Jennifer Lewis said she could have graduated two years ago from Malcolm X College in Chicago but took time off after having her son.
Now the single mother said she would not finish her nursing studies at Malcolm X College until 2016.
“My son is the greatest thing that ever happened to me and I do not regret having him for one second,” she said. “But in looking back I should have waited to have my child until I finished school.”
Lewis was among the 4.8 million college students with dependent children in 2012, according to a recent report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The report was released recently in conjunction with “Lumina Ideas Summit: New Models of Student Financial Support.
The report, “College Affordability for Low-Income Adults: Improving Returns on Investments for Families and Society,” also found that black, female college students are more likely than other college students to have dependent children (nearly half at 47 percent) of black female students, 39.4 percent of Native-American female students, and 31.6 percent of Latina students are mothers.
Additionally women—who are 71 percent of all student parents—are disproportionately likely to be balancing college and parenthood, many without the support of a spouse or partner. And being a student parent is associated with higher levels of unmet financial need, low levels of college completion, and higher levels of debt upon graduation.