Achieving the Dream and Biden Foundation Announce Community College Women Succeed Initiative

An unprecedented number of single mothers—11 percent of all undergraduates—are enrolled in postsecondary institutions, but most will not graduate because of the challenges they face as financially independent students who are juggling work, school, and parenting. Only 8 percent of single mothers enrolled 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).

On February 20, 2019, Dr. Jill Biden, lifelong educator and honorary co-chair of the Biden Foundation, spoke to more than 2,400 community college leaders at Achieving the Dream’s national convening, DREAM, to announce an initiative supported by Achieving the Dream (ATD) and the Biden Foundation. The initiative, Community College Women Succeed, aims to help adult women learners—including parents—who are attending community college succeed and complete certificates and degrees on time.

The ATD and Biden Foundation partnership will promote promising practices and innovative programs regarding adult women’s retention in community colleges. ATD and the Biden Foundation will look to:

  • Engage with thought leaders throughout the country to learn about gaps and promising practices within community colleges
  • Host regional roundtables with women nontraditional students and elevate the student voice as it relates to increasing persistence in and completion of community college
  • Review existing research and identify retention trends
  • Author and release a white paper to highlight both the need to support women nontraditional students as well as innovative programs that currently in practice
  • Partner with a cross-section of stakeholders to create resources
  • After Dr. Biden’s announcement and remarks at DREAM, ATD and the Biden Foundation held a focus group of women students at Los Angeles Harbor College. 

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