Ascend Higher Education and 2Gen Survey
This survey may take between 15-20 minutes to complete.
Introduction to the Ascend Higher Education and 2Gen Survey

This tool is designed to help colleges and universities’ governing boards, administrators, directors of support services and student parent organizations, faculty, researchers, students, partners, funders, and local government leaders to deepen their understanding of of two-generation policies and practices. A 2Gen approach in higher education can include providing student parents with childcare and family-support services, designing academic and college life and career pathways for their unique needs, and offering them a “family friendly” campus. These innovations help student parents to improve their education and economic achievement while simultaneously enhancing their children’s development and opportunities. And they help institutions to improve their own high-priority outcomes: increased access to higher education, student retention, and completion of degrees and certificates, particularly by low-income students.

This survey is based on the promising practices, policies, and programs implemented by a number of postsecondary institutions and on lessons learned by researchers, policymakers, and thought-leaders in the field. It allows users to compare their thinking and actions with what is being tried across the U.S., and perhaps will inspire them to try new things.

Your responses to each item will be kept confidential. But data from all respondents will be aggregated and used to help Ascend and its partners develop useful information, tools, and other products and services for colleges following a 2Gen path.

Background: Higher Education and 2Gen

At least 26 percent of undergraduate students in the U.S. are parents with dependent children. According to various studies, these student parents are much more likely than other students to be women, single, people of color, and to have low-incomes. Single mother students are more likely to be survivors of domestic violence. Student parents are more likely to be the first in their immediate family to attend college and more likely to have attended inadequate high schools. As these student parents balance the competing demands of family, work, and education, they tend to incur higher levels of debt to pay for their education and, most important, are much less likely that the general student population to complete a certificate or degree program within six years of enrollment. In sum, student parents face unique and daunting challenges as they pursue postsecondary education

Research shows that a 2Gen approach can make a difference in student parent outcomes. For instance, there is strong connection between a mother’s level of education and her child’s success in school. And in a recent study, student parents with access to on-campus child care had much higher success rates than the general student population.

Large majorities of Americans recognize the value of 2 Gen approaches in post-secondary education. In a 2014 poll commissioned by Ascend, 84 percent favored including child care expenses in determining financial aid eligibility for low-income students with young children. And 71 percent favored allowing workforce training and education programs beyond high school to count as part of the 20-hour weekly work requirement for government programs.
Please enter your name *

Your job title *

Your organization's name *

Organization location *

Street Address, City, State, Zip Code. Please also note state/province, tribe, or nation.
Awareness of Students as Parents

Growing attention to the demographics of student enrollments reveals not only the number of students who are parents, but also the ways that their college experiences and needs differ from those of other students. This section identifies the type of information that some institutions have been collecting and analyzing so they can get a better handle on the size and needs of their student parent population and how best to serve these students.
Does the college collect and analyze data (not just anecdotes) to find out which of its enrolled students (part- and full-time) are parents?

Does the college have the following data breakdowns about the college's student parents?

% who are enrolled full-time or part- time

% who are enrolled in degree, certificate, or other program

% of parents who are single or married

# of dependent children they have

% who have a part-time or full-time job, or more than 1 part-time job

% with incomes below 200 percent of poverty level

% who have student loans to repay

If the college offers summer or after-school programs for children in your community...

Do you know the educational needs or status of their parents?

Do you know what percentage of the children served have parents who are in post-secondary education or are enrolled in the college?

If the college has partnerships with or provides support to local HeadStart, Pre-K, K-12 schools/programs...

Do you know the educational needs or status of their parents?

Do you know what percentage of the children served have parents who are in post-secondary education or are enrolled in the college?

If the college offers GED or Adult Basic Education courses...

Do you know the parental status of these students?

In the past 2-3 years how has the college’s completion rate (within 6 years) by student parents compared with the general student population:

What methods has the college used to obtain information from student parents about their needs as parents?

Child Care Options and Quality 

Large percentages of student-parents, especially single parents, need child care services so they can attend classes and study. But they routinely report that it’s difficult, sometimes impossible, to find reliable, on-campus or close by, safe, and affordable child care, not to mention finding child care that includes a strong early education component and emergency child care for those unforeseeable and typically short times when it’s critically needed.
Which of the following does the college provide for student parents?

Provide on-campus child care service

Facilitate access to off-campus child care providers (e.g., provide subsidies/grants, help with accessing public benefits)

Provide referrals to off-campus child care providers

What standards does the college apply to child care services that it provides, facilitates, or refers to for its student parents?

Does the college subsidize the cost of child care, either on-campus or an off-campus referral?

Do you know what percentage of on-campus child care is reserved for the children of students?

What percentage of on-campus child care is reserved for the children of students?

Only enter the number without the %.
Does the college know what the current waiting list (in days and/or # of people) is for...

On-campus child care

Off-campus partners in child care

Does the college provide on-campus emergency child care for student parents with unexpected problems?

Does the college have any plans to...

