Our previous blog posts outlined barriers student parents face to higher education access and success and outlined how better data collection on student parents and institutional policies and practices can improve student-parent experience. This final post in the series looks at actions state and federal policy makers can take to foster the inclusion and success of student parents.
Increase Access to Quality Childcare Funded by the State or Federal Government
Childcare is a major hurdle for student parents and on-campus centers are a valuable resource; however, not all California Community Colleges have a childcare center, and among Californian institutions that have centers, demand often outstrips supply. Our previous reports estimate that parenting undergraduates pay an average annual premium of $7,592 per child, a figure equivalent to tuition at CSU.1 The state lacks an adequate number of childcare programs, and the pandemic has only exacerbated this shortage; over 8,500 licensed childcare sites have shut down since the pandemic started, reducing the number of childcare slots by tens of thousands.2 The state can take direct action to help student parents by increasing the quantity of affordable childcare and increasing the number of state subsidized afterschool programs for older children.
Expand Support for Childcare
Several state and federal programs provide support for low-income parents; however, roadblocks exist that hamper student parents’ ability to access this aid. The federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) provides funds to states to help low-income parents pay for childcare, but states determine whether parents enrolled in college are eligible for the program. Another way to support childcare needs is through direct support; the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program provides funding to states to support needy families through cash assistance. While states have latitude to determine the eligibility criteria for recipients, TANF does require that recipients work to receive benefits.3 Research has shown that these programs disadvantage adults trying to reenter college, and since the passage of these “work first” laws, fewer low-income individuals have pursued higher education.4 Moreover, even among those TANF recipients who do further their education, the program appears to discourage students from pursuing degrees and for-credit certificates. Since TANF was enacted, a significantly higher percentage of recipients participating in any type of education or training have pursued only short-term, noncredit training.5,6
CalWORKs provides cash aid and services to eligible needy families and is operated locally by county welfare departments. Services include subsidized childcare, medical care, and utilities, among other categories.7 CalWORKs cash assistance program requires single parents with a child under six to complete 20 hours of work per week.8 CalWORKs Stage One childcare program uses funds from both TANF and CCDBG and limits eligibility to students pursuing short-term education and training programs that lead to employment, eliminating most higher education degrees and programs.9,10 A recent CSU report notes that although exemptions exist to the work requirements, many county workers have not received guidance on how to verify these exemptions, and thus mistakenly told students that they were ineligible for the benefit.11 These rules mean that students working toward a bachelor’s degree and most associate’s degrees still are obligated to work if they want to receive benefits. The state can expand the number of education programs that allow students to qualify for benefits to include students pursuing all degree types.12
California’s Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program assists low-income student parents attending California community colleges with grants and services for childcare, transportation, and books, as well as providing counseling and advising.13 Students must meet program entry requirements for the Extended Opportunity Programs & Services (EOPS) and must be enrolled in college full time.14 Full-time enrollment remains a barrier for many student parents who are balancing work, family, and their own education. Eliminating the full-time enrollment requirement for these programs could make grants available to more student parents.
