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Child Care Assistance for College Students with Children: An Opportunity for Change in Washington State

October 1, 2017

Publicly funded child care assistance helps many low-income parents afford child care while earning a postsecondary credential that can lead to long-lasting economic security. States have flexibility in setting eligibility requirements for receiving subsidies funded by the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) program (Adams et al. 2014; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 2016). Compared with other states, Washington imposes unusually strict requirements, including work requirements and degree limitations, for parents in job training and education programs who wish to receive child care assistance (Eckerson et al. 2016). Changes to Washington State's eligibility rules for child care assistance receipt would help parents attain credentials that lead to stable, high-quality jobs with family-sustaining wages. Increasing postsecondary attainment among low-income parents could also reduce poverty over the long term, reduce reliance on public benefit programs, help employers meet the demand for skilled workers, and strengthen the state's economy.

Single Mothers in College: Growing Enrollment, Financial Challenges, and the Benefits of Attainment

September 20, 2017

Single student mothers are growing in both absolute numbers and as a share of the college population. They often face significant financial and time-related obstacles that make it difficult for them to persist to graduation. Investing in programs and supports that target the needs of single mothers has the potential to improve their rates of college attainment, and increase earnings, which can lead to a range of multigenerational benefits. This briefing paper provides data on single mothers in postsecondary education and discusses the potential benefits of increasing their college attainment rates for individuals, families, and society as a whole.The number of single mothers in college more than doubled between the 1999-00 and 2011-12 school years, to reach nearly 2.1 million students—or 11 percent of all undergraduates—as of 2012 (Figure 1; IWPR 2017a). The growth in single mothers in college was more than twice the rate of growth seen among the overall undergraduate student population (42 percent) over the same time period (IWPR 2017a). Among female undergraduates, 19 percent were single mothers as of 2011-12 (IWPR 2017b).

Child Care for Parents in College: A State-by-State Assessment

September 1, 2016

Child care is a crucial support for the 4.8 million parents in college, but it is difficult for students to find and afford. Balancing the responsibilities of school, family, and work, student parents with young children rely on affordable, reliable child care arrangements to manage the many demands on their timewhile pursuing a postsecondary credential ( Gault et al. 2014). Much of student parents' need for care goes unmet, however, contributing to their low rates of degree attainment: only one-third attain a degree or certificate within six years of enrollment (Gault et al. 2014; Miller, Gault, and Thorman 2011). For many of the parents who leave school without earning a credential, better access to child care could have helped them avoid taking a break or dropping out completely (Hess et al. 2014; Johnson et al. 2009).Student parents' ability to find and pay for child care varies by state. Differences in the availability of child care on college campuses and in the restrictiveness of state eligibility rules for child care assistance means that many student parents have limited access to the services they need to complete school. This briefing paper analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Education on the share of public institutions that provide campus child care, and reviews current state child care subsidy rules, to assess state variation in the challenges facing student parents' access to affordable, quality child care.

Securing a Better Future: A Potrait of Female Students in Mississippi's Community Colleges

August 14, 2014

This report presents findings from a survey of female community college students in Mississippi conducted by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) and commissioned by the Women's Foundation of Mississippi. The survey is designed to identify supports and practices that can help women succeed in community college and attain economic security. It explores women's motivations for pursuing college, their personal and career goals, their support needs, and the economic, health, and time challenges that they experience. The survey was designed as a part of the Institute for Women's Policy Research's Student Parent Success Initiative, which provides information and tools to promote the success of student parents in postsecondary education.

Paid Sick Days Access in the United States: Differences by Race/Ethnicity, Occupation, Earnings, and Work Schedule

March 3, 2014

Paid sick days bring substantial benefits to employers, workers, families, and communities. The economic and public health benefits of paid sick leave coverage include safer work environments; improved work life balance, reduced spread of contagion; and reduced health care costs. Access to this important benefit, however, is still too rare, and is unequally distributed across the U.S. population, with differences by race and ethnicity, occupation, earnings levels, and work schedules. Utilizing data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), IWPR finds that in 2012, approximately 61 percent of private-sector workers age 18 and older in the U.S. had access to paid sick days (Figure 1); up from 57 percent in 2009. More than 41 million workers lack access.