accredited colleges and universities, including more than 30 public institutions belonging to the University of California and California State systems. However, the California school that scored best in this ranking is Mills -- a private college based in Oakland. The school's undergraduate programs are reserved for female students, while graduate programs are coed. Fifty-nine percent of the college's undergraduate student body identify as students of color and 51% identify as LGBT+. Mills was also the first single-sex institution in the country to allow transgender students.

Established in 1926, the Mills College Children's School is the oldest on-campus laboratory school on the West Coast. Children of Mills students qualify for priority admission, and students may receive financial assistance to help cover childcare tuition. The school offers classes for infants/toddlers, preschoolers, transitional kindergartens, and elementary school-aged children. Additionally, the Underwood Family Housing facility is reserved for students with kids. The facility includes a communal play area, and it takes less than five minutes to walk from Underwood to the center of campus.

According to PayScale, the cost of living in Oakland exceeds the national average by nearly 50%. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted that the unemployment rate in Oakland was less than the national average as of January 2019, which benefits job-seeking students with children.

Colorado: Colorado State University

Located in Fort Collins, CSU features many amenities for students with children. These include the Aggie Village Family Apartments, which feature two-bedroom units, a playground area, and bus transportation to local elementary and middle schools. CSU also hosts three on-campus childcare centers -- the Child Care Access Means Parents in School program, CSU Early Childhood Center, and Sunshine House -- all of which offer financial assistance and scholarship funds. A total of 15 private lactation rooms are also available on campus.

Student parents at CSU can apply for a handful of institutional scholarships aimed at students with kids, including the Dream Scholarship and Pamela Zimdahl Scholarship awards for single parents. Students may also qualify for several external scholarships for women, such as the Live Your Dream Award for survivors of sex trafficking and their families and the United Way's Women Give Childcare Assistance Scholarship. CSU's Global Campus also offers institutional aid for online students.

Connecticut: Southern Connecticut State University

New Haven-based SCSU provides a variety of resources and support services for student parents. For example, students may apply for partial reimbursement of childcare and/or babysitting expenses for children ages 12 and younger. Additionally, the Care 4 Kids program provides aid for low-income students with childcare costs. The university also offers several on-campus lactation rooms, which include privacy curtains, storage spaces, and microwaves for sterilization. Students and faculty members advocate for nursing mothers through the university's Breastfeeding Champions program.

Learners at SCSU can apply for nearly 300 different institutional scholarships and grants. One of these awards -- the Emma and Henry Christmann Memorial Scholarship Fund -- targets single-parent undergraduate and graduate students. Additionally, the university hosts Family Science Night events throughout New Haven.

Delaware: University of Delaware

UD is home to two state-of-the-art childcare facilities. The Early Learning Center on the school's Newark campus features 21 classrooms and nearly two acres of outdoor space. Additionally, for more than 80 years, UD has hosted a laboratory preschool. Student parents attending UD can apply for admission to either childcare provider. Undergraduates and graduate students with children may also secure living arrangements through the school's graduate school and family housing site.

UD is also a great choice for pregnant women and young mothers. The school's Women's Health Clinic boasts an entirely female staff and offers comprehensive women's health services, including pregnancy testing and counseling. The school's main campus also offers three dedicated lactation rooms for breastfeeding mothers.

Florida: University of Central Florida

In terms of on-campus enrollment, UCF is the largest public university in the state and among the largest in the U.S. The school offers more than 100 institutional scholarships to incoming students; a handful of these awards give preference to single parents, such as the Kendall Shaye Herndon Endowed Scholarship, the Phoenix Scholarship, and the Thomas and Lori Cleary Endowed Scholarship. Additionally, students enrolled in online programs at the university qualify for a substantial fee waiver.

Located on the school's Orlando campus, UCF's Creative School for Children offers daycare services for children between the ages of six months and five years. Current students with children taking at least six credits qualify for enrollment priority. The university also offers seven private lactation rooms on campus for breastfeeding mothers and a food pantry that provides food to students at no extra charge. UCF does not have on-campus family housing but maintains an extensive list of child-friendly off-campus properties. The school also holds an Orlando-area housing fair each year.

According to PayScale, the cost of living in Orlando is 5% lower than the national average. Additionally, according to iPEDS, 87% of new undergraduates at UCF received some form of financial aid during the 2016-17 school year.

Georgia: Kennesaw State University

Kennesaw State -- the second-largest institution in the University System of Georgia -- supports at-risk students with kids through its Campus Awareness, Resource, and Empowerment (CARE) program. Case managers work with students to help address parenting needs (e.g., childcare and family medical care), secure financial assistance, and find employment opportunities. The program also provides services to endangered women with children, including temporary on-campus housing.

Kennesaw State offers two institutional scholarships for students with children: the Toby Hopper Endowed Scholarship for Single Mothers and the Dr. Mary Ursits Student Assistance Scholarship for single-parent undergraduates. The school's campus food pantry offers free food to enrolled students, and those receiving support from the CARE program may also qualify for free linens and personal care items. The Children and Family Programs at Kennesaw State also provide consultations and treatment for local children with behavioral disorders.

According to PayScale, the cost of living in Kennesaw is 7% lower than the national average. This makes the city a more affordable option than nearby Atlanta.

Hawai'i: University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

The flagship institution of the University of Hawai'i System, UH Mānoa provides various support services and resources for students with children. These include the Student Parents at Manoa (SPAM) group, which provides access to childcare options, medical care, and counseling for pregnant students and students with children. The university women's health clinic also partners with a local Planned Parenthood facility to offer pregnancy testing and counseling. The school's campus features four dedicated lactation rooms.

SPAM also maintains a list of active scholarships for student parents. These include the Rose Scholarship for survivors of domestic violence, the Patsy T. Mink Education Foundation Scholarship for single mothers, and the Soroptimist Scholarship for low-income women supporting their families. The university operates an on-campus childcare center where 75% of spaces are reserved for children of full-time students. Dedicated family housing is available to students with kids, and the campus food pantry provides free food to any student with a valid school ID.

