Parents with dependent children now make up almost one in four students pursuing higher education in the United States (Miller, Gault and Thorman 2011). Single parents face particular challenges pursuing higher education, including securing safe and affordable housing. Single mothers often must spend over half of their income on housing expenses, leaving them with less money for educational expenses and vulnerable to housing crises that can easily derail their pursuit of a degree (Bush 2010). An analysis of effective strategies to support single student parents identifies affordable housing as one of the most important factors to ensuring student success (Women Employed 2011). This brief highlights a number of community-based organizations that offer housing and other support to single student parents pursuing postsecondary education at community college—where a majority of single student parents attend college—and/or job training, as well as some community colleges that offer on-campus housing for single student parents. Information for the program descriptions was gathered either from the program’s website or follow-up conversations with program staff. Recommendations for community colleges are outlined at the conclusion of this brief.
by Abby Thorman, Ph.D., Jessica Otto (May 2012)