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Supporting Single Mother Students: What We Have Learned

December 09, 2021

Based on work ECMC Foundation has supported, we now know that there are an estimated 1.7 million undergraduate students in the United States who are single mothers. About half of these women attend community colleges. Single mother students face unique resource and time demands. Nearly nine in ten (88%) single mother students have incomes at or near the federal poverty level. Single mother students spend on average nine hours a day caring for their children and housework leaving little time for their other responsibilities.

Since 2016, ECMC Foundation has made 13 grants to 10 organizations totaling $6.4 million to support single mother students working towards an academic credential. This fact sheet highlights what we have learned to date. In addition to informing ECMC Foundation’s strategy moving forward, these findings offer insights for other funders and the broader postsecondary field on strategies and solutions that support single mother students.


Read the fact sheet.


[i]     Reichlin Cruse, L., Milli, J., Contreras-Mendez, S. Holtzman, T., Gault, B. (December 2019) Investing in Single Mothers’ Higher Education: National and State Estimates of the Costs and Benefits of Single Mothers’ Educational Attainment to Individuals, Families, and Society. Retrieved from

[iii]    Reichlin Cruse, L., Gault, B., Suh, J (May 2018) Time Demands of Single Mother College Students and
the Role of Child Care in their Postsecondary Success. Retrieved from

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