David Croom

Associate Director, Postsecondary Success for Parents

David Croom is associate director for postsecondary success for parents with Ascend at the Aspen Institute, where he leads the Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents (PSP) Initiative. Centered on a two-generation (2Gen) approach, which focuses on creating opportunities to address the needs of children and the adults in their lives simultaneously, the PSP Initiative urges postsecondary leaders to identify and meet the needs of student parents and their families, by connecting with policymakers to strengthen political will among states and regions, and bringing innovative family-support models to the forefront.

Prior to joining Ascend, David was HBCU Lead and Higher Education Designer at Education Design Lab where he led an institutional engagement with UNCF’s Career Pathways Initiative. For over four years, David was a strategy officer in Lumina Foundation’s Washington, D.C. office where he focused on the Foundation’s work to advance federal policy and pursue issues pertaining to postsecondary finance, both toward the goal of increased attainment of high-quality credentials. Before Lumina, he was a policy analyst focused on federal postsecondary education in ACT’s office of strategic initiatives and, during graduate school, spent a year working at nonprofit PolicyLink with their California Boys and Men of Color Initiative work as well as consulting the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and nonprofit California Competes. His first foray into federal policy was as congressional aide to Congresswoman Maxine Waters, tasked with the member’s education portfolio with a specific emphasis on regulation of for-profit higher education.

David currently serves on the board of Raise the Barr and Swipe Out Hunger. Native to South Florida but now a resident of Washington, DC, David holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy and a bachelor’s degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management with a minor in political science.

Stories featuring David Croom

Today, Ascend at the Aspen Institute (Ascend) announced that 11 new Parent Advisors have joined its Postsecondary Success for Parents initiative (PSP) to help shape Ascend’s expanded agenda to improve higher education policy and practice for student parents.
Press ReleasesSeptember 29, 2022
More than half of the nearly 4 million student parents in the U.S. are students of color, with Black, Native, and Latino students among the most likely to be raising children while in college. In fact, one-third of all Black college students in the U.S. are parents. When higher education is not designed with parents …

A Leadership Imperative: Postsecondary Success for Parents Launches Its Next Phase Read More »

Aspen Postsecondary Success for ParentsSeptember 29, 2022
In an article for Lumina Foundation's summer 2022 Focus magazine, Ascend's David Croom offers insight into the power of student parents' commitment to success for themselves and their families.
Media MentionsAugust 3, 2022
RFP for HBCUs and TCUs to apply for funding and technical assistance to support student parent success on their campuses One in five college students – close to 4 million – is pursuing higher education while parenting. More than half are students of color, with Black and Native students more likely to be balancing school …

Ascend’s New Family Futures Fund Focuses on Black and Native Student Parent Success Read More »

Aspen Postsecondary Success for ParentsJuly 20, 2022
In episode 101 of the Office Hours with EAB podcast, David Croom shares compelling success stories and recommendations on creative ways for institutions to partner with local businesses and community leaders to offer more support and wraparound services to help student-parents succeed.
Media MentionsApril 26, 2022
So our Ascend team was thrilled to host a virtual book talk with Nicole Lynn Lewis, author of Pregnant Girl: A Story of Teen Motherhood, College, and Creating a Better Future for Young Families.
Aspen Postsecondary Success for ParentsMarch 10, 2022
David Croom and our Postsecondary Success for Parents partners were featured in NPR discussing the opportunities for colleges and universities to make higher ed more accessible for parenting students. “Parents experience this concept called time poverty,” says David Croom, the assistant director for postsecondary achievement and innovation at Ascend at the Aspen Institute. “They have about …

4 Tips for Parents and Caregivers Who Want to Go to College Read More »

Media MentionsFebruary 21, 2022
1 in 5 Student Parent Podcast
The 1 in 5 podcast vividly profiles students who are parents pursuing their education while raising a family and working. Today, more than one in five college students (22%) are parents. The experiences of students who are parents should not be unfamiliar or unheard, especially on college campuses. They’re in classrooms and clubs, working jobs and managing finances just like their peers.
BlogFebruary 9, 2021
Contact: Alexis Williams Ascend at the Aspen Institute alexis.williams@aspeninstitute.org  Ascend at the Aspen Institute and Lantigua Williams & Co. Debut a 15-episode Series on Student Parents Pursuing Postsecondary Credentials   Undergraduate student parents and supporters share the challenges, triumphs, and unique needs of the more than one in five college students who are parents,   Washington, DC (February 9, 2021) – Today, Ascend at the Aspen Institute launched 1 in 5, a captivating podcast that …

