New Report Examines the Status of Single Mothers in Higher Education

A new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research finds that the number of single mothers enrolled in high education is growing both in absolute numbers and in their percentage of the total student population. However, these women face significant financial obstacles as well as time constraints that make it difficult for them to persist in higher education.

According to the report, the number of single mothers enrolled in high education more than doubled in the first 12 years of this century. Today there are 2.1 million single mothers enrolled in postsecondary education. They now make up 11 percent of all undergraduate students, up from 7.8 percent at the turn of the century.

Some 44 percent of all single student mothers attend public two-year institutions. Forty percent of women at two-year colleges say they likely to drop out due to child care obligations.

Another 30 percent of single student mothers attend for-profit institutions. This is three times the rate for women college students who do not have children.

According to the study, only 28 percent of single mothers who entered college between 2003 and 2009 earned a degree or certificate within 6 years. This is less than one half the rate for women without children.

The full report, Single Mothers in College: Growing Enrollment, Financial Challenges, and the Benefits of Attainment, may be downloaded by clicking here.

Filed Under: EnrollmentsResearch/StudyWomen's Studies

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