Honolulu is an expensive city, with an estimated cost of living that exceeds the national average by 88%. However, Honolulu's unemployment rates are substantially below average, and Hawai'i holds the fifth-lowest unemployment rate in the nation, as of February 2019. More than 60% of the university's first-time undergraduates received some form of institutional aid during the 2016-17 academic year.

Idaho: Boise State University

Boise State -- the largest postsecondary institution in Idaho in terms of undergraduate enrollment -- offers many scholarships for student parents. These include four schoolwide awards, such as the Heidi Toomey - Single Mother Scholarship for women who are at least 28 years old and the Shirley Johnson Memorial Scholarship for single parents. Additionally, the school's college of health sciences and college of arts and sciences offer departmental scholarships for single parents.

Boise State offers four family housing areas for students enrolled in at least eight credits who have dependent children. The university also offers childcare services through a campus-based children's center for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Each childcare classroom boasts a low child-to-caretaker ratio, resulting in more individualized attention for young learners. Current Boise State students qualify for discounted monthly tuition and application fees. The campus boasts nine private lactation rooms, and a food pantry supplies dietitian-guided meals to students with a valid ID.

Boise is a fairly inexpensive city with a cost of living 8% lower than the national average, according to PayScale. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the Boise City-Nampa metro area has a relatively low unemployment rate. Because Boise is the state capital, students pursuing degrees related to political science or government may find plenty of related job opportunities.

Illinois: Southern Illinois University

SIU offers a number of resources for student parents and other nontraditional students. These include on-campus housing units for students with children, which offer after-school programs, transit services, onsite laundry, and a playground. The university also issues Family Identification Cards that grant student spouses and dependents access to the campus library, recreation facilities, and health and wellness services. An institutional scholarship for nontraditional students is also available.

Located on the university's main campus in Carbondale, the Rainbow's End Child Development Center offers full-time childcare services for local parents. Top preference is given to children of currently enrolled students. The campus features three public lactation rooms, along with four rooms that can be reserved in advance. Male and female students expecting children receive a free baby gift from the health promotion and wellness department. Those seeking food assistance can visit the Saluki Food Pantry on campus, which provides students with enough food to feed each member of their family for the next three days.

PayScale estimates the cost of living in Carbondale to be 6% lower than the national average, making SIU a relatively affordable option compared to schools based in more expensive Illinois cities, like Chicago. Students with alumni parents or legal guardians also receive a 20% tuition discount.

Indiana: Purdue University

Purdue supports student parents through its Span Plan Nontraditional Student Services program. These services include education and career-building family programs for undergraduates at the school's main campus in West Lafayette, as well as the Purdue Polytechnic campus in Lafayette. The university also offers childcare tuition assistance for students who cannot afford daycare or preschool. Student parents and other nontraditional learners, including those enrolled part time, can also apply for special scholarship opportunities.

The main Purdue campus houses 19 lactation rooms, including semi-private areas and rooms requiring a reservation. The school also has a food pantry open to all students. Purdue Village Apartments provides on-campus housing for students with dependent children, and four childcare centers exist on or near campus. In addition to on-campus programs, Purdue offers several online undergraduate and graduate programs. Most online pathways follow a fully self-paced schedule that may appeal to students with childcare obligations.

West Lafayette's cost of living is 4% lower than the national average, according to PayScale.

Iowa: Iowa State University

ISU provides access to many services through its Student Parent Resource Hub. Visitors can learn about the school's financial aid programs for students with children, including childcare assistance, food assistance, and bonus funding for expectant graduate students. The university also offers two institutional awards: the Hadley, Lee Scholarship and the John R. and Eloise Mountain Wright Scholarship. These awards grant preference to students with kids. The school's Margaret Sloss Women's Center also awards additional scholarship support to single mothers.

Students with dependent children can apply for housing at the Schilletter Village Apartments, which offer pet-friendly units, laundry facilities, and a playground area. ISU also hosts multiple on-campus childcare centers, each of which holds full accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Breastfeeding mothers enjoy full access to over 20 lactation rooms across campus, and many gender-inclusive restrooms feature diaper-changing stations. The campus food pantry distributes free food to ISU students who hold a valid school ID.

PayScale estimates that the cost of living in Ames -- which is home to ISU's main campus -- is 7% lower than the national average. Additionally, the city's unemployment rate hasn’t exceeded 2% since August 2017. More than three-quarters of first-time undergraduates at ISU received some form of institutional aid during the 2016-17 school year.

Kansas: University of Kansas

With a main campus headquartered in Lawrence, KU remains a popular destination for students with children and other nontraditional learners. According to current estimates, 25% of the school's student body identifies as nontraditional. Each year, KU's student senate earmarks roughly $50,000 in childcare assistance grants for enrolled students with children under the age of five. Budget adjustments for students with childcare expenses are also available. Anyone who participates in the student senate receives free childcare during all group meetings and activities.

The university hosts two on-campus childcare centers: the Edna A. Hill Child Development Center and the Hilltop Child Development Center. Both centers offer tuition assistance to low-income families, and Hilltop gives enrollment priority to children of KU students. The school also offers a handful of institutional scholarships for nontraditional students, including awards that target student parents, such as the Peedee Brown Award and the Emerge Fund. KU's main campus features 14 private lactation rooms.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that Lawrence's unemployment rate in February 2019 was below the national average. Additionally, according to iPEDS, 67% of new undergraduates at KU received some form of institutional financial assistance during the 2016-17 academic year.

Kentucky: Eastern Kentucky University

EKU offers assistance to students with children through its Center for Student Parents. Additionally, the Eastern Scholar House provides housing on campus for students with kids -- single parents with primary custody receive top priority. Academic specialists also supply counseling services for student parents struggling to balance their academic and home lives. Support services include mental health and substance abuse counseling referrals and special support for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.

