Boosting Single Parent Educational Outcomes

A national organization (ECMC Foundation) working to improve higher education outcomes among underserved students, tasked four community colleges to significantly increase the number of single mothers earning degrees and credentials at their institutions. They received a $50k start-up fund to develop and launch pilot programs focused on academic support tailored to single mothers.

Teams at each of the institutions conducted interviews with the women, college faculty, and staff to gain a better understanding of the barriers they face in order to provide relevant support. Early results reveal that single mothers make up 10 percent of their undergraduates, with almost 90 percent of these women qualifying as low-income students. Although only 28 percent of them currently earn a degree or credential within a six-year period, statistics show that every level of education completed decreases the likelihood of living in poverty by 32 percent. Those accomplishments can influence intergenerational change by disrupting cycles of poverty and increasing earning potential.

Their initial efforts are outlined in a report by Education Design Lab, a nonprofit that designs and tests college program models to help underserved students.

In what ways have you, or can you, encourage single mothers at your facilities to pursue higher education? We encourage you to post what’s working for you on the Citygate Network Connect Groups you belong to.