Having a baby isn’t the end

It’s hard being a college student.

It’s even harder being a parent and a college student at the same time. But for some people, this is the reality. Take it or leave it.

You need an education to get ahead. Students with children and no economic support from their family still deserve the same opportunities to get that education as anyone else. If anything, they need it more because they have another life depending on them.

Providing a scholarship or grant to these students, as the Stater reported the Ohio Board of Regents is considering, is a great idea.

Paying for school is a financial hardship for many families. This becomes especially true when you factor in things such as childcare and diapers. Student parents must work not just to pay the school bills, but also to pay for these necessary expenses. Working more decreases the amount of time they have not only to study and attend classes, but also to spend with their children.

Some women who have children during high school or college see it as the end of their educational opportunities. In fact, David Creamer, vice president of administration at Kent State, has said students with families are not commonplace here. Mark Evans, director of financial aid, said this new proposal would affect only a few hundred students across the Kent State system. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

An education is something everyone has a right to, and higher education shouldn’t be kept from people who choose to have children at a young age. However, money is always a factor. Any way the state and universities can encourage and aid students with children in overcoming this issue benefits not only the people and their families, but also the students who share their classrooms and are given the chance to learn from their life experiences.

With the proposed voucher program, funded by Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, full-time student parents would receive up to $1,200 per year; part-time students would receive $600. Although this will by no means pay for an education, it will help put that goal within reach of many who otherwise couldn’t afford the expense.

Offering these students an extra financial incentive is a step toward a better future not only for them and their children, but also for Ohio. They’ll get better jobs, make money and consequently be able to contribute more to the economy. They won’t have to rely as much or at all on public assistance programs just to get by.

At a time when the state has been cutting funds for education and fewer students are receiving aid, we believe the decision to go forward with this program is the right one.

It’s win-win for everybody. The universities enroll more students, the students and their families have better life chances, and the other students get to benefit from another perspective in the classroom.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.