EKU's main campus -- in Richmond -- hosts two private computer labs reserved for student parents who need a quiet, kid-free space to study for exams and complete assignments. Additionally, the campus contains a family-friendly study space where parents can focus on their coursework while children play in a communal area. A handful of private lactation rooms are located throughout the main campus.

Lexington -- the closest major city to Richmond -- features a cost of living that is 4% lower than the national average. Ninety-eight percent of new undergraduates received some form of financial aid during the 2016-17 academic year.

Louisiana: Louisiana State University

LSU is home to the Tiny Tigers program, which provides comprehensive case management services for expecting mothers enrolled at the university. Student health coordinators and the school's office of wellness and health promotion coordinate case management for individual learners. Pregnant students may also apply for disability services, if complications occur, and request a temporary medical parking pass. Seven private lactation rooms are located throughout the school's main campus.

The Early Childhood Education Laboratory Preschool (ECELP) serves LSU students with childcare needs. Children of current students receive priority enrollment. Part-time and full-time students receive tuition discounts, with additional financial assistance available. Enrollees also forgo the $75 reapplication fee after their first year of enrollment in ECELP. The Edward Gay Apartments offer family-friendly housing, and applicants with dependent children receive top priority. Individuals seeking food assistance can visit LSU's on-campus food pantry.

Baton Rouge is a relatively affordable place to live. PayScale estimates that the cost of living is 4% lower than the national average. According to iPeds, 95% of beginning undergraduates received some sort of financial aid during the 2016-17 academic year, and more than half received institutional scholarships and grants.

Maine: University of Maine

UMaine, located in Orono, operates as Maine’s only research university. UMaine's Commuter and Nontraditional Student Programs incorporate a handful of resources for students with children, including a dedicated on-campus family room with a play area and a private lactation space. Students can also access on-campus childcare at UMaine's Children's Center and the Child Development Learning Center. The school's Nontraditional Student Association welcomes student parents and hosts family-friendly events throughout the academic year.

The University Park Family Housing complex features nearly 100 one- and two-bedroom, child-friendly apartments. Students with kids seeking financial assistance can apply for the Adult Degree Completion Scholarship, which is open to candidates returning to their studies after an absence of at least three years. Additionally, the student-led Black Bear Exchange provides a full food pantry and clothing swap.

Orono is a short drive to Maine's third-largest city, Bangor, which has recorded fairly low unemployment rates over the past two years. Additionally, 99% of new undergraduates during the 2016-17 school year received institutional scholarships and grants.

Maryland: University of Maryland, Baltimore

Located in the heart of Baltimore, the University of Maryland's flagship campus provides a variety of resources and services for students with children. These include discounted speech and language therapy evaluations, psychological evaluations for children and adolescents (offered at a sliding-scale fee rate), and additional child and family services through the university's Center for Healthy Families and Children's Developmental Clinic. Additionally, the UMD Parents Yahoo! Group is useful for physician referrals and babysitting requests. The university's student body includes more than 1,000 graduate students with children.

The university's Center for Young Children offers on-campus childcare, and children of currently enrolled students receive top enrollment priority. The Graduate Hills & Gardens complex features a playground area and is within walking distance of the main campus, representing an appealing housing option for graduate students with children. Multiple lactation rooms and diaper-changing stations are located throughout campus, and several summer camps are open to children of students.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Baltimore's unemployment rate of 3.5% in December 2018 was its lowest in more than a decade. As one of the country's largest metro areas, students seeking jobs can look forward to ample employment opportunities.

Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Amherst offers an innovative University Without Walls (UWW) program for students with kids and other nontraditional learners. UWW is a bachelor's degree completion pathway for students who have already earned at least 12 college-level credits. Students admitted into the program qualify for tuition discounts and may apply for several institutional scholarships. UWW students can choose from 13 areas of study or design their own major by completing on-campus, online, or blended coursework.

Affordable family housing near campus is available at the North Village Apartments. The school's Center for Early Education and Care provides childcare services for kids between the ages of 15 months and five years. Children of current UMass Amherst students receive top enrollment priority. Breastfeeding is welcome anywhere on campus, and dedicated lactation rooms and pumps are available to nursing mothers who prefer private settings. Local organizations for pregnant students and those with children include the Amherst Family Center, MotherWoman, and the Center for Women & Community.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Massachusetts had a statewide unemployment rate of 3.0% as of February 2019, which was considerably lower than the national average. About 80% of new undergraduates received institutional scholarships or grants during the 2016-17 school year.

Michigan: University of Michigan

U-M supports pregnant students and students with children in a variety of ways. Four on-campus apartment buildings in the Northwood housing area accommodate students with dependent children, offering one-, two-, and three-bedroom units.

U-M also hosts a Center for the Education of Women, which provides emergency financial assistance grants to undergraduates with children experiencing unexpected hardships. Childcare subsidies are available to student parents, and these funds can be used at any licensed childcare provider in Michigan. Other childcare and parenting resources can be found on the school's dedicated Students with Children page.

Three childcare centers located on U-M's main campus in Ann Arbor serve infants, toddlers, and preschool children ages five and younger. Children of current students receive enrollment priority at these centers. Additionally, students seeking one-time or temporary childcare can enlist in the U-M Helpers program. Nursing mothers benefit from more than 40 lactation rooms across campus.

The unemployment rate in Ann Arbor is low, while the cost of living is only slightly higher than the national average. More than half of the university's beginning undergraduates received institutional scholarships and grants during the 2016-17 academic year.

Minnesota: St. Catherine University

St. Kate's -- a Catholic liberal arts university in St. Paul -- supports students with children through its Access and Success program. Services include financial education and counseling through the university's Money Management classes and a discount diaper program. Postsecondary childcare grants are also offered to students with children ages 12 and under who do not receive assistance from the Minnesota Family Investment Program.

