BGSU Firelands student Viviana Robinson reads to her daughter, Catalina, in the new study lounge for parents on campus.

BGSU Firelands increases student parent support with family friendly study lounge

The college continues to invest in its student parent population with a newly renovated study lounge that lets parents work while their children play.

BGSU Firelands student Essence Byrd plays with her daughter, Azariah McCracken, in the new study lounge for parents on campus.

By Patrick Pfanner

Bowling Green State University Firelands is building on its longstanding support of student parents with a newly renovated study lounge.

The lounge, at 101 George Mylander Hall, recently opened and offers a secluded location where student parents can study and play with their children on campus.

“I love knowing I can go there with my daughter if I need to study, do homework and not fall behind,” BGSU Firelands student Essence Byrd said.

The room has multiple play areas — toys and games included — in addition to a large couch, worktable, printer, TV and a children's book collection provided by the BGSU Firelands Library, among other amenities.

BGSU Firelands committed more resources to the student parent experience after the U.S. Department of Education awarded BGSU the Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) grant in 2021. The grant provides funds to help pay for quality child care.

“Our student parent support program was built on best practices from peer institutions and national groups that specialize in research and policy for student parents,” said Stacey Hartley, the student parent program director at BGSU Firelands. “One best practice is to ensure the campus is family friendly. This means creating policy and spaces to welcome student parents with their children. Thanks to the generous support of area individuals and foundations, we were able to dedicate a family friendly study lounge for student parents.”

BGSU is answering the need to provide balance and support to students who are parents working to pursue higher education. Hartley said a significant portion of undergraduate students in the U.S. are parents. For many, the juggling act between parenting, employment and education represents a major barrier to degree completion. Low-income student parents face additional challenges.

“Colleges that focus on their student parent population can collaborate with them to identify and overcome many of these barriers,” Hartley said. “We aspire to help student parents complete their degree, achieve their educational and career goals, and fulfill their dream of a better life for their family.”

Whether it’s with clothing drives, social events or connecting resources, the college’s efforts are making a difference.

“BGSU Firelands made a strong statement of support when they opened a space for families,” student parent Viviana Robinson said. “That dedicated space is having a positive impact on my college experience. It connects to the celebration of diversity I’m learning about in the Inclusive Early Childhood Education program.”

A recent child care study commissioned by Firelands Forward — a partner group to the Erie County Economic Development Corp., a workforce development organization in the Firelands region — illustrates a connection between child care and the local workforce.

A new study lounge for student parents recently opened at BGSU Firelands. The lounge offers a secluded and fun environment for student parents to interact with their children while on campus.

“Access to high-quality, reliable, affordable child care is important for parents to be successful at work or in school,” Hartley said. “While there is financial support for child care from the state and county, the income threshold for families to qualify is quite low, and that can be a problem for many of our student parents.”

That’s where the CCAMPIS grant and BGSU Firelands can make a sizable impact. Hartley said most of the student parents at BGSU Firelands have jobs, which can make them ineligible for assistance from the state or county.

“The CCAMPIS grant can assist families caught in the affordability gap,” Hartley said. “It’s a major win when we can help a student. A win for a student parent is a win for their children, their employer and their community.”

Learn more about CCAMPIS and student parent support at BGSU Firelands on the student parent webpage.

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Media Contact | Michael Bratton | | 419-372-6349

Updated: 03/06/2023 01:53PM