Provide or expand on-campus child care

Expand the number of child care providers with whom it has partnering relationships

Provide/expand on-campus emergency child care

Family-Support Services 

Research has established the benefits of family-oriented support services and identified a key to the success of these services: providing an integrated network of academic, social, and financial supports. In other words, it’s important to support the student-parent with family development services in addition to the more common student services. Some colleges use a centralized “one stop” approach such as an on-campus Family Resources Center to coordinate and deliver these services.
Does the college provide any of these family-oriented services to student parents:

Help finding child care services

Help accessing social services and public benefits

On-campus case management

Financial coaching

Financial literacy programs

Assistance obtaining affordable housing

Emergency aid or vouchers

When it comes to family-support services provided for student parents...

Are all of the services free of charge

Are they delivered from a central office, like a Family Services Center

Are they available after 5 p.m. or on the weekend

Are members of the student parent’s family also eligible to obtain the services

Are student parents taking GED or Adult Basic Education courses able to access these services

Please describe the steps has the college taken to ensure that student parents know about the availability of the family-support services.

Does the college...

Help student parents to form peer-learning communities in which they take courses together, experience college life together, and support each other with peer tutoring and peer advice on personal problems

Provide low-income student parents with performance-based scholarships

Provide small grants to entry-level low-income student parents to help with initial financial burden

Education/Career Pathways Designed for Student Parents 

Although student-parents typically pursue the same types of credentials and degrees as general enrollment students, there are a number of ways that colleges may provide them with customized support.
Does the college...

Help the student parent develop an educational plan tailored to their family situation, interests, and education/skills they will develop

Provide a career coach for each student who helps them set goals and career plans, serves as a mentor and advocate, and works with family- support staff

Help prospective employers of student parents anticipate the workplace needs of these employees and how to increase the chance that they will succeed in the workplace

Partner with local employers and workforce development organizations to recruit student- parents into particularly well-suited career pathways

Provide a fast track to a workforce program that leads to available jobs with higher wages, benefits, and opportunities for advancement, while providing early education for their children

Provide work-study and educational opportunities for student parents that are meaningfully connected to their career pathways

Provide dual credit programs or early college high school programs

A “Family Friendly” College: Policies, Culture, and Partnering 

As student parents engage in community college life, they encounter the college's policies, culture, and partners, which may or may not be attentive to their unique situation and needs. Some community colleges have instituted reviews and strategies for ensuring that every aspect of the way the organization serves student parents has been designed to be as supportive as possible.
Does the college...

Reviewed its policies and practices, to eliminate those that reduce the likelihood that student- parents will complete a degree

Reviewed its prerequisites and number of credits required for graduation to ensure they are relevant to the student parents’ education and career paths

Tailored attendance policies to allow for children’s emergencies and other realities of parenthood (e.g., inflexible workplace schedules) that may make it difficult for student parents to consistently meet college standards

Offered in-home or child care center academic tutoring for student parents at hours they designate

Recognized the financial needs of student parents beyond the current formulas for financial aid, including the potential for small, unforeseen financial hardships that could force student parents to abandon education

Offered flexible class scheduling designed to allow student parents to set up a standard schedule when they have to be on campus and need childcare

Offered student parents ways to accelerate their studies such as (a) integrating career-related learning into basic skills courses and accelerated developmental (remedial) courses and (b) summer courses that include an education-oriented summer camp for their children

Partnered with local transportation providers to ensure student parents have convenient access to campus

Partnered with state human services agencies to improve and expand students’ eligibility for and access to free screening for multiple government benefits and assistance in applying for benefits

Partnered with Head Start and other early-learning organizations to ensure parents have access to quality early child care and education that is convenient or on-campus.

Partnered with local organizations to provide student parents with computers to support distance learning.

Offered year-round financial aid plans for certificate and other programs

Included a student parent’s transportation needs when calculating financial aid and allow childcare as an expense

Developed relationships with K-12 schools in which student parents have their children enrolled, to track the progress of those children-students and provide assistance as needed

When it comes to building a family-friendly organization culture, does the college...

Have ways for student parents to give voice to their unique needs and concerns and to get responses from college leaders

Provide special training/information for faculty and services staff to ensure they create a hospitable environment (through comments and action) for student parents, especially single mothers

Work with faculty and services staff to ensure they understand the signs of domestic violence and know how to help, as part of an effort to raise campus awareness about domestic violence

Evaluate the college's support systems and policies for student parents so that its efforts can be expanded and improved

Help student parents integrate into college life by providing student success courses that prepare students for rigors of college life and teach time- management skills, basic skills, study skills, and college-going strategies

If your organization has assessed its policies and programs to identify and address gender and/or racial and ethnic inequities, please describe how this was been done and what changes/improvements it resulted in.

To assess the effectiveness of its 2Gen efforts what indicators does the college monitor? If none, please enter that below.

For each item below indicate your level of interest:

Participating in an Ascend webinar series of 2Gen in higher education*

Obtaining a reading list about 2Gen in higher education

Learning more about how to make the case for undertaking 2Gen in higher education

Designing a 2Gen in higher education learning process for your organization

Learning more about how to build partnerships with other organizations that can help your organization advance a 2Gen approach

Learning more about how to assess outcomes/impacts of 2Gen programs and policies

If you have any additional comments or suggestions, please enter them below.

May we contact you by e-mail to follow up on your responses?

Thank you for completing the survey!  You are one step closer to joining the Ascend Network.

*To complete the registration process and have access to Ascend 2Gen Connect, an online, password protected directory, please click the button below and click "Register" to set up your profile. 
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