Skip to main content

New family study room now open for use in Albertsons Library

Colorful room with rocking chair and children's toys and books

Albertsons Library now has a new Family Study Room available to use. The Family Study Room is located in Room 110 on the first floor of the Library. The Family Study Room is a fully-equipped new study space intended for use by student parents who need to use the library while accompanied by their young children

The Family Study Room provides two computers (one Mac, one PC) for student use. The Family Study Room also contains numerous toys, books and other activities appropriate for younger children.

The Family Study Room is intended for use by student parents accompanied by their children under the age of 12. A student parent must have their child with them when they check out the key for the study room. Children in the Family Study Room must be supervised by their guardian at all times. Student parents can reserve the room online and pick up a key to access the room at Access Services.

Student parents are a significant population on university campuses. A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research analyzing federal education data (gathered by the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics) found that “as of 2012, 4.8 million independent college students had their own dependent children,” that means 26% of higher education students have dependents. Research done at Boise State by Associate Professor Kelsey Keyes suggests that the number of student parents at Boise State University is even higher than national averages.

The IWPR found that women make up 71 percent of all student parents, and roughly 2 million students, or 43 percent of the total student parent population, are single mothers. In addition, the 26% of students trying to balance a college workload with parenthood are disproportionately more likely to be low-income, first-generation college students, and/or underrepresented students (i.e. African American, American Indian, and Hispanic/Latino). Thus, supporting student parents coincides with ongoing university efforts to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Photo of librarian Kelsey with her children, reading a book in the library's family room

Parenting students face numerous challenges in successfully completing their studies and being a parenting student directly affects university attrition rates: 53% of parents compared to 31% of nonparents left college after six years without a degree. Attrition rates are even worse for low-income parenting students: they are 25% less likely to earn a degree than low-income students without children.

Research suggests that when student parents feel unwelcome on campus, or feel that they aren’t meeting expectations, they feel forced to reduce the demands on their time, which too often means dropping out of school. An additional survey found 42% of single parenting students said that their parenting responsibilities would make it likely or very likely that they would have to stop attending college. Boise State seniors spend significantly more time caring for dependents than students at peer institutions (9.4 hours compared to 6.3 hours per week). By creating space specifically for student parents to use, Albertsons Library is contributing to increasing retention rates.

Supporting student parents can have a positive multi-generational impact. Multiple sources have found that a child’s future educational achievement is most likely to mirror that of their mothers’ and that when parents balance achieving educational goals, such as completing college, they are serving as positive role models for their children. IWPR research agrees, stating that parenting students’ education benefits both students and the children they parent and that a parents’ education has many lasting economic and educational benefits for children.

Establishing the FSR is an important, necessary step toward supporting the significant student parent community at Boise State University. This project also supports Boise State University’s strategic plan, particularly Goal 1.1: “Create and enact a comprehensive, strategic enrollment and student success plan, including components related to supporting the whole student, recruitment, retention, graduation, and addressing equity gaps”; Goal 3.1: “Provide the physical space, policies, information systems, technology, budgetary and human resources to sustain and grow research and creative activities”; and Goal 4.1: “Advance a learning and working environment dedicated to the flourishing, sense of belonging, and freedom of expression among all students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the university.”

By creating a Family Study Room, Albertsons Library is working to support parenting students’ ability to balance school and family, and ultimately successfully complete their studies.

If you have any questions, comments or suggestions regarding the Family Study Room, please reach out to kelseykeyes@boisestate.edu

Kelsey Keyes,
Associate Professor/Librarian