Increase Wages of Childcare Workers
The shortage of childcare workers predates the pandemic, possibly because historically these positions have offered low wages without benefits. Childcare workers who operate out of their homes are considered self-employed and therefore are not protected by all federal labor laws. One report found that 46 percent of childcare workers rely on public assistance to make ends meet.15,16 Most family childcare workers are women of color, which means the sector’s low wages exacerbate pay equity gaps. The problem of how to pay childcare workers more is perplexing for parents because costs for childcare are already very high. Policy makers have struggled with how to increase wages for workers without creating more burdens for parents through higher prices for childcare. The state can foster the development of more childcare centers by subsidizing higher salaries of childcare workers and incentivizing postsecondary training for students who specialize in early childhood education, as we do for other occupations with critical labor market shortages. Alternatively, many European countries subsidize the cost of childcare by capping parental payments at a percentage of their salaries. Advocates note that colleges could partner with Head Start programs to use federal funding to build new teacher credentialing programs and teacher training pathways to help improve the supply of child care workers.17, 18, 19
There has been good news on this issue in the last year, partly made possible through federal funding through the American Rescue Plan.20 As part of the state budget recent legislation was approved to add 200,000 new childcare slots by 2025–26 and to increase childcare and preschool provider rates by 15 percent starting in 2022. The bill includes funding to build and renovate childcare facilities, to create a new childcare data system, and to waive fees for all families using subsidized childcare and state preschool through June 2022. Additionally, the budget will start phasing in universal transitional kindergarten for all four-year-olds (with full implementation by 2025–26) and makes investments in early education training programs.21, 22 Thanks to previously adopted legislation, the state minimum wage is due to increase to $15 an hour in 2022, which will increase salaries for lower-paid employees at licensed childcare centers. These measures are substantial investments and provide hope that the number of affordable childcare slots will grow in the next few years. Still, these changes will take time to implement, which means the state should consider strategies that would have a more immediate impact.
Food and Housing Assistance State and Federal Food and Housing Assistance Programs
Student parents also face challenges in finding affordable housing and being able to afford groceries and supplies for their families. On-campus food pantries and family friendly campus housing are two ways to support students, but a broader support system is needed. State and federal programs exist to support low-income food and housing needs, but student parents have faced eligibility barriers. CalFresh is the state version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), often called food stamps, which provides nutrition benefits to supplement low-income families’ food budgets. However, historically, once a student becomes enrolled in college, they become ineligible for SNAP unless they work 20 hours a week or are eligible for another exemption to the work rule. Undocumented students cannot participate in SNAP, which leaves a sizable number of students without this crucial support. A national analysis estimates that 57 percent of potentially eligible low-income college students with risk factors for food insecurity did not participate in SNAP.23 Another analysis found that only 22 percent of SNAP-eligible college students in California ever received the benefit.24
Certain employment and training programs allow students to qualify for an exemption from SNAP work requirements, and states have flexibility in identifying the programs offered at institutions of higher education that can be considered for this purpose. These higher education programs, often at community colleges, must be operated by a state or local government agency, target households with low incomes, and help increase participants’ employability.25, 26 According to data from California Department of Social Services, 7 UC, 8 CSU, and 14 California community college campuses offer at least one qualifying program.27 Increasing the number of qualifying programs would allow more student parents to be eligible for a work exemption.28 Students can also receive an exemption from the work requirement if they receive a Cal Grant, so increasing the number of student parents that are eligible for Cal Grants would have an additional benefit of enabling more students to be eligible for CalFresh benefits without working excessive hours.29, 30, 31
Promising Recent Federal and State Actions
During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Congress has temporarily expanded SNAP eligibility to students who qualify for federal or state work-study and those with an Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of zero. Even those students who were not placed in a work-study position are still eligible for SNAP under these temporary changes. Analysts have projected that the provision for zero-EFC students alone enables as many as 3 million low-income students who could not previously qualify for SNAP to now do so. The December 2020 stimulus bill also requires the Department of Education to inform FAFSA filers and current college students about this change and that they may now be eligible for SNAP benefits.32, 33 Permanently removing SNAP work requirements would be a lifeline for student parents during and after the pandemic. Another recent change is allowing the work-study exemption to work requirements through school breaks so that students can enroll in summer courses. Ample research documents that working more than 15 hours per week can have detrimental effects on student persistence and completion, and student parents have even more obligations with their parenting role. Eliminating work requirements for SNAP and extending it through the summer would reduce the need for students to work excessive hours and will enable them to be more successful in obtaining a degree or certificate and ultimately lead to better employment.