St. Kate's provides on-campus housing for students with dependent children. These accommodations include furnished living spaces, all-inclusive fees, and free laundry service. Students with kids between the ages of 33 months and six years may apply for admission at the school's Early Childhood Center. The main campus includes three private lactation rooms, and student parents seeking food assistance can visit the campus food pantry twice per week and collect two full bags per visit.

As one of the largest cities in Minnesota, St. Paul is an economic hub and its unemployment rate is consistently below the national average.

Mississippi: University of Mississippi

Ole Miss is home to the Working Mothers Support Network. This faculty-led organization strives to foster a family-friendly environment throughout the university's campus and within the local community of Oxford. Students with children are invited to attend group meetings and networking events. Additional resources and contact information are available on the UM Working Mothers Support Network Facebook page.

Incoming freshmen at Ole Miss are required to live on campus for at least two consecutive semesters, but student parents can apply for a housing exemption by providing a copy of their child's birth certificate. The Willie Price Lab School offers on-campus childcare, with preference given to children of current Ole Miss students. Multiple lactation rooms are available on the school's campus. Additionally, students with questions about breastfeeding can reach out to a certified lactation specialist in the school's department of nutrition and hospitality management.

According to iPEDS, nearly 90% of beginning undergraduates at Ole Miss received some form of financial aid and 71% received institutional scholarships or grants during the 2016-17 academic year.

Missouri: University of Missouri

MU is home to several dedicated organizations and support groups for students with kids. These include the Association of Parenting Students, which hosts networking events and activities throughout the year. Additionally, the school's Women's Center provides a family-friendly library and studying space where children can play while their parents complete assignments and prepare for exams. The school's main campus also contains eleven lactation rooms.

Students with children in daycare may apply for childcare subsidies that cover tuition and fees, and economic hardship appeals are granted under certain circumstances. MU's Child Development Lab offers childcare for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Individuals seeking food assistance can visit the Tiger Pantry -- an on-campus food bank open three days a week. MU also launched ParentLink, which is an organization that provides support for families across the state.

Columbia -- the home to MU's main campus -- is a fairly large city with a strong job market. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, its unemployment rate has not exceeded 3% for more than two years. More than 80% of new undergraduates received some form of financial aid during the 2016-17 academic year, and roughly two-thirds received institutional scholarships and grants.

Montana: Montana State University

Located in the city of Bozeman, MSU is the state's largest degree-granting institution. Support services for student parents available through the school's Office of Return to Learn include the Return-to-Learn Scholarship, which awards up to $2,000 to students whose undergraduate education was interrupted due to childcare obligations. Merit- and need-based awards are also available. Additionally, student parents pursuing a degree through MSU's college of education, health, and human development can apply for the Lea May Miller Memorial Scholarship.

MSU offers child- and family-friendly on-campus housing. The ASMSU Preschool, which serves children up to kindergarten age, is reserved for kids of MSU students and faculty. Five lactation and diaper-changing rooms are located throughout campus. In addition to a permanent food pantry that offers unlimited bread and produce twice per week, the university also sponsors pop-up pantries with preboxed meals designed for households with multiple mouths to feed.

PayScale estimates the cost of living in Bozeman to be on par with the national average, and the economy for Gallatin County -- where Bozeman is located -- was recently named the strongest of its size in the U.S.

Nebraska: College of Saint Mary

CSM is a Catholic women's university located in the heart of Omaha. The college has received nationwide attention for its Mothers Living and Learning initiative -- a support system provided to single mothers pursuing an undergraduate degree. Madonna Hall, located on campus, contains free laundry facilities and communal play areas for students with children between the ages of six weeks and 10 years.

Student parents who take part in the Mothers Living and Learning Program are required to take a one-credit successful single mothers course. They are also invited to attend faculty-led workshops about parenting strategies and children's health and wellness.

The Spellman Child Development Center offers on-campus daycare for children between the ages of six months and six years. The college's Director of Single Parent Success can help student parents find alternative childcare options, and the student-led Many Opportunities for Mothering Solo can also provide helpful referrals.

Despite its size, Omaha is a fairly affordable place to live. PayScale estimates the cost of living in Omaha to be 8% lower than the national average, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the unemployment rate in the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area is lower than the national average. According to iPEDS, 97% of new undergraduates received institutional financial aid during the 2016-17 academic year.

Nevada: University of Nevada, Las Vegas

Located about a mile from the Vegas Strip, UNLV offers specialized resources and support for students with kids and other nontraditional learners. On-campus childcare is available through the UNLV/CSUN Preschool, which gives enrollment priority to the children of part-time and full-time students. Additionally, the free Rebel Scholars program targets student parents and other nontraditional learners looking for extra career guidance. As part of the program, participants engage in extracurricular projects within the local community and receive advice from career experts.

Institutional awards geared toward students with children and other nontraditional learners include the Nontraditional Student Book Scholarship and the Jean Nidetch Scholarship. The university's main campus hoses eight lactation rooms. Although the school does not feature on-campus housing for families, an extensive list of off-campus living options can found on its website. The university's food pantry -- established in 2010 -- provides nonperishable food to students and faculty members with a valid school ID.

Despite its size, Las Vegas has a cost of living only 3% higher than the national average, according to PayScale. iPEDS also notes that 93% of beginning undergraduates received some form of financial aid during the 2016-17 academic year.

New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire

UNH is headquartered in the city of Durham and consists of seven separate colleges. Students with kids who require daycare can apply for admission at the Child Study and Development Center. This school charges childcare tuition on a sliding scale, helping students stay within their budget. UNH also features a campus food pantry that offers food on a weekly basis, as well as food baskets for families multiple times per year. Four reservable lactation rooms are also available.

