World Education is dedicated to improving the lives of the poor through education, and economic and social development programs.

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College Success for Single Mothers

Geographic Scope: Nationwide

Client(s): ECMC Foundation

Service: Technical Assistance and Coaching

Expertise: Career Pathways, College and Career Readiness


Single mothers make up an increasing part of the postsecondary student population in the United States. Their educational success has the potential to reap intergenerational benefits, forging a path for economic mobility and success for their families. College Success for Single Mothers is a three-year project (2020-2022) of the National College Transition Network (NCTN) funded by ECMC Foundation. College Success for Single Mothers (CSSM) provides assistance to eight community colleges to identify the needs of single mother students on campus and develop an action plan to address their needs and expand key practices and services to enhance their success in college and careers. 

College Success for Single Mothers builds on NCTN’s 2019 report, No Matter What Obstacle is Thrown My Way, which documents examples of 17 community colleges that offer targeted programming for student parents. The report recommends that significant work remains to increase institutional capacity to collect data to identify single mothers on campus; provide professional development to faculty and staff on the needs of single mothers; develop diverse and flexible funding sources; and advocate for policies within and outside of the institutions that support single mothers. 

The following colleges were selected to participate through a competitive application process and demonstrated alignment between the goals of the project and the broader mission of the college as well as an institutional capacity to create and sustain positive change. They represent a variety of geographic locations, student demographics, and enrollment sizes.

  • Broward College, Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Columbus State Community College, Columbus, OH
  • Delaware County Community College, Media, PA
  • Frederick Community College, Frederick, MD
  • Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, NY
  • Lee College, Baytown, TX
  • Western Technical College, La Crosse, WI
  • University of Hawai’i, Windward Community College, Honolulu, HI

The colleges will convene a cross-functional task force of decision makers, practitioners, and stakeholders to identify the needs of single mother students on campus and develop a plan to expand key practices and services to enhance their college success. NCTN and partners will develop case studies documenting the colleges’ action plans, outcomes, and lessons learned through the project to share with policymakers, funders and investors, and other colleges interested in better addressing the needs of single mother students and parents on campus. 

To achieve the project goals, NCTN is partnering with the Program Evaluation and Research Group at Endicott College, developers of the Family Friendly Campus Toolkit: Using Data to Improve Outcomes, and Achieving the Dream, a national leader in community college reform. These two organizations complement NCTN’s expertise designing effective college and career pathways for adult learners.