Another positive federal development is the expanded child tax credit program, which started rolling out in July 2021 using funds designated by the American Rescue Plan. According to the plan, 88 percent of families with children will automatically get the benefit, which is $2,000–$3,000 for each child ages 6–17 and up to $3,600 for each child under the age of 6. The expansion of the child tax credit builds off other emergency supports for students that were allocated during the pandemic. Each of three stimulus bills passed by Congress included funding for higher education institutions, with about half of the funding for institutions for emergency cash grants to students. These types of direct cash assistance could be invaluable to student parents, many of whom reported that cash relief provided through federal stimulus legislation helped them make ends meet.34, 35, 36 Allocating more federal funding for emergency grants to students can improve the likelihood that student parents stay enrolled through completion through financially stressful times.
There have also been positive developments to support food and housing needs through the state budget this year. The 2021–22 state budget included protections for low-income individuals, including an extension of the state’s eviction moratorium through September 2021. The program will cover 100 percent of past due and prospective rent payments for qualifying tenants as well as qualifying utility bills.37 These policies are welcome relief for families teetering on the edge of homelessness. However, they are temporary fixes and do not replace expanding affordable family-friendly housing in the state. The state budget also includes a $2 billion one-time investment to establish a low-cost student housing grant program for the public higher education segments. This program will focus on expanding the availability of affordable student housing and supporting campus expansions for UC and CSU.38 Additional details of the plan will be out sometime next year, and hopefully they will include targeted investments in family friendly housing options in all segments.
Financial Aid Reforms and Other Student Support Systems
Total Cost of Attendance
Student parents face financial challenges because colleges base financial aid packages on an incomplete picture of student costs. Total cost of attendance typically includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and room and board (and sometimes health insurance and transportation). Institutions estimate college costs based on a nine-month academic year and therefore do not account for the costs students face through the entire calendar year. Certain education-related tax benefits, such as the Lifetime Learning Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit, do not count childcare, room and board, or insurance and medical expenses as qualified higher education expenses. Additionally, because many student parents are low income and thus have no tax liability, they are unable to benefit from these tax credits.39
Financial aid officers do have the authority to revise a student’s “indirect cost allowance” based on personal circumstances by using professional judgement. However, students must know about this option and be able to provide documentation proving that their individual circumstances justify higher indirect costs to convince an officer to increase the allowance.40, 41 Equally important, financial aid officers must agree to the revisions, hardly a sure thing since institutions face investigations and fines if their decisions are found to be out of compliance with federal policy.42 Historically, cost of attendance calculations at California institutions have often used student expense budget data compiled by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). The student expense budget data were calculated for the entire state, with no variation in regional price differences. While colleges are allowed to adopt their own cost of attendance models based on local data many colleges use the CSAC data. From the 1970s through 2006-07 CSAC conducted a survey of student costs every three years to update the estimates. However, CSAC stopped conducting the survey between 2007 and 2018 and instead adjusted the state estimate by inflation, even though prices for of housing and other expenses have exceeded inflation, especially in urban areas. After CSAC resumed surveying students in 2018, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office found that many colleges’ estimates of student expenses were below the regional averages in the new CSAC dataset. The updated data should provide a valuable tool for colleges to better estimate student costs.43 Revising student expenses for regional cost variations is a positive step in accounting for total cost of attendance, but state and federal policy makers can implement other changes that would benefit student parents. Allowing parents to count childcare with indirect costs is a logical step.
Relevant Work Experiences
Student parents have also noted that they do not have enough time for meeting the multiple demands of schooling, work, and parenting. One study found that students with children under 6 spent 86 additional hours per week more than students without young children on nondiscretionary tasks, and the difference was due almost exclusively to caring for children. These data suggest that student parents have fewer hours to dedicate to work than nonparents and that their financial need should be based on a reduced number of working hours.44 Providing work-study opportunities that link employment to a student’s area of study would increase their relevant career experience while providing income for their family. Changes to the California work-study program in the 2021–22 budget include additional funding and a requirement that the employment be related to a student’s area of study. Additionally, the budget has funding for the community colleges to support more work-based learning through the Strong Workforce program. These changes may be helpful for student parents if enough work-study opportunities are made available.