UNH is also a cost-effective option for student parents from other New England states. Under the New England Regional Student Program, students from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont qualify for reduced tuition rates. Student parents seeking an accelerated pathway can also apply to the Research Experience and Apprenticeship Program -- an intensive fast-track option that includes one-on-one mentoring, a $3,500 fellowship, and a stipend.

Durham is close to other New Hampshire cities with strong job markets, such as Portsmouth, where the unemployment rate has not exceeded 3% in nearly four years. According to iPEDS, more than 70% of beginning undergraduates at UNH received institutional aid during the 2016-17 academic year.

New Jersey: Rutgers University

Rutgers -- the largest degree-granting institution in New Jersey -- is based in the city of New Brunswick. The university offers two on-campus childcare options. The Rutgers Child Psychology Development Center provides daycare services to children between one and five years of age. Children of students earning degrees in psychology at Rutgers receive top enrollment priority, but other Rutgers students receive preference above non-Rutgers students. Additionally, student parents with children who have special education needs can apply for admission at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center.

Student parents at Rutgers seeking financial assistance may qualify for a Student Access and Equity Grant, which awards funds to learners pursuing extracurricular activities in addition to their studies. The university is also home to the Rutgers Students with Children organization -- a student-led group that emphasizes concerns and support for mothers. The New Brunswick campus features three private lactation rooms courtesy of the Lactation Project, which is an initiative spearheaded by registered nurses at the university.

The university awarded more than $23 million in institutional aid to nearly 3,000 new undergraduates during the 2016-17 school year.

New Mexico: University of New Mexico

Located in Albuquerque, UNM offers a wealth of resources and opportunities to student parents -- particularly mothers. Undergraduate and graduate women who provide sole custody to at least one dependent child are urged to apply for the Sabrina Single Mother's Scholarship.

UNM also offers scholarships that emphasize student diversity, such as the Zia Transfer Scholarship, which awards preference to students belonging to racial minority groups, and tribal scholarships/waivers for students who identify as American Indian or Alaska Native. Additionally, the university's Women's Leadership and Mentorship Program is a year-long empowerment and educational success workshop open to all female students.

The UNM Children's Campus offers daycare services to the estimated 6,000 student parents attending UNM, with childcare tuition subsidies available to students with financial needs. Additionally, on-campus family housing is open to learners with dependent children. Amenities for residents include free utilities and free parking. The main campus houses 22 lactation rooms, many of which come equipped with hospital-grade breast pumps and/or refrigerators.

Albuquerque is one of the largest cities in the Southwest, but the cost of living is 5% lower than the national average. According to iPEDS, 97% of beginning undergraduates received some sort of financial aid during the 2016-17 academic year and more than three-quarters received institutional scholarships and grants.

New York: New York University

NYU boasts a population of more than 50,000 students and offers many resources for those with children. The university holds partnerships with three on-campus childcare providers that accommodate infants, toddlers, and preschoolers up to the age of five. The university's division of applied undergraduate studies also offers the Icahn Scholarship for Single Parents, which awards $2,500 per semester to top male and female candidates. Full-time graduate students can also apply for childcare subsidies if their child is less than six years old. A listing of local camps and childcare options for children six and older is also available on the university's website.

Students with a valid ID can can access lactation rooms throughout the university's main campus. Learners may also participate in breastfeeding workshops through the school's Work Life program. Master's students with children can access additional support through CareBridge -- a program that provides expert consultations about childcare and children's health. Additionally, with a campus located in the heart of New York City, the university offers a vibrant locale teeming with employment opportunities.

North Carolina: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

UNC-Chapel Hill is the state's oldest degree-granting institution and the second-largest university. The university is home to two organizations dedicated to supporting students with kids: Parenting@UNC and the UCH-CH Student Parents Association.

A web-based initiative, Parenting@UNC offers information on many parenting and academic topics, such as local childcare options, health insurance for students with dependents, and resources for LGBTQ families. The UNC-CH Student Parents Association provides advocacy and social networking opportunities for pregnant students and those with dependent children.

Full-time students seeking financial assistance for childcare can apply for the UNC-Chapel Hill Child Care Scholarship. Candidates qualify for different awards -- ranging from $50,000-$90,000 -- depending on their family size. A total of 15 lactation rooms are located throughout campus. Breastfeeding and lactation counseling from board-certified consultants is also offered to students. The Carolina Cupboard Community Food Pantry provides free food to all students with a valid ID and is open three days per week.

PayScale estimates that the cost of living in Chapel Hill is 4% lower than the national average, and the city's unemployment rate is also slightly below the national average.

North Dakota: North Dakota State University

Located in Fargo, NDSU offers a comprehensive online guide to student parents who attend the institution. This guide includes an overview of the school's policy for providing financial assistance to student parents who need childcare, have long commutes, and face other expenses. It also includes a list of external scholarships for learners with children.

NDSU hosts childcare through its wellness center -- a facility that serves children ranging from six weeks to five years of age. The center exclusively serves children of current students, and tuition rates are reasonably priced at less than $5.50 per hour. The university also boasts nine private lactation rooms throughout its campus. NDSU's official website lists a handful of locations in the Fargo area where student parents can obtain free or discounted food.

According to PayScale, the cost of living in Fargo is 6% lower than the national average. As the largest city in North Dakota, Fargo also offers more job opportunities than neighboring metro areas. The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the unemployment rate in Fargo has not exceeded 3.5% in more than four years. Roughly half of beginning undergraduates at NDSU received institutional scholarships and grants during the 2016-17 academic year.

Ohio: Ohio State University

In terms of overall 2017-18 enrollment, Ohio State was the third-largest postsecondary institution in the United States. The school oversees several initiatives for student parents, including the Buckeye Baby Program, which provides free consultations and counseling for pregnant students and new mothers; the ACCESS Collaborative program, which assists low-income single mothers enrolled full time, with an emphasis on helping women of color; and the Critical Difference for Women scholarship and grant program.

