Clear all

2 results found

reorder grid_view

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).

Single Mothers Overrepresented at For-Profit Colleges

September 6, 2017

Analysis of the 2011-12 National Postsecondary Student Aid Study data by the Institute for Women's Policy Research (IWPR) finds that three in ten single mothers in college attend private, for-profit schools, a larger share than students of any other family type (Figure 1). At for-profit institutions, single mothers account for 26 percent of the student body, yet they are only 11 percent of all undergraduate students. College students who are parents of dependent children are more likely than their counterparts without children to attend for-profit institutions, and single parents are more likely than married parents to attend a for-profit school (Figure 1).