Washington, D.C. – Today, H.R. 4502, the FY 2022 seven-bill appropriations minibus passed the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill includes Congresswoman Deborah Ross’ amendment (NC-02) that will support nearly four million pregnant and parenting students. Passed as part of the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations division, the amendment instructs the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to conduct a study on the obstacles pregnant and parenting students face in the pursuit of education and provide recommendations for improving educational outcomes, including graduation rates, for these students.

“For too long, pregnant and parenting students have been left out of the conversation about how best to equip the next generation with the tools they need to succeed,” said Congresswoman Ross. “We must do more to remove the unique barriers that student parents face to ensure all of our students can reach their full potential. An investment in our students is an investment in our shared future, and we have an opportunity to support nearly four million students in their education and personal growth. I’m thrilled my amendment was included in the House-passed legislation, and I will continue working with my colleagues to see it become law.”

Nationwide, 22 percent of undergraduate students are parents. Pregnant and parenting students face significant barriers in education, including difficulties accessing college, insufficient or unaffordable child care, and a lack of holistic support structures. As a result, these students experience disproportionately low graduation rates, as well as a median debt burden that is nearly two and a half times higher than that of students without children. Pregnant and parenting high school students too frequently find themselves out of school entirely. Congresswoman Ross spoke in support of her amendment on the House floor.

H.R. 4502 includes $253.8 billion in funding for Labor-HHS-Education initiatives, including $102.8 billion in funding for the Department of Education, which houses the Institute of Education Sciences.