At the age of 21, Robyn Young was in and out of jobs, living on friends’ couches, and struggling to take care of her daughter.
“I recognized that education was a way out,” she says.
Young enrolled in college, but she couldn’t keep up with the child-care bill. So she dropped out.
According to a report by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), the number of single mothers in college more than doubled between 2000 and 2012, to nearly 2.1 million students.
“There are more single mothers than there used to be,” says Barbara Gault, the vice president and executive director at IWPR. “Another reason is that for-profit colleges have aggressively recruited single mothers to attend their programs.”
Only 28 percent of single mothers who start college complete degrees, and there has been no systematic effort to address the obstacles they face. The Trump administration wants to cut a federal-aid program that provides money for campus-based child care programs, the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program (CCAMPIS).
“Average childcare costs a little under $10,000 a year,” says Meredith Kolodner, a reporter for The Hechinger Report who wrote about single mothers and college completion.“For most people, that’s more than their rent.”