New Report Reveals Students Lack Awareness of Resources
Needed by Pregnant and Parenting College Students:
Perception is Reality
[April 23, 2008, Alexandria, Virginia] - Feminists for Life of America has released Perception is Reality, a study of FFL's first nationwide Pregnancy Resources SurveyTM. FFL's Pregnancy Resources Survey was created to discover students' awareness of resources and support for pregnant and parenting students on college and university campuses. This report, the first of its kind, highlights the perceptions that students have about resource availability on their campuses.
According to FFL's report, responses to the survey reveal that either most surveyed campuses lack resources or that students - including student activists most interested in the provision of resources - are ignorant of the resources available. For pregnant and parenting students on those campuses, the perception that they have no resources or support is their reality.
FFL's Pregnancy Resources Survey grew out of Feminists for Life's Pregnancy Resource ForumsSM. The forums were inspired by a Feminists for Life board member who shared her experience of facing an unplanned pregnancy while in college. "Without housing on campus for me and my baby, without on-site daycare, without maternity coverage in my health insurance, it sure doesn't feel like I have much of a free choice," she told the board in 1996.
In January 1997, FFL President Serrin Foster moderated the first of many Pregnancy Resource Forums in the country at Georgetown University to evaluate resources on and off campus as well as help administrators and students create a blueprint for progress. "It appeared that either the resources were lacking or information about existing support was missing on many campuses," said Foster. "We needed to see if this was widespread."
Perception is Reality shows that, among many issues, survey respondents were most confused or unaware of campus childcare options, school financial aid, and healthcare policies. "This survey confirms everything I have been told during the last decade of moderating Pregnancy Resource Forums on campuses across the country," Foster said. "Even when students who are not feeling the pressure of an unplanned pregnancy try to look for resources, either they can't find them or the resources are inadequate or expensive. And perception is reality. A perceived lack of resources can drive pregnant women to abortion or result in parents dropping out to college to face a lifetime of poverty. Pregnant women and parents need and deserve better resources and easily accessible information."
"Students' difficulty finding answers to survey questions suggests a need for colleges to designate or establish a central office or staff person to guide pregnant and parenting students to the resources they need," said FFL National Program Director Cayce Utley, M.A. Public Policy, who prepared the report.
Feminists for Life advocates the establishment of on-campus offices to serve parenting students, prospective student parents who are pregnant or imminently anticipating an adoption, and students who are placing or have placed a child for adoption through the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Pregnant and Parenting Student Services Act.