SB 2563 requires all community colleges and four year universities to develop a plan of action to address unintended pregnancy on their campus. The plans must be submitted to the legislature by November 2014. buy cheap domain Specifically, the plans must describe how colleges will collaborate with community health centers and/or federally qualified health centers to promote access to care and identify child care, transportation, financial aid and other challenges specific to single parent students.
This bill is the first of its kind and one the Women’s Foundation enthusiastically supports.
Why focus on community colleges?
Older teens (those ages 18 and 19) account for 70% of all teen births in Mississippi in 2012 (Mississippi State Department of Health Vital Statistics, 2012). These rates are three times higher than the rates among teens age 15 to 17. To be effective in further reducing the teen pregnancy rates it is essential that older teens be a major part of teenage pregnancy prevention efforts. Given their large and diverse student population, four year and two year colleges and universities are an important venue to reach significant numbers of older teens.
Addressing the teenage pregnancy rate at colleges is a workforce development issue because teen pregnancy can seriously interfere with college success and completion. According to Blueprint Mississippi, “promoting higher college completion rates is extremely important for enhancing Mississippi’s future growth prospects.” College retention and completion are among the most serious concerns facing community colleges today. Being a young single parent is a significant risk factor for leaving college without a degree.
- In 2012, 70% of all teenage births in Mississippi were to 18 and 19 year olds.
- A majority of community college students are economically disadvantaged, as defined by receiving Pell grants and other income/work supports.
- 61% of women who have children after enrolling in community college do not finish their education.
- Among single teen parents who enrolled in two-year schools with the intent of pursuing a degree, only 22 percent had received a degree six years later.