At the ASI Board of Directors meeting on May 5, 2021, the Board of Directors voted to pass the resolution calling for the CSU system to Support Students with Dependents Through Formalized Data Collection. This resolution asks the CSU system to conduct formalized data collection on students with dependents to improve retention and graduation rates.
This resolution results from the board’s recognition of the limited information on the students with dependents in the CSU system. Estimates from the CSU Chancellor’s Office cited that 5.6% of undergraduate students reported living with dependent children, while 17.3% of post-baccalaureate students reported living with dependent children in 2020. However, these estimates are self-reported and could overlook students who did not report dependents on their initial applications or those who became primary caregivers, guardians, or parents after their initial applications.
The CSU system also recently created the Graduation Initiative (GI) 2025, a plan to increase graduation rates and eliminate equity gaps in degree completion by collecting data and providing resources for underrepresented minorities. However, despite evidence that only about 8% of students with dependents will graduate with an associate’s or bachelor’s degree within six years, students with dependents were not included in the GI 2025.
This resolution, therefore, calls upon the CSU system to include student parents as a recognized group needing additional support. In addition, the board also urges the CSU system to create a comprehensive data collection program to increase retention and graduation rates among students with dependents. The approved resolution was sent to administrators at Cal Poly and the CSU Chancellor’s Office, including CSU Chancellor, Joseph I. Castro, Director of Student Programs at California State University, Ray Murillo, University President, Jeffrey D. Armstrong, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Keith Humphrey, and Cal Poly Dean of Students, Joy Pederson.
The ASI Board of Directors hopes that bringing attention to this often-overlooked population of students will help provide support and resources for student parents to increase their graduation and retention rates. Student Ashlee Hernandez shares her support for the resolution stating that “student parents manage multiple duties before they even step foot in a classroom and deserve visibility. It’s not until all student identities have a seat at the table that we will achieve a truly equitable institution. This resolution is just one step in that direction.”