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Student Tribune

MCC Teams Up with Other Community Colleges to Boost Graduation Rates for Single Mothers

The national nonprofit Education Design Lab today announced the community colleges selected to be part of a multi-year design challenge that will test and scale strategies to dramatically improve success rates for single mothers over the next six years. The cohort of institutions selected for the initiative includes:

  • Central New Mexico Community College, Albuquerque, N.M., which is the largest community college in New Mexico, serving more than 36,000 students per year, and a designated Hispanic Serving Institution.
  • Delgado Community College, New Orleans, La., the state's largest community college, which enrolls more than 20,000 students, nearly 20 percent of whom are single parents.
  • Monroe Community College, Rochester, N.Y., with urban and suburban campuses, serves more than 29,000 students, including hundreds of single mothers who live at or below the federal poverty line.
  • Ivy Tech Community College, Indianapolis, Ind., the country's largest singly accredited statewide community college system and serves 160,000 students.

Each year, 2.1 million single mothers enroll in higher education. Research from the Institute for Women's Policy Research found that nearly 90 percent were low-income, 43 percent worked more than 30 hours a week, and 40 percent said they were likely or very likely to drop out due to dependent care obligations. IWPR reports that among all women attending community college, 21 percent are single mothers and 44 percent of all single student mothers attend public two-year institutions.

"The majority of today's undergraduate students are parents or caregivers, adult learners, part-time students, and full-time workers. And single mothers in particular are not well served by the current system," said Marta Urquilla, Chief Program Officer at the Education Design Lab. "The institutions we have selected for this design challenge are working hard to change that. Each has already demonstrated a unique commitment to improving outcomes for single mothers. Together, they have transformative potential to create and scale new models to reach more women and families across the country."

"Monroe Community College is committed to transforming student lives and communities in order to drive regional economic development and build global engagement and understanding," said Monroe Community College President Anne M. Kress. "The timing couldn't be more perfect for us. Participating in this design challenge will help support our single mother students transform their lives, the lives of their children, and their community. We are excited to expand to design more targeted services to increase degree attainment among this unique population. "

With backing from ECMC Foundation, Education Design Lab selected the participating institutions from a national pool of applicants based on their innovation readiness, approach to student success, and student demographics. The cohort has committed to collaborate in the design of innovative programs and initiatives with the goal of raising attainment rates for single mothers by 30 percent at their institutions by 2024.

Read more about this exciting news provided by the Education Design Lab online.

DeMario, Mary Ann
Institutional Research