College Success for Single Mothers

Education and training have the potential to reap life-changing benefits for single mothers and their children across employment, quality of life, and children’s outcomes. Investment in childcare, additional financial aid, and case management pays off through increased tax returns and reduction in public benefits costs. With a powerful motivation to improve the lives of their families and set a positive example for their children, many single mothers pursue education and training that will lead to better-paying work and a meaningful career. 

College Success for Single Mothers is a three-year project, launched in January, 2020, funded by ECMC Foundation. Building on the findings from NCTN’s 2019 report, No Matter What Obstacle is Thrown My Way, the project will assist eight community colleges to identify the needs of single mother students on campus and develop and expand key practices and services to enhance their success in college and careers. 

To achieve the project goals, NCTN will partner 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 the community college reform movement which recently launched a Community College Women Succeed initiative to support the 277 institutions in the ATD Network.  These two organizations complement NCTN’s expertise designing effective college and career pathways for adult learners. 

Consciously and specifically addressing the needs of single mothers is an essential part of any equity and completion agenda for colleges. Single mothers make up an increasing part of the postsecondary student population in the United States, and a growing movement has emerged to better understand and address their unique set of challenges and experiences. NCTN will release a call for applications in the spring of 2020. Community colleges interested in participating should contact Sandy Goodman, NCTN Director, at for more information.

No Matter What Obstacle is Thrown My Way documents program models and service strategies implemented specifically in community college settings to support single mothers and increase their rates of persistence and completion, leading to greater career and economic opportunities and success for themselves and their families.




Project Director: Sandy Goodman, Director of Career Pathways, National College Transition Network

Funder: ECMC Foundation

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