Parents represent a significant share of Boise State’s student body, and now the university is making life on campus a little easier for those students. A new space, the Family Study Room, recently opened in Albertsons Library for student-parents and their children under the age of 12. The space features computers, toys, books and more.
The space is the first of its kind on campus and has already earned positive comments.
One student-parent wrote, “I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the [study room]. This is the first effort I have seen supporting the adult learner. It has always felt like resources are geared towards traditional freshmen. It is hard to feel included when our families are not. Thank you for your efforts and support.”
Another wrote, “I was overjoyed to see something like this established on campus. Thank you for your research and work into addressing a real problem. This has an impact way beyond four walls.”
Student-parents and unique challenges
A report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that as of 2012, 4.8 million independent college students – or 26% of students in higher education – had their own dependent children. 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.
Research at Boise State by Associate Professor Kelsey Keyes found that the number of student parents at Boise State is even higher than national averages. Boise State seniors also spend significantly more time caring for dependents than students at peer institutions (9.4 hours compared to 6.3 hours per week).
Parenting students face numerous challenges. Being a parenting student affects university attrition rates. Fifty-three percent 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.
By creating space specifically for student parents to use, Albertsons Library is contributing to increasing retention rates, Keyes said.
The Family Study Room is located in Room 110 on the first floor of the library. A student parent must have their child with them when they check out the key for the study room. Children must be supervised at all times. Student parents can reserve the room online and pick up a key to access the room at Access Services. Contact Kelsey Keyes at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.