Read how one student is benefitting from Mayor's Guaranteed Income program
Here’s an excerpt from the 04/03/22 Santa Fe New Mexican story, “Guaranteed income pilot relieves some financial stress for student parents”:
“…Martina is one of 100 student parents younger than 30 who earn less than 200 percent of the federal poverty level (less than $50,000 for a family of four) at SFCC who were selected via lottery out of hundreds of applicants to participate in the city of Santa Fe’s guaranteed income pilot and has received $400 each month since September.
Her last name is being withheld to adhere to research requirements set forth by the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Guaranteed Income Research, which is studying the pilot program, funded by Mayors for a Guaranteed Income initiative at $500,000.
For Martina’s family, the pilot has put a temporary end to a continual uphill battle balancing late utility payments and making tough decisions between necessities like food ($170 to $300 a week) or child care ($200 a week) and paying for school (up to $1,000 a term).
“I probably wouldn’t be taking classes right now if I was just racking up debt,” she said. “I might not even have a car right now.”
The Institute for Women’s Policy and Research estimated in 2019 that 22 percent of all college students are parents.
Estimates at SFCC are higher — with one survey conducted by the Anna Age Eight institute reporting 36 percent of students on campus have a child younger than 18.
That number likely overlaps with other indicators yielded by the 2021 survey, like the 29 percent of respondents who needed child care services — two-thirds of whom had trouble finding it — or the 34 percent who reported needing food assistance, many who didn’t qualify.
Catron Allred, director of the Early Childhood Center of Excellence at SFCC, said higher education is rarely set up to support parents trying to attain degrees, who she said may not be able to take on as much coursework as traditional students.
Between parenting, working and attending school, “small things can derail that process,” she said.
“School is the first thing you’re able to give up,” Allred added.
Martina has not given up. The student — who attended The MASTERS Program, a dual-credit high school in Santa Fe — has been chipping away at her classes one or two at a time since high school graduation, mostly online, save one term when her daughter was born.
Yash Morimoto, vice president for strategy and organizational effectiveness at SFCC, estimates 75 percent of students at SFCC are part time — and said it can take them five to eight years to graduate. And many can get lost in the process.
The National Center for Education Statistics places the part-time retention rate in postsecondary institutions at 43.5 percent.”
Image: File photo of a recent SFCC grad with a young child.