In preparation for last week’s summit on community colleges, the White House asked people to submit their ideas for community college reform. Overwhelmingly the participants voted in support of the idea submitted by a former teen mom and Community College student from Arizona who asked the following:
Educate students on healthy relationships and family planning…in order to help community college students finish their education and then plan for a family when the time is right.
This raises questions about why community colleges lack a comprehensive health system, and where services like contraception and family planning are available to students.
What more than half do not have, however, is what four-year colleges and universities have offered for years: comprehensive health services, including daily clinics and nurses who provide up-to-date health information, do physical examinations and prescribe or dispense contraception.
The apparent reasoning behind this gap in services is that lack of funding for community colleges, money which often goes instead to the four-year institutions. The Obama Administration has made it clear they’d like to put more of an emphasis on community colleges, but it’s not clear that they’re looking to address the need for better on-campus health services.
According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Latino undergraduates are more likely to be enrolled in a two year institution. This means that Latinas are being shorthanded when it comes to resources on family planning. By providing services to reduce unplanned pregnancies, Latinas will have a better chance in graduating from school and having the opportunity to continue on to a four-year institution.
By Stephanie Rodriguez, Policy Intern