Supporting student parents in HE

This research project investigated the role of higher education institution policies in supporting student parents in England. It focused on:

  • What support is made available to student parents in higher education?
  • Which issues face student parents?
  • How relevant and effective are these policies in supporting the needs of diverse groups of student parents?

The study developed ten case studies of English universities, by analysing policy statements and conducting interviews with student parents and staff. In total, 40 student parents and 20 members of staff were interviewed.

Main findings

The study concluded that students with children are not getting the support they need to succeed in higher education. While student parents are a growing presence in higher education, national and university policies continue to address the needs of students as if they had no caring responsibilities.

However, there was also some variation between universities, with some offering some extensive provision for student parents and reviewing their policies on the basis of how this group would be affected.

Recommendations from the study will be disseminated to practitioners and policy-makers so that findings can translate into practices.