Access to Financial Aid
Student parents face higher costs than nonstudents, which is why access to financial aid is a key lever to success. CSAC found that students with dependent children faced expenses almost double those of nonparents. Another study found that 72 percent of independent students (which includes all students with dependent children) have unmet financial need after accounting for family contributions and grant aid (compared with 55 percent of dependent students).45, 46 Median debt among student parents enrolled in 2015–16 was more than two-and-a-half times higher than debt among students without children ($6,500 and $2,500, respectively), and these amounts were higher for single mothers.47
Barriers to Accessing Financial Aid
A significant barrier to financial aid in the state has been the age limit and time-out-of-high-school requirements to qualify for guaranteed Cal Grants. Most student parents are too old or graduated high school too long ago to receive a Cal Grant. Students who do not meet these criteria can still apply for competitive Cal Grants, but there are not enough of these awards to meet demand, and 92 percent of eligible students do not receive a competitive Cal Grant.48 However, the 2021 state budget eliminates these restrictions, which should be a major step forward for parents. Additionally, these Cal Grant recipients would also qualify for the supplemental access award for students with dependent children, a program created in 2020.49 The community colleges estimate that this change will provide access to grants for 133,000 additional students in the upcoming academic year.50
This progress builds off other recent moves by the state to enhance support for student parents including supplemental grant funding for students with dependent children attending public higher education institutions, enacted in the 2019–20 budget. According to CSAC, in 2019–20 there were over 25,000 of these grants paid out; of these awards, 74 percent went to students attending community colleges, 3 percent went to those attending CSU, and 23 percent went to those attending UC.51 While increasing financial aid awards for student parents is laudable, these data suggest that these awards reached only a small proportion of student parents enrolled (about 12%). Cal Grants are not the only state aid available to student parents, though. The Middle Class Scholarship program, which is not available to Cal Grant students, provides grants to students attending UC and CSU with family incomes below $191,000. In the release of the state budget the Governor and lawmakers announced that they plan to make changes to this program next year that will make Cal Grant recipients eligible for the grant and will allow recipients to use these grants for nontuition expenses. Lawmakers say that this expansion will close the gap between full cost of attendance and financial aid awards. Even so, unless cost of attendance calculations are changed to include daycare for student parents, this plan may still leave parents with some unmet need.52, 53, 54 Financial aid policies will need to continue evolving if they are to account for student parents’ total cost of college.
Other Barriers to Aid
The overly complicated application process to apply for financial aid, and the hurdles students face after they have applied, are also barriers for student parents. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is notoriously complicated and difficult to complete without assistance. Students entering college directly from high school may receive assistance completing the FAFSA from high school counselors, but students who enroll later do not have this resource available. Many adult students might not even be aware that they could qualify for aid or how to apply for it. A 2018 report found that one in seven college students eligible for aid never completed the FAFSA. The study also found a need for financial aid offices to provide student parents with additional information, as 75 percent of survey respondents reported that their financial aid office did not inform them that childcare expenses could be taken into account in the determination of their financial aid award.55 Having dependents and experiencing a change in employment can increase the complexity of the FAFSA calculations for parents. Additionally, the Department of Education typically requires a portion of students who qualify for student aid to provide additional documentation to verify their income through a process called verification, and the verification rate is higher for low-income students that qualify for a Pell Grant. Research has shown that between 11 percent and 25 percent of students that are targeted for verification never get the aid for which they are qualified.56, 57
Changes are on the way to simplify the FAFSA, including reducing the number and complexity of the questions, but the changes are being phased in and full simplification will not be implemented until 2024–25.58 Another positive development is a change to the FAFSA verification process to focus more on reducing identity theft and fraud and less on checking the submissions by students that qualify for aid.59 Recently California enacted a statue requiring high school seniors to complete the FAFSA, but strategies targeting adult and re-entry students are not as clear-cut.60 CSAC conducts an outreach campaign through Cash for College workshops that help prospective students understand what aid they may be qualified for and navigate the application process. The state needs to do more to expand outreach to student parents about financial aid availability. Since many student parents do not know about aid before enrolling, targeting students who are already enrolled is one strategy. Another option is to reach out to students through campus or campus-adjacent childcare centers or local K–12 schools. The creation of basic needs coordinator positions at colleges is a step in the right direction, but state and college officials need to continue to evolve strategies to reach student parents and guide them through the financial aid process.