On-campus family housing is available in the Buckeye Village residential community. The Ohio State University Child Care Program offers early childhood education to current students and faculty members. Low-income students may apply for childcare assistance subsidies. More than 30 on-campus lactation rooms are available, many of which require reservations and/or keys for added privacy. The nonprofit food pantry Buckeye Food Alliance serves students and faculty members who hold a valid school ID.

The Columbus metro area offers many employment opportunities, particularly for those interested in government and politics. Additionally, PayScale estimates the cost of living in Columbus to be 10% lower than the national average, making it more affordable than other U.S. cities with comparable populations. According to iPEDS, 70% of new undergraduates received institutional scholarships and grants during the 2016-17 academic year.

Oklahoma: Oklahoma State University

Headquartered in the city of Stillwater, OSU has a wide selection of on-campus housing for students with dependent children, offering six different neighborhoods and five available floor plans. Students with families receive preference when applying for vacant spaces in these communities. Learners with daycare-aged children can also apply for childcare services at the Cleo L. Craig Child Development Laboratory located on campus. The university helps cover out-of-pocket daycare costs for employee students who need childcare.

OSU students may also be eligible for Oklahoma Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) -- a statewide grant program serving single-parent families. In addition to daycare assistance, TANF funding can be used for employment training and medical care. Single-parent families with two children qualify for up to $292 per month. Breastfeeding students at OSU can use six private lactation rooms across the main campus. The Stillwater Church of Christ Food Bank provides free food for local residents in need.

Stillwater is a relatively affordable place to live; the city's cost of living is 8% lower than the national average, according to PayScale. Additionally, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the state's unemployment rate has steadily declined over the past two years. Nearly three-quarters of new incoming undergraduates received institutional grants and scholarships during the 2016-17 academic year.

Oregon: Portland State University

Located in the heart of the Rose City, PSU supports student parents through its Services for Students with Children division. Students facing financial hardship may apply for emergency loan assistance once per term. The Jim Sells Child Care Assistance Program is also open to part-time and full-time student parents with financial need seeking on-campus or off-campus daycare. PSU also offers a handful of scholarships reserved for single parents, including the Clarridge-Pelinka Scholarship, Debbie Boldrick Music Scholarship, Jackie Bell Scholarship, and Kris Vockler Scholarship.

PSU's campus features a family-friendly resource room and study space for adults and children. PSU also provides "Bundle of Joy" gift bags to all students who become new parents while enrolled. A total of 13 lactation spaces are found campus. Students seeking on-campus childcare can apply for admission into the Little Vikings Child Care program, which serves children between the ages of six weeks and 12 years.

Pennsylvania: Misericordia University

Located in the city of Dallas, Pennsylvania, Misericordia is a private liberal arts college affiliated with the Catholic church. The school operates the Ruth Matthews Bourger Women with Children Program, which provides female student parents with free housing throughout the academic year. Each housing unit includes two bedrooms, a study area, a playroom, and laundry facilities. Misericordia also offers up to 40% in childcare subsidies for female student parents, and the program coordinator can help families find local childcare providers. This program is exclusive to full-time students seeking an undergraduate degree.

Additional components of the program include parenting workshops, career and mental health counseling, and tutoring. Female student parents also receive top priority for work-study and internship opportunities on campus. Misericordia recently established an on-campus food pantry that serves students and faculty members facing food insecurity.

Dallas is within a 30-minute drive of Scranton -- one of Pennsylvania's largest cities and an industrial hub for students seeking jobs. The cost of living in Scranton is lower than the national average. According to iPEDS, 100% of beginning undergraduates received institutional aid during the 2016-17 academic year.

Rhode Island: University of Rhode Island

URI offers childcare assistance grants to student parents through the URI Work-Life Committee, which is open to students with children ages 12 and younger (or children with special needs up to the age of 19). These grants are open to part-time and full-time undergraduates taking at least six credits, and recipients qualify for up to $500 per semester. The University of Rhode Island Foundation also offers the Students First Fund to student parents and other undergraduates who need emergency tuition support.

The University Village Apartments provide family housing for students with children in two- and three-bedroom units. The school's main campus also features the URI Child Development Center, which offers daycare services to children between the ages of three and five. URI also houses six private lactation rooms. Additionally, the Rhody Outpost campus food pantry offers a selection of food and household items to students at no charge.

South Carolina: University of South Carolina

UofSC -- the largest postsecondary institution in the Carolinas by enrollment -- offers two on-campus childcare facilities. The Bright Horizons center serves infants, toddlers, and preschoolers through a curriculum that incorporates math, STEM, ESL, and art. Additionally, the university's school of medicine hosts the ABC Special Needs Program for children with special needs. UofSC also offers an online Healthy Baby and You guide for pregnant and breastfeeding students.

In addition UofSC's many general institutional scholarships and grants, the Pearl Spencer Bessinger Scholarship is reserved for single parents pursuing a nursing degree. The university does not offer on-campus housing for families with children but many family-friendly apartments can be found within walking distance of the main campus. Student parents seeking food assistance can receive up to 15 free food items per week from the Gamecock Pantry.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Columbia's unemployment rate is relatively low, and PayScale notes that the cost of living is below the national average. More than 60% of new undergraduates at UofSC received institutional scholarships and grants during the 2016-17 academic year.

South Dakota: University of South Dakota

In addition to on-campus degree pathways, USD offers online degrees in more than 40 academic fields. The university's self-paced online programs represent a great option for student parents juggling class and childcare duties, with tuition rates priced at a flat rate for all distance learners. Military service members also receive a substantial online tuition discount.

USD students seeking on-campus childcare can apply for admission at the Vucurevich Children's Center, which serves infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The center boasts low child-to-staff ratios, and children of enrolled students receive enrollment priority. The university is also a good option for student parents with Native American heritage, as several scholarships target Native American students. Learners seeking food assistance can visit the Vermillion Food Pantry, which serves a community meal every Monday.

