YSU Becomes More Inclusive for Student Parents

The average college students today are much different from who they were a few decades ago. Youngstown State University is home to many nontraditional students who want to make their dreams of obtaining a college degree a reality, just like the rest of the “traditional” student body.

YSU’s website states:

“A non-traditional student is anyone who satisfies one or more of the following conditions: 25 years or older, assumes multiple life roles such as a parent, spouse/partner, full time employee, caregiver and student, returns to school after taking a break and/or an active, reserve or veteran of the military.”

According to YSU’s total preliminary 14th day enrollment age distribution statistics in fall 2018, 2,513 of the 12,696 students enrolled were over the age of 25. That was 19.79% of the student body.

Those statistics only accounted for age and not the other factors embodied in undergraduate students, including parenting students.

Kimberlee Avery, associate director of admissions at YSU, said it is difficult to produce statistics on all nontraditional students.

“We don’t collect any data on the application if the student is a parent and there are different definitions/criteria on who is considered a nontraditional student,” Avery said in an email. “Some nontraditional students have never attended a college or university before and some are a transfer student, so it is a bit complicated when it comes to pulling that data.”

Even without exact data, it’s no secret that student parents have had a lack of campus resources.

Fortunately, the Student Government Association, the Division of Student Experience and Maag Library are taking a leap in the right direction. They have created a family study room in Maag Library for parenting students to have a safe space on campus to bring their children to.

The space is a great addition to the lactation room nearby for mothers with small children. It’s about time.

With the incorporation of these inclusive spaces on campus, it’s hoped that YSU will include more spaces with nontraditional students in mind in the future. 

Nontraditional and parenting students are a part of the normal student body today. The university should strive to accommodate them, and this a major improvement.