Poor Communication on Student Rights
Federal law (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972) requires that student parents be given the necessary arrangements to successfully complete their program while pregnant or recovering from childbirth. However, the enforcement of these rules has been uneven and mixed throughout postsecondary institutions, and many students report that they face discrimination or inadequate services.61 In a recent survey, over half of student parents said they did not know whom to talk to if they thought they were being discriminated against because of their parenting status.62 In a survey of women of color at CSU, students shared that faculty and staff were sometimes unaware of students’ rights to parental leave.63 Greater awareness and more education about the needs and rights of student parents is necessary to ensure that these rights are protected. The state and institutions could provide funding for professional development so that all college personnel are aware of student parents’ rights. Additionally, the Title IX protections only cover students who are pregnant or recovering from childbirth and do not provide protections for parents of older children. The state should expand legal protections for student parents beyond the scope of Title IX to include parents of children of all ages.64
Increasing the educational attainment of student parents is vital to California’s future workforce and to enabling parents to provide a living wage for their families. Yet current policies and practices hamper their ability to succeed in higher education. Collecting and displaying data on student parents would help institutions and state and federal policy makers understand the challenges these students face and the support services that would aid their success. Institutions should incorporate parent friendly supports and policies including more childcare centers, family friendly housing, and flexible pathways that work with student parents’ challenging schedules. State and federal policy makers can help by modifying eligibility requirements for aid programs that account for the true cost of attendance for student parents and provide adequate support for additional expenses such as childcare. Holistically supporting parents as they complete their education will lead to better personal outcomes for students and their families and bolster the state’s economy by increasing the education level of the workforce.
1 California Competes. (2020). Clarifying the true cost of college for student parents. https://californiacompetes.org/resources/clarifying-the-true-cost-of-college-for-student-parents/
2 Aguilera, E. (2021, March 24). Thousands of child care centers shutter, spelling bad news for California. CalMatters. https://calmatters.org/children-and-youth/2021/03/child-care-centers-close/
3 For a state to meet the federal work rates, 50 percent of the families receiving TANF cash assistance must be engaged in a work activity for at least 30 hours a week (20 hours a week for single parents with children under age 6). Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. (2021). Policy basics: Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. https://www.cbpp.org/research/family-income-support/temporary-assistance-for-needy-families
4 Shaw, K.M., Goldrick-Rab, S., Mazzeo, C., & Jacobs, J. (2006). Putting poor people to work: How the work-first idea eroded college access for the poor. https://www.russellsage.org/publications/putting-poor-people-work-0
5 Shaw et al. (2006).
6 Urban Institute. (2012). Facilitating Postsecondary Education and Training for TANF Recipients. Brief #07. https://www.urban.org/sites/de…
7 The California Work Opportunity and Responsibility to Kids (CalWORKs) program is California’s version of the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. California Department of Social Services, CalWORKs Program Fact Sheet, 2018, https://www.cdss.ca.gov/Portals/9/CalWORKs/AccesibilityEdits_CW%20Program%20Fact%20Sheet%202018%20(002).pdf?ver=2018-12-03-121319-673
8 Requirements include: 20 core hours for single parents with a child under six; 30 hours, of which 20 are core hours for single parents with no child under six; and 35 hours, of which 30 are core hours for two-parent families. California Department of Social Services. (n.d.) TANF program work verification plan. https://www.cdss.ca.gov/CDSSWEB/entres/pdf/TANF_WorkVerificationPlan.pdf
9 California Department of Education. (n.d.). CalWORKs 2020-21 RFA instructions. https://www.cde.ca.gov/fg/fo/r17/cworks20ins.asp
10 Young Invincibles. (2019). Today’s students: A policy roadmap for student parents in California. https://younginvincibles.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/APolicyRoadmapforStudentParentsinCalifornia.pdf
11 Western Center on Law & Poverty. (2020). Addressing college student hunger in California: A whitepaper detailing efforts to date. https://wclp.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/CollegeHungerWhitePaper_Feb2020_Final.pdf
12 Gault, B., Reichlin Cruse, L., & Schumacher, R. (2019). Bridging systems for family economic mobility: Postsecondary and early education partnerships. Institute for Women’s Policy Research. https://iwpr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/C482_Bridging-Systems-report_5.24.2019_Final.pdf