More than 90% of beginning undergraduates received some sort of financial aid during the 2016-17 academic year and two-thirds received institutional scholarships and grants.

Tennessee: Middle Tennessee State University

Located in the city of Murfreesboro, MTSU provides multiple childcare options for student parents. These facilities include the MTSU Child Care Lab for children ages 3-5 and the MTSU Child Development Center for children ages 1-5; both of these facilities award priority enrollment to children of current students. The Ann Campbell Early Learning Center serves children with and without special needs and is also open to children of MTSU students. Student parents seeking on-campus family housing can apply for a one- or two-bedroom unit at the Womack Lane apartment complex.

MTSU offers the Osher Reentry Scholarship, which awards up to $4,000 to student parents and other nontraditional students returning to school after a gap of at least five years. The student union building houses a private lactation room. Additionally, reasonably priced linen packages and free food, toiletries, and personal care items are available at the Student Food Pantry for students living on campus.

The cost of living in Murfreesboro is 8% lower than the national average, according to PayScale. Unemployment in the area also remains low, and Murfreesboro is close to Nashville -- the state's capitol and a major economic hub. Roughly 95% of beginning undergraduates received some sort of financial aid during the 2016-17 academic year.

Texas: Texas Woman's University

Although it has offered a coeducational campus for more than 20 years, TWU is considered the country's largest state-supported postsecondary institution that primarily serves female students. The school is home to the Campus Alliance for Resource Education, which provides parent students and other nontraditional learners with information about off-campus housing and public transportation. Nontraditional students enrolled in at least six credits can also join the Student Pioneers Also Raising Kids organization -- a student-led organization that provides financial, academic, and social resources for student parents.

TWU offers on-campus family housing for couples with and without children. Options include two- and three-bedroom units. Student parents with daycare needs may be eligible for childcare assistance grants. The university also offers after-school childcare for children ages 5-12, and current students qualify for tuition discounts. In 2018, the university was recognized as a Texas Mother-Friendly Worksite thanks to its lactation rooms and other facilities for pregnant women and new mothers.

TWU is located in the city of Denton -- part of the greater Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. The cost of living in Denton is 8% lower than the national average and the county's unemployment rate in December 2018 was less than 3%.

Utah: Brigham Young University

Located in the city of Provo, BYU is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The university offers on-campus family housing in the Wymount Terrace and Wyview Park apartment complexes. Scholarships reserved for single parents are also available to BYU students attending classes on campus on a full-time or part-time basis. BYU's business school also provides several single-parent scholarships.

The BYU Child and Family Studies Laboratory offers childcare for preschoolers and kindergarteners, as well as weekly parenting classes. BYU also provides an extensive list of fully licensed, off-campus childcare providers. The main campus is home to 17 lactation rooms and 27 diaper-changing stations. Additional resources for student parents are available through the university's Nontraditional Student Union and the Women's Services and Resources department.

The cost of living in Provo is lower than the national average, according to PayScale, and the city's unemployment rate is also quite low. Nearly half of beginning undergraduates during the 2016-17 academic year received institutional scholarships and grants.

Vermont: Champlain College

Located in Burlington -- Vermont's largest city -- Champlain is a private liberal arts institution that provides specialized support for single parent students. The school's Single Parents Program assigns advisers and service coordinators to each student. Champlain also offers a Single Parents Scholarship, which covers full undergraduate tuition costs for eligible recipients. To enter the Single Parents Program, students must be pursuing their first bachelor's degree on campus or online and enrolled in at least six credits.

The Single Parents Program also includes free counseling and tutoring. Participants may request referrals for full-time or part-time work, temporary jobs, and internships and work-study programs related to their major. The school's campus hosts a lactation room furnished by Mamava, which is a Burlington-based manufacturer of breastfeeding and nursing equipment.

Although the cost of living in Burlington is much higher than the national average, the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that the city's unemployment rate is quite low. According to iPEDS, 99% of new undergraduates received institutional aid during the 2016-17 academic year.

Virginia: University of Virginia

UVA admits students on the basis of their academic merit, regardless of their ability to pay. The university meets each student's financial need through scholarships, grants, need-based loans, and work-study programs, helping every candidate to afford their education. UVA also limits the amount of need-based loans given to students in order to reduce debt.

Support and resources for student parents are available through UVA's career center. The school is also home to two Kindercare childcare centers, which operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. These centers care for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and children about to enter kindergarten. Children of full-time students receive top enrollment priority. Graduate students with kids can choose from four different on-campus family housing areas that offer one-, two-, and three-bedroom units. Off-campus options are also widely available.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate in Charlottesville -- which is home to the university's main campus -- is lower than the national average.

Washington: University of Washington

UW offers a comprehensive childcare assistance program for low-income student parents. This program helps cover costs for licensed childcare providers for infants, toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary students through age 12. Full-time students qualify for monthly grants of $150-$600, while part-time students qualify for $75-$300 per month. UW’s childcare assistance benefits students attending classes on campus at any of the university's three main campuses.

UW’s primary campus -- in Seattle -- is home to four childcare centers. Students living with their children in school-owned family housing receive top enrollment priority, but all students qualify for daycare tuition discounts. The school offers a handful of institutional scholarships through the UW Women's Center, including the Meena Vashee Scholarship for single mothers and other women who are domestic violence survivors. A total of 16 private, secure lactation rooms are located across the main Seattle campus.

West Virginia: Marshall University

Located in the city of Huntington, MU offers tuition waiver grants to reduce college costs for incoming undergraduates who can demonstrate financial need. Different grants are available for West Virginia residents and out-of-state students who attend on-campus classes on a full-time basis. Waiver grants are renewable for up to four years.

The College Foundation of West Virginia also offers tuition grants for part-time students. These incentives can make college more affordable to student parents, particularly single parents supporting children on a modest income.

