In 1999, a teenager named Nicole came to university, ready to study literature and make his mark in creative writing.
But she discovered that her campus was not ready for what she brought: a young daughter.
Despite the nursery and financial setbacks-and some indifferent professors-Nicole persisted and graduated. Now, she runs a non-profit organization to provide support to teenage parents pursuing higher education. She just published a memoir called “Pregnant girl,” about her own experience of trying to get a degree.
In this week’s EdSurge podcast, we spoke with writer Nicole Lynn Lewis about what teenage parents need to thrive in college.
According to statistics, today, one in five college students is a parent Hope Generation Research, An organization founded by Lewis. However, few higher education institutions track the status of childcare or set up programs designed to serve students with children. Unpopular campuses will further increase the burden on young parents and their families.
Lewis believes that if institutional barriers mean that students with children cannot succeed in college, then this not only deprives these students of the financial benefits of obtaining degrees, but also deprives them of the emotional and intellectual benefits that education brings.
As Lewis wrote in her book, in stark contrast to the chaos of her last year of high school, “University provides me with a space to listen, find my voice, and question the status quo.”