13 Young Invincibles (2019).
14 Oakhurst Community College Center. (n.d.) Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE). https://www.oakhurstcenter.com/student-services/extended-opportunity-programs-and-services-eops/cooperative-agencies-resources-for-education.html
15 Dale, M. (2021, July 6). California’s child care union’s first labor contract guarantees raises, but “We don’t stop here,” providers say. LAist. https://laist.com/news/education/california-child-care-providers-united-first-contract-guarentees-raises-but-theres-more-to-accomplish
16 Child Care Law Center. (2016). Analysis and recommendations regarding the impact of SB3 on child care in California. http://childcarelaw.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/Child-Care-Law-Center-Legislative-Analysis-SB-3-Minimum-Wage-April-26-2016.pdf
17 Howard, J. (2018, April 25). The cost of childcare around the world. CNNhealth. https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/25/health/child-care-parenting-explainer-intl/index.html
18 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (n.d.) Net childcare costs. https://data.oecd.org/benwage/net-childcare-costs.htm
19 Reichlin Cruse, L., & Holtzman, T. (2021). Leveraging Head Start for student parent families: Federal and state policy opportunities (IWPR #C503). Institute for Women’s Policy Research. https://iwpr.org/wp-content/up…
20 Child Care Providers United. (2021, March 18). American Rescue Plan contains $3.8 billion lifeline for child care providers & frontline workers. https://childcareprovidersunited.org/news/american-rescue-plan-contains-3-8-billion-lifeline-for-child-care-providers-frontline-workers
21 California Assembly Bill 131, the child care budget trailer bill. California Governor’s Office. (2021). Governor Newsom signs nation-leading rent relief program for low-income tenants, eviction moratorium extension & additional legislation. https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/07/23/governor-newsom-signs-legislation-supporting-working-families-and-child-care-providers
22 California State Enacted Budget 2021–22, Higher Education Summary, http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2021-22/pdf/Enacted/BudgetSummary/K-12Education.pdf
23 US Government Accountability Office. (2018). Food insecurity: Better information could help eligible college students access federal food assistance benefits (GAO-19-95). https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-19-95.pdf
24 Allison, T. (2018). Rethinking SNAP benefits for college students. Young Invincibles. https://younginvincibles.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Rethinking_SNAP_benefits.pdf
25 Center for Law and Social Policy. (2021). Frequently asked questions about SNAP and students. https://www.clasp.org/publications/report/brief/frequently-asked-questions-about-snap-and-students
26 Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. (2020). States are using much-needed temporary flexibility in SNAP to respond to COVID-19 challenges. https://www.cbpp.org/research/food-assistance/states-are-using-much-needed-temporary-flexibility-in-snap-to-respond-to
27 Author’s analysis of data from California Department of Social Services. (n.d.). Policy guidance. https://www.cdss.ca.gov/inforesources/calfresh-resource-center/policy
28 The Century Foundation outlines several ways that more Californian institutions could qualify as a program that improves employability, including allowing all community college programs to qualify, identifying high demand fields, or allowing colleges to decide which of their programs improve employability. Granville, P. (2020). Pathways to simplify and expand SNAP access for California college students. The Century Foundation. https://tcf.org/content/report/pathways-simplify-expand-snap-access-california-college-students
29 College student who receive TANF-funded benefits can be exempt from the work requirement, and Cal Grants are partly funded by TANF. US Government Accountability Office (2018).
