According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 10 million single mothers are raising children in the United States. Single parent status has a significant impact on a woman’s educational attainment. Only 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by the age of 22, and only between two to three percent of them earn a four-year degree by the age of 30. Of those women that do engage in higher education, the Center for Women Policy noted that one third (33.7%) of single mothers take more than 10 years to complete a bachelor’s degree, compared with 15.6% of all women.
This basic qualitative study explored the educational experiences of 23 low-income single mothers of color attending two community colleges in southern California to determine how their intersectional identities shaped their engagement with policies and practices across federal, county, and campus-based programs. Research findings indicate that age and single mother status are salient identities that interact to shape students’ experiences. Participants noted that work-first policies adopted by federal welfare legislation do not align with student’s long-term aspirational goals. Moreover, county staff act as gatekeepers to essential services and information that can greatly influence the student’s ability to complete their studies. Finally, participants utilized campus-based programs and family as essential resources in their journey to complete education. Strategies applied by students to persist in education included self-care and self-advocacy.
Recommendations based on the findings include coordinated and comprehensive outreach efforts on behalf of campuses to ensure single parents understand the resources available to them, including Title IX policies relating to the rights of pregnant and parenting students. Additional recommendations include training for staff and faculty on Title IX for proper implementation. Further areas for research include exploration into the experiences of single mothers as they transfer to universities to determine the continuum of care across institutions of higher education.
|Advisor:||Huber, Lindsay Perez|
|Commitee:||Olson, Avery, Rose, Linda|
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Community college education, Educational leadership, Multicultural Education, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||Community college, Low-income, Single mothers, Student mother, Title IX, Welfare|
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