The university received the grant under the federal Child Care Access Means Parents in School program to offer assistance to students who are struggling with college and parenthood.
The laboratory is expected to serve 15-20 undergraduate parents annually, providing support in teaching, research and organizing engagement activities.
“It’s very clear that these parents often feel isolated because the traditional undergraduate students in their courses don’t comprehend the difficulties of balancing work, parenting and school and trying to be successful in all three,” said Brent McBride, the director of CDL.
“One of the single best predictors of not completing a degree if you become a parent while you’re an undergraduate student is dropping out because you cannot meet all the demands,” he added.
According to the Office of Student Financial Aid, in 2017, more than 183 undergraduate students with children applied for financial assistance.
The university will also provide a mentoring program pairing new undergraduate students with children with the peers who have lived on campus for some time and make assessments whether there is need to help the students with resources required for daily use.
“By investing a small amount of funding into these students, the return on the investment will be phenomenal as they complete their degrees, become societal contributors through employment and do all of the things that students do after graduation,” McBride added.