School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy


Susan Quindag


early childhood, childcare, student-parents, higher education, subsidy


Higher Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to describe the experiences of student-parents who use the Parents for Higher Education program at Eastern Community College. The theory that guided this study was McClusky’s theory of margin, which addresses the support and services adults need to accomplish their goals in life. This framework provided a connection that explained the importance of childcare subsidies and the needs met while attending classes for community college students—the transcendental phenomenology approach used. The setting for this study was the virtual platform Zoom. The study was conducted using 10 participants, all student-parents who participated in the childcare grant subsidy program. Five themes and one sub-theme emerged: financial concerns, family (with the sub-theme of single parenting), academic success and environment, the benefits of the childcare grant, and the need for available resources. The findings showed that student-parents face challenges with family and school responsibilities that impact their daily lives. Additionally, intergenerational poverty from childhood played a role in student-parent financial concerns. There is a need for additional research on the lived experiences of student-parents who do not receive the childcare grant while attending community college.