Universities are increasingly recognizing the need to develop services for students with dependent children. Research has shown that parenting inhibits post-secondary education in a number of ways.

Student parents are more likely to interrupt their studies or drop out altogether; the have more stress and role strain than traditional students; they frequently experience isolation and social exclusion; and they are faced with additional financial challenges including lower family income a lack of fit with loan systems designed for traditional students, and less time to pay off student debt and save for their own retirement. These factors are particularly severe for single parents. Such barriers impact the standard of living not just of student parents, but their children as well.

Moreover, student parents constitute a significant part of university populations. They comprise roughly 14% of post-secondary students (that amounts to approximately 6000 students at Concordia), around 70% of whom are women, and many single mothers. Concordia’s Dean of Students, Elizabeth Morey, has established one of the most comprehensive services for student parents in Canadian universities – the Concordia University Student Parents Centre (CUSP).

In this proposal, the Concordia University Student Parents Centre (CUSP) applied for funds to maintain a full-time co-ordinator who can keep the Centre open and functioning. CUSP’s current funding was from the CCSL, and was to expire in May 2010. The centre had hired a co-ordinator on either part- or full-time basis, since June 2009. CUSP sought a stipend to fund the co-ordinator, who could continue to provide these essential services to Concordia`s student parents.

Years funded: 2009-10

Amount allocated: $20,001.00

Project leader: Kristy Heeran

E-mail: cusp@concordia.ca

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