Single Mother Students are Lacking Sufficient Support to Persist to Graduation in Community Colleges
Keywords:student parents, single mothers, community college
Despite high levels of motivation, only 8% of single mothers who attend a community college will graduate (Cruse et al., 2019b). As a component of this Dissertation in Practice, a systematic literature review was conducted to explore the reasons behind these unacceptably low success rates. Based on data from empathy interviews, peer-reviewed research, and public scholarship sources, several root causes for low single mother graduation rates were discovered. First, there is a lack of institutional support and engagement. Most colleges do not have staff or offices dedicated to working with this population and typically offer services such as tutoring or activities to connect with other students at times that do not align with student mother schedules. Another key finding was that the lack of reliable childcare makes it very challenging for these students. Finally, care-blind federal policies that require students to work and institutional policies that do not offer flexibility for absences or late work also contribute to low success rates. Each factor is described, and recommendations are provided to address these issues. Additionally, further recommendations to increase degree and certificate attainment for single mother students are provided.
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