ANNOUNCING: “1 in 5,” Ascend’s New Student Parent Podcast Produced by Lantigua Williams & Co. Read More »

Aspen Postsecondary Success for ParentsFebruary 9, 2021
Contact: Alexis Williams Ascend at the Aspen Institute alexis.williams@aspeninstitute.org   Ascend at the Aspen Institute and The Jed Foundation Announce Partnership To Develop a Mental Health Framework Focused on Students who are Parents Based on results from a literature review released today, leaders will develop evidence-based resources and expert-informed recommendations to address the mental health …

Announcing: Ascend and JED’s Mental Health Partnership for Student Parents Read More »

BlogDecember 3, 2020
Contact: Alexis Williams Ascend at the Aspen Institute Alexis.Williams@aspeninstitute.org   Aspen Institute Announces First-Ever Parent Powered Solutions Fund Awardees  Parent Leaders Select Six Organizations Championing College Success for  Undergraduate Students Raising Children  Washington, DC – Today, Ascend at the Aspen Institute announced the recipients of the Aspen Parent Powered Solutions Fund – the first student parent-led fund dedicated to advancing the work of organizations and initiatives that support …

Aspen Institute Announces First-Ever Parent Powered Solutions Fund Grantees Read More »

Aspen Postsecondary Success for ParentsOctober 22, 2020
Investing in the postsecondary success of students who are parents is one of the most effective strategies for accelerating their economic and social mobility, addressing longstanding inequalities, and building state and local economies. Public sector agencies and their partners can build supportive pathways for student parents toward meaningful degrees and credentials that lead to careers with better pay and benefits.   …

RFP Submission Guidelines for the Aspen Policy Acceleration Partnership Grants  Read More »

BlogSeptember 16, 2020
The Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents (PSP) Initiative is a partnership with Imaginable Futures and the ECMC Foundation to raise awareness about and share recommendations to better support students who are parents. The PSP Initiative is informed by three groups of experts from across the United States: Parent Advisors, National Advisors, and the Postsecondary Leadership Circle for Parents. The 2020 – …

Introducing the 2020-2021 Ascend PSP National Advisors Read More »

BlogAugust 19, 2020
Supporting student parent mental health is an integral component of increasing postsecondary completion. Ascend and the Jed Foundation (JED) are partnering to advance the academic persistence and completion of students who are parents by addressing mental health. This partnership will develop a comprehensive mental health framework for postsecondary institutions to improve their mental health supports …

Virtual Strategy Session: Securing Mental Health for Parents Read More »

BlogAugust 17, 2020
Parents are a sizable but often overlooked student population in postsecondary systems. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed new demands on all parents with young children and shed new light on the multiple barriers that student parents face. The Aspen Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative engaged a diverse group of leaders including parents, researchers, workforce development experts, college presidents, philanthropists, and …

NEW BRIEFS: Strategies and Innovations that Support Student Parents Read More »

BlogJuly 13, 2020

Convenings Featuring David Croom

Date: September 7, 2022
Location: Virtual
Do you work at a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) or Tribal Colleges and University (TCU) committed to supporting the success of student parents? Ascend at the Aspen Institute’s Black and Native Family Futures Fund is a new...
ConveningSeptember 7, 2022
Date: November 16, 2020
Postsecondary education and employment pathways are core components of the two-generation (2Gen) approach. This commitment to educational success and economic security is of the utmost importance to single mothers pursuing a postsecondary degree or...
ConveningNovember 16, 2020
Date: February 23, 2022
Location: Virtual (Zoom)
Ascend at the Aspen Institute and the Aspen Forum on Women and Girls are hosting a virtual book talk Wednesday, February 23, 2022 from 4-5PM ET with Nicole Lynn Lewis, founder and CEO of Generation Hope about her critically-acclaimed book Pregnant...
ConveningFebruary 23, 2022