Photo Courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona

Student parents at CPP to receive priority registration in spring

By Christian Contreras, Oct. 10, 2023

Following the passage of Assembly Bill 2881, student parents at all colleges and universities in California will now have access to priority registration. The upcoming registration period for spring 2024 will be the first time student parents receiving priority will be in effect.

Signed into law September 2022, the law requires all colleges and universities in California to provide priority registration for student parents, and to notify them of resources and support systems critical to their success. Additionally, the law required all California campuses to have a priority registration process in place by July 1 of this year.

A student parent is defined as a “student who has a child or children under 18 years of age  who receive more than half of their support from that student.”

Karina Sernas, a liberal studies pre-credential student and co-president of the Parenting Broncos club, explained why she thinks this will be beneficial for student parents.

“As student parents we have a lot of responsibilities to take care of our families while also coming to college to pursue our education,” said Sernas. “We don’t want to be put in the position where we have to choose between finishing a degree or being there for our families.”

Photo Courtesy of Cal Poly Pomona

Before receiving priority registration, student parents experienced issues when it came to registering for classes.

In previous semesters, many student parents had to take time off from school to raise their kids or restrict themselves to a nine-unit course load because of other responsibilities or being unable to register for the classes they needed.

“It (life) comes in between our school schedules,” said Sernas. “For example, in our club we have students with kids of special needs, you know where they need doctors’ appointments and they have to deal with drop off and pick up times for their kids since some are in middle school or elementary school and our parents have to figure out what class schedule works best. “Sometimes they can’t take certain classes because it just doesn’t fit in their family life schedule.”

The announcement of this advancement for student parents came as welcome news to Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Christina M. Gonzales.

“I think that student parents are often forgotten, right? Because there’s so many other student groups and all that I think have just garnered more attention in general,” said Gonzales. “So I think this is a great step forward to support our students who are also parents, caregivers.”

Although putting a system in place like this has been in the works, some student parents like early childhood studies student Carmen Ponce were surprised when she learned student parents would be receiving priority registration.

“I had no idea that this was in the works,” said Ponce. “I saw the email and I was extremely happy that I’m going to be able to schedule classes that are more convenient because as of right now, I have classes during times I should be picking up my kids or dropping off my kids.”

As a student parent, Ponce feels she and her community have been recognized by Cal Poly Pomona and the state.

“I feel like they acknowledged what we’re going through,” said Ponce. “We’re sacrificing a lot to be here like, we’re missing time out with our kids and extracurriculars. It takes a lot for us to attend Cal Poly and I’m glad that they are acknowledging our sacrifices and what we’re doing to be there to better ourselves and they’re actually helping us out the best that they can. Priority registration is a blessing, and I am so grateful that they did that.”

Sernas shared the same sentiment.

“It’s a step in the right direction and it feels like we’re valued too as parents,” said Sernas.

According to Kaitlyn Sedzmak, chief of staff for student affairs, student parents only have to apply for priority registration once and they remain eligible until their youngest dependent turns 18.

Student parent priority registration for spring 2024 will begin Oct. 18.

To learn more about student parent resources, students can visit their Parenting Student Support website and apply for priority registration.

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