(Delaware and Chester Counties, PA)—Delaware County Community College has been selected to participate in a national task force to identify the needs of students who are single mothers and develop a plan to expand key practices and services to enhance their college success.
The National College Transition Network (NCTN) at World Education recently chose eight community colleges to participate in this new three-year “College Success for Single Mothers” project, funded by ECMC, a national foundation working to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds. Grant Snyder, vice president of Student Affairs & Strategic Initiatives, will be the task force convener for Delaware County Community College.
NCTN is partnering with Achieving the Dream, a national leader in community college reform, and the Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG) at Endicott College in Beverly, Massachusetts. With support from the U.S. Department of Education and the Lumina Foundation, PERG created “The Family Friendly Campus Toolkit: Using Data to Improve Outcomes,” a self-assessment guide for improving supports and outcomes for students raising children.
Nationwide, studies show that single mothers are a growing percentage of the U.S. college and university student population, and that their educational success has the potential to reap intergenerational benefits, leading to economic mobility and success for their families. Nearly nine million U.S. families are headed by single mothers, according to NCTN. Most support their families on very low incomes, with inadequate funds for childcare, affordable housing, health and dental care. In the 2011–2012 school year, there were more than two million single-mother college students, representing 11 percent of undergraduates. Eighty-nine percent of single-mother students were low-income, with 63 percent living in poverty, according to NCTN.
Delaware County Community College and the seven other community colleges participating in the College Success for Single Mothers project will each receive a $10,000 stipend. They will convene a cross-functional task force of decision makers, practitioners and stakeholders to identify the needs of single-mother students and develop a comprehensive plan to expand key practices and services to enhance their college success. Utilizing the valuable input of the eight community colleges, NCTN and its partners will develop case studies documenting the community colleges’ action plans, outcomes and lessons learned to share with policymakers, funding agencies, investors and other colleges and universities interested in better addressing the needs of single-mother students and parents on college campuses.
The eight community colleges participating were selected through a competitive application process and demonstrated alignment between the goals of the project and the broader mission of each of their colleges, as well as an institutional capacity to create and sustain positive change. The colleges represent a variety of geographic locations, student demographics and enrollment sizes. In addition to Delaware County Community College, the seven other participants in this national initiative include the community colleges of Broward in Florida; Columbus State in Ohio; Frederick in Maryland; Kingsborough in Brooklyn, N.Y.; Lee in Baytown, Texas; Western Technical in La Crosse, Wisconsin; and Windward at the University of Hawaii in Kāneʻohe, Hawaiʻi.
The College Success for Single Mothers initiative builds on a 2019 NCTN 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 says that significant work remains to: increase institutional capacity; 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.
More About the College Success for Single Mothers Lead Organizations
The National College Transition Network (NCTN)—A project of World Education, Inc., NCTN provides technical assistance and professional development services to community college, adult education and workforce systems. It designs accelerated career pathways, comprehensive student support services and effective multi-stakeholder partnerships that help adults attain their educational and career goals and access greater economic opportunity. Learn more at http://www.collegetransition.org.
World Education, Inc.—Founded in 1951, World Education, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of the poor through education and economic and social development. World Education has worked in more than 50 countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Its work focuses on nonformal and formal education for children and adults; support for AIDS orphans and vulnerable children; refugee training; elimination of child labor and human trafficking; community development; maternal and child health; and micro-enterprise development. In the United States, World Education advances the economic mobility of vulnerable people and communities through education. It strengthens the effectiveness of educators, organizations and systems to support adults, older youth and communities to thrive. Learn more at http://www.worlded.org.
Program Evaluation and Research Group (PERG) at Endicott College—PERG provides planning, evaluation and applied research services in support of quality educational programs in formal and informal settings. Since its founding in 1976, PERG has conducted hundreds of formative, summative and developmental evaluations and research studies, drawing on multi-disciplinary research methodologies and analytic approaches. In recent years, PERG has worked with numerous two and four-year colleges across the country to learn about best practices and supports for parenting students. Building on PERG’s research study, Baccalaureate Student Parent Programs and the Students They Serve (2016), and evaluations of Jeremiah Program and Keys to Degrees Replication Programs, PERG developed the Family Friendly Campus Toolkit: Using Data to Improve Outcomes. The Toolkit is a free, award-winning, self-assessment system and guide for use by colleges to improve supports and outcomes for students who are raising children.
Achieving the Dream (ATD)—ATD leads a growing network of 277 community colleges committed to helping their students, particularly low-income students and students of color, achieve their goals for academic success, personal growth and economic opportunity. ATD is making progress in closing academic achievement gaps and accelerating student success through a unique change process that builds each college’s institutional capacities in seven essential areas. ATD, along with 75 experienced coaches and advisors, works closely with network colleges in 44 states and the District of Columbia. In February 2019, Achieving the Dream launched Community College Women Succeed, an initiative to identify and promote effective strategies that help adult women students succeed in community college. Delaware County Community College has been an ATD Leader College since 2011. Learn more at http://www.achievingthedream.org.
ECMC Foundation—ECMC is a Los Angeles-based, nationally focused foundation whose mission is to inspire and to facilitate improvements that affect educational outcomes—especially among underserved populations—through evidence-based innovation. It is one of several affiliates under Educational Credit Management Corporation (ECMC) Group enterprise based in Minneapolis. ECMC Foundation makes investments in two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness; and uses a spectrum of funding structures, including strategic grantmaking and program-related investments, to invest in both nonprofit and for-profit ventures. Working with grantees, partners and peers, ECMC Foundation’s vision is for all learners to unlock their fullest potential. Learn more about ECMC Foundation by visiting http://www.ecmcfoundation.org and ECMC Group by visiting http://www.ecmcgroup.org.