New Report: Helping Single Mothers Succeed in Postsecondary Education

An unprecedented number of single mothers are enrolled in postsecondary institutions today, but most will not graduate because of the challenges they face as financially independent students who are juggling work, school, and parenting. In fact, only 8 percent of single mothers who enroll in college earn an associate or bachelor’s degree within six years, according to a report released by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). The report identifies characteristics about the single mom student population which makes up approximately 11 percent of undergraduate students and articulates strategies for supporting them. 

Achieving the Dream (ATD) is collaborating with partners such as ECMC Foundation, which supports research projects from IWPR and NCTN and also ATD, and the Biden Foundation, to raise awareness and engage on this important issue. Identifying the programs and codifying best practices for single mothers who navigate the challenges of child care, motherhood and college is a critical step in this process.

Does your institution have a program on your campus that supports single moms in their pursuit of career and technical education and career pathway success? The National College Transition Network (NCTN) at World Education is identifying and documenting the successful models and practices and create program profiles compiled in a report that will be shared with educators, policymakers and funders across the country.

If you know of a postsecondary institution or a CTE program that provides targeted services to support single mothers, contact Sandy Goodman, NCTN Director,

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