30 Legislative Analyst’s Office. (2013). Other budget issues, TANF and SLOF adjustments for Cal Grant program. https://lao.ca.gov/Recommendations/Details/713
31 California Student Aid Commission. (2018). Cal Grant program award notification. https://www.csac.ca.gov/sites/main/files/file-attachments/2017-18_calfresh_notification.pdf
32 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act, H.R. 133, § 702(e), 116th Cong. (2020). https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/133/text/enr
33 Granville, P. (2021). Congress made 3 million college students newly eligible for SNAP food aid. Here’s what must come next. The Century Foundation. https://tcf.org/content/commentary/congress-made-3-million-college-students-newly-eligible-snap-food-aid-heres-must-come-next
34 Internal Revenue Service. (2021). IRS, Treasury announces families of 88 percent of children in the U.S. to automatically receive monthly payment of refundable Child Tax Credit (IRS-2021-133). https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/irs-treasury-announce-families-of-88-percent-of-children-in-the-us-to-automatically-receive-monthly-payment-of-refundable-child-tax-credit
35 Marr, C., Cox, K., Hingtgen, S., Windham, K., & Sherman, A. (2021). American Rescue Plan Act includes critical expansions of Child Tax Credit and EITC. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/american-rescue-plan-act-includes-critical-expansions-of-child-tax-credit-and
36 U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). CARES Act: Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ope/caresact.html
37 California Governor’s Office. (2021). Governor Newsom signs nation-leading rent relief program for low-income tenants, eviction moratorium extension & additional legislation. https://www.gov.ca.gov/2021/06/28/governor-newsom-signs-nation-leading-rent-relief-program-for-low-income-tenants-eviction-moratorium-extension-additional-legislation
38 California State Enacted Budget 2021-22, Higher Education Summary, http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2021-22/pdf/Enacted/BudgetSummary/K-12Education.pdf
39 Huelsman, M. & Engle, J. (2013). Student parents and financial aid. Institute for Women’s Policy Research. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED556730.pdf
40 Kelchen, R. (2015). Exploring the topic of indirect costs to today’s higher education students. American Council on Education. https://www.acenet.edu/Documents/Quick-Hits-Indirect-Costs.pdf
41 Dancy, K., & Fishman, R. (2021). More than tuition: Opening the door to greater transparency and helpful oversight to ensure students can afford college. New America. https://www.newamerica.org/education-policy/edcentral/more-than-tuition-10
42 Turner, C., & Nadworny, E. (2020, June 19). Education Dept. is making it harder for colleges to boost student aid during crisis. National Public Radio. https://www.npr.org/2020/06/19/879633830/education-dept-is-making-it-harder-for-colleges-to-boost-student-aid-during-cris
43 Alvarado, M.J., & Navarette, L. (2020, May 8). Updated Student Expense Resource Survey (SEARS) data (ES 20-19). California Community College Chancellor’s Office. https://www.mtsac.edu/president/cabinet-notes/2020-21/11-nov/1g_1_Updates_on_SEARS_Data.pdf
44 Wladis, C., Hachey, A. C., & Conway, K. (2018). No time for college? An investigation of time poverty and parenthood. The Journal of Higher Education, 89(6), 807-831. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00221546.2018.1442983
45 Reed, S., Grosz, M., Kurlaender, M., & Cooper, S. (2021). A portrait of student parents in the California Community Colleges. UC Davis Wheelhouse: The Center for Community College Leadership and Research. https://education.ucdavis.edu/sites/main/files/wheelhouse_research_brief_vol_6_no_2_v2.pdf
46 Reichlin Cruse, L., Eckerson, E., & Gault, B. (2018). Understanding the new college majority: The demographic and financial characteristics of independent students and their postsecondary outcomes (IWPR #C462). Institute for Women’s Policy Research. https://iwpr.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/C462_Understanding-the-New-College-Majority_final.pdf
47 Reichlin Cruse, L., Holtzman, T., Gault, B., Croom, D., & Polk, P. (n.d.). Parents in college: By the numbers. Institute for Women’s Policy Research. https://iwpr.org/iwpr-issues/student-parent-success-initiative/parents-in-college-by-the-numbers. Results are from an analysis of the 2015–16 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS). NPSAS is a nationally representative sample of data from approximately 2,000 institutions.
