Navigating Pregnancy as a College Student – Choice Clinic Life Resource Center

Pursuing a college degree is certainly challenging enough, so the thought of adding pregnancy into the mix can be particularly daunting. Although you may think you have to put your educational aspirations on hold, that isn’t the case for everyone. There are many factors to consider and so many resources available for pregnant and parenting students. This new season of life likely brings many questions, so let’s take a look at some of the most commonly asked ones:

  • Can I be denied college entry because of my pregnancy or parenting status? What about sports teams or extracurriculars? Do I have to quit those?
    • No! Under Title IX, which is a federal law, educational institutions that receive federal funding cannot exclude students from their institution because of their pregnancy or parenting status.  Title IX also applies to extracurriculars and sports teams as well. So, while your coach may request medical clearance from your healthcare provider, they cannot force you to quit playing simply because you are pregnant. If you are ever discriminated against for your pregnancy status, make sure you contact your school’s Title IX coordinator for support.
  • Can I still live in my dorm while I’m pregnant?
    • Yes! You cannot be forced to move out of your dorm room because of your pregnancy. Once you have your baby, however, you will likely have to relocate. Many campuses offer family housing for students who are parents, so always reach out to your institution’s housing department to see what options are available to you.
  • College alone is already really expensive; how do I pay for everything?
    • There are quite a few options in place when it comes to paying for higher education. First, make sure you have submitted a scholarship application for scholarships offered by your institution. Many schools have specific scholarships that are awarded to pregnant and parenting students, so be sure to contact your program’s scholarship office to get information on how to apply for these.
    •  Additionally, make sure you submit and update your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid). Even if you do not want to take out student loans, as a parenting student, you may qualify for grants (financial aid that you don’t have to pay back!). You may also qualify for Federal Work Study, where you are able to work an on-campus job and receive financial aid for it. Many institutions also have part-time and full-time on-campus jobs with flexible hours that will allow you to earn an income around your busy schedule.
  • I’m worried about affording food and personal items for me and my baby, where can I go?
    • For groceries and necessities, check if your institution or community has a food pantry. Most on-campus housing options also come with a meal plan that may be covered by financial aid. For other resources for you and your baby and for information to help you with your pregnancy, reach out to a local pregnancy care center in your community if you have one! They often have diapers, formula, and clothes, and offer pregnancy and parenting classes. For the resources offered by Choices, see here.
  • I feel so alone, I don’t know anyone who has ever graduated college while parenting. Is this common?
    • Although it can feel like you are alone, know you never are! Did you know that over 1 in 5 undergraduate students are parents? That equates to roughly 22% of students being parents. Of that number, roughly 70% of parenting students are mothers and 30% are fathers. There are millions of students just like you, with the same struggles and the same questions. You are not alone!

Completing your educational goals while navigating pregnancy and parenting will certainly be challenging at times, but it will also be incredibly rewarding. Always reach out to support offices for your institution. You never know what resources your school may have until you ask! Know that you are never alone, and even if it takes you a little longer, you are capable of pursuing your education and being an amazing parent too.