The school's Child Development Academy offers low-cost daycare to MU students with children between the ages of six weeks and five years. Children of current students receive top enrollment priority. Parents seeking short-term babysitters can also contact the Marshall Recreation Center. Private lactation rooms and diaper-changing stations can be found across the main campus. MU also operates an on-campus food pantry serving students, faculty members, and community residents.

According to iPEDS, more than 60% of beginning undergraduates at MU received institutional aid during the 2016-2017 school year.

Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin-Madison

UW's main campus is located in the state capital, with 11 additional campuses scattered throughout the state. A handful of single-parent scholarships exist for undergraduate and graduate students. The school also offers PLATO Scholarships -- typically awarded to single parents -- along with several other institutional awards for nontraditional learners.

UW offers two childcare assistance programs. The Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools grant is open to full-time students who send their children to the UW-Madison Campus Child Care Center, while the Child Care Tuition Assistance Program benefits student parents who send their children off campus for childcare.

Discounted rates for back-up childcare at the Little Chicks Child Care Center are also available to current students through the Kids-Kare program. Students with kids receive top priority in the University Houses and Eagle Heights neighborhoods for on-campus family housing. A wide selection of lactation rooms, including shower rooms, pods, and locked locations, are found throughout the Madison campus. The Open Seat food pantry provides free food and household goods to students.

Madison’s strong job market benefits students seeking jobs related to government and politics. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Madison's unemployment rate is much lower than average and has not exceeded 3% for more than two years.

Wyoming: University of Wyoming

Based in Laramie, UW estimates that one in three of its students are nontraditional learners, and the school offers a handful of institutional scholarships geared toward student parents. For example, the ASUW Child Assistance Scholarship awards $1,000 to five student parents who demonstrate financial need each year. The Adult Student Scholarship and Osher Reentry Scholarship also target students aged 25 years and older who interrupted their studies due to childcare duties. UW offers several additional scholarships for nontraditional students, along with a scholarship for student parents attending class on the school's Casper campus.

Located on the Laramie campus, the Early Care and Education Center provides childcare services to children between the ages of three months and five years. The center also offers after-school care for children between kindergarten and sixth grade. Multiple tuition schedules accommodate parents with different income levels. Five private lactation rooms are located throughout the Laramie campus, and child-friendly family housing is available on campus at the University of Wyoming Apartments and Bison Run Village.

The cost of living in Laramie is 5% lower than the national average. Additionally, roughly two-thirds of new undergraduates received institutional scholarships and grants during the 2016-17 academic year.

Back to School Checklist for Students with Children

Earning a college degree requires careful planning for any student, but those with dependent children often face additional considerations and challenges. The checklist below offers a few helpful tips for choosing a college program.

Determine a Healthy Timeline: Although students attending class on a full-time basis generally have greater access to institutional scholarships and childcare assistance programs, part-time enrollment mapy appeal to student parents, particularly if they also have jobs. As noted by MarketWatch, the best colleges for student parents and other adult learners often offer evening and/or weekend courses that are held outside of normal working hours.
Set Expectations and Routines: Consistent routines are essential for college success, but busy students often struggle to stick to a schedule. According to Inside Higher Ed, the average college student with children only reserves 10 hours per day for studying, eating sleeping, and personal activities. An article from Purdue Global University notes that students can manage their time more effectively by delegating tasks to their partner, children, and/or other household members. Student parents should also stress the importance of quiet uninterrupted study time to their children.
Have Backup Plans: Many students and their children rely on daycare centers during the week, but sometimes these facilities close unexpectedly. Student parents should create contingency plans for these circumstances. Backup care options for parents can include licensed care providers who visit a student's home as well as dedicated childcare facilities. Some schools -- such as the University of Washington -- also provide discounts for students with backup care needs.
Find a Mentor or Adviser: Many of the most parenting-friendly colleges provide specialized support for student parents and other nontraditional learners, including academic and career advising. These services may also extend to parenting concerns, such as childcare and financial assistance. Student parents who have yet to choose a school should reach out to prospective colleges to find out about special services for student parents.
Budget, Budget, Budget: Scholarships and grants can help alleviate the cost of college for student parents, but most of these awards only cover tuition and cannot be used for application fees, textbooks, or other academic expenses. For this reason, a strict budget is highly recommended for all student parents. For more information about scholarships and financial aid options for students with children, please visit the Single Parent Student Resources Guide hosted by Accredited Schools Online.

College Advocacy Resources for Students with Kids

Finally, we encourage prospective and current student parents to visit the resources listed below. These guides include information about childcare options and assistance, student parent advocacy, considerations for pregnant and breastfeeding students, and financial aid opportunities.

  • Child Care and Development Fund: This federal assistance program is open to low-income families who provide primary custody for children under the age of 13 or those with special-needs children through the age of 19. A full list of state-by-state contacts for the fund is also available.
  • The Pregnant Scholar: This website offers resources for pregnant students and new student parents, along with policy-driven guidelines for faculty members and school administrators. It also includes an overview of legal rights for breastfeeding and pregnant student accommodations, financial aid, and leaves and absences.
  • Student Parent Success Initiative: Launched by the Institute for Women's Policy Research, this initiative strives to promote success and improve outcomes for U.S. undergraduates with dependent children. The website features a full archive of related articles and blog posts. Readers can also subscribe to the IWPR newsletter.
  • Building Family-Friendly Campuses: A recent article from Higher Education Today discusses common-sense measures colleges and universities across the country have taken recently to support students with families. These measures include creating scholarships and grants for students with kids, providing affordable on-campus childcare, and connecting student parents with one another.
  • What to Know About Childcare Access in College: This detailed guide from U.S. News & World Report outlines important childcare considerations for student parents; federal assistance programs, such as the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program; and state-funded care centers located at public two- and four-year institutions.