48 Rose, A. (2019). Demand for competitive Cal Grants far exceeds supply. California Budget & Policy Center. https://calbudgetcenter.org/resources/demand-for-competitive-cal-grants-far-exceeds-supply
49 The budget also restores Cal Grant eligibility for students impacted by a change in their living situation due to the pandemic. California State Budget, Higher Education Summary, http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2021-22/pdf/Enacted/BudgetSummary/HigherEducation.pdf
50 California Community College Chancellor’s Office. (2021). Joint analysis: Enacted 2021–22 Budget. https://www.cccco.edu/-/media/CCCCO-Website/College-Finance-and-Facilities/Budget-News/July-2021/joint-analysis-enacted-budget-2021-22-a11y.pdf
51 These awards represent a combination of Cal Grants A, B and C. Data provided through internal communication from CSAC staff 7-6-2021, criteria for the award are that Dependent children must be under 18 years of age and receive more than 50 percent of their support from the student. Mistler, C.G. (2019). Update from the California Student Aid Commission: 2019–20 Cal Grant awards for students with dependent children (GSA-2019-34). https://www.csac.ca.gov/sites/main/files/file-attachments/gsa_2019-34.pdf
52 California State Assembly. (2021). Floor report of the 2021–22 budget. https://abgt.assembly.ca.gov/sites/abgt.assembly.ca.gov/files/Floor%20Report%20of%20the%202021-22%20Budget%20-%20%28June%2028%2C%202021%20Version%29.pdf
53 California State Budget, Higher Education Summary, http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/2021-22/pdf/Enacted/BudgetSummary/HigherEducation.pdf
54 Granville, P. (2021). Cal Grant deal kick-starts long, necessary journey to equitable reform. The Century Foundation. https://tcf.org/content/commentary/cal-grant-deal-kick-starts-long-necessary-journey-equitable-reform/
55 Ferguson, H. T. (2020). Report on student parents’ experiences highlights lack of support in higher ed. National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators. https://www.nasfaa.org/news-item/21985/Report_on_Student_Parents_Experiences_Highlights_Lack_of_Support_in_Higher_Ed
56 Carrns, A. (2021, January 29). Changes in FAFSA may reduce college aid for some families. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/29/your-money/fafsa-changes-college-aid.html
57 DeBaun, B. (2021). FAFSA verification remains a hurdle for students: Here’s what we know. National College Attainment Network. https://micollegeaccess.org/news/fafsa-verification
58 Gravely, A. (2021, June 14). FAFSA simplification delayed by 1 year. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2021/06/14/fafsa-simplification-delayed-1-year
59 Gravely, A. (2021, July 14). Federal aid verification will be more targeted for 2021–22 award year. Inside Higher Ed. https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2021/07/14/federal-aid-verification-will-be-more-targeted-2021-22-award-year
60 Replogle, J. (2021, July 16). California high school seniors will soon be required to apply for financial aid for college. LAist. https://laist.com/news/education/fafsa-requirement-california-high-school-seniors-graduation
61 California Competes (2020).
62 Lewis, N.L., & Haynes, D. (2020). National student-parent survey results & recommendations: Uncovering the student-parent experience and its impact on college success. Generation Hope. https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5ed7f7e97e1c361545410fe4/t/5fb8799dad29aa2b428e74f3/1605925281914/GH_%23StudentParentSuccess+Report_Final.pdf
63 Education Trust-West. (2020). Hear my voice II: Supporting success for parenting and unhoused women of color. https://edtrustmain.s3.us-east-2.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2017/11/28074717/etw-hear-my-voice-II-supporting-success-for-Parenting-and-Unhoused-Women-of-Color-report-final.pdf
64 Huelsman and Engle (2013).