For many single parents, earning a college degree may seem like an insurmountable feat. Expensive tuition, child care, and real world responsibilities can make it extremely difficult to pursue higher education. But without a degree, single parents may struggle to find a fulfilling career that can support a family. That’s why so many colleges have created programs that bring college degrees within reach for single parents, offering benefits like year-round family housing, child care, financial assistance, and academic support. These 20 colleges are doing a particularly impressive job accommodating and welcoming single parent families to campus.
At Wilson College in Pennsylvania, women with children 20 months and older are able to take advantage of year-round, family-friendly on-campus housing with child care, providing great access to the program’s participants. Many mothers are able to enjoy the full college experience, including participating in sports, clubs, and scholars programs, plus, the Women with Children Program has its own activities including family park trips.
The Single Parent Support System Program at Saint Paul’s College has been helping single parents achieve their educational goals since 1987. Parents with children between two months and nine years old can participate, enjoying tutorial assistance, faculty mentoring, and counseling services. The college also offers child care from the campus Child Development Center.
St. Catherine’s Access and Success Program is available to help student-parents out in several different ways. From financial assistance to child care, housing, and mentoring, single parents and families with children can find lots of support at St. Catherine’s. The campus even offers lactation rooms and child-friendly study spaces with playrooms attached.
Texas Woman’s University shares a Student Parents Also Raising Kids organization, designed to support non-traditional students as they complete their educational goals. Students are encouraged to create daycare partnerships through their connections in the organization, and scholarships are often available to non-traditional students including single parents.
Endicott College in Massachusetts offers a Keys to Degrees program, offering support as parents find a balance between school and real life responsibilities. Students can live on campus year round, and learn on campus with their children. Participants are eligible to graduate in four years.
Thanks to a grant from Endicott College, Ferris State University is able to support single parents with its own Keys to Degrees program. Through educational events and activities for families, students are able to participate in museum tours, swimming lessons, and other great family programs.
Misericordia University offers a special opportunity for single mothers who need to finish their education. Called the Women with Children Program, these students are about to attend classes while living on campus with their children, and also benefit from personal support and financial help to see them through to the completion of a degree and a better life.
Single parent students at Mills College have the opportunity to live in family housing at the campus Underwood Apartments, with priority housing offered for spots in the complex. Children of student parents enjoy priority enrollment in the children’s school on campus as well. The college even offers emergency loans for single parents in need.
Smith College offers the Ada Comstock Scholars Program, making it possible for women of nontraditional college age to earn a degree since 1975. With a part time or full time pace, women 24 and older find lots of flexibility and understanding through the program, including reduced course loads, diverse housing options, and special academic advising.
Since 1987, single parents have found a very supportive atmosphere at Champlain College. Students in the Single Parents Program get support with workshops, resources, and services designed just for single parents, and there’s even a Single Parent Scholarship, offering a full ride to select single parent students from Vermont.
Affiliated with the pro-family Mormon church, Brigham Young University is, not surprisingly, very supportive of families of all kinds. Student parents find lots of support through the Non-Traditional Student program, with community and campus resources that they can call on for help. The campus offers a limited number of apartments for family housing to accommodate single parents and their children, and students can be awarded a scholarship through the Maurine R. and Joseph A. Humphris Fund for Single Parents.
The University of Massachusetts, Amherst offers a study option that makes it easy to find flexible classes: University Without Walls. Appealing to single parents in particular, this online university program allows students to get their degree without having to come to campus.
The College of Saint Mary offers a Mothers Living and Learning program, a residential option for single mothers and children. Up to two children can live on campus with their mom, while the entire family enjoys unique support options including large playrooms, community kitchens, and 24-hour security.
14 Berea College:
At the Berea College Ecovillage, single parent households live on campus for free. The catch? Students just have to satisfy work requirements, including academic positions, college farm work, craft-making, or work in the college-owned hotel.
The Frances Perkins Program at Mount Holyoke provides opportunities for students following unconventional paths, particularly women who are aged 24 and older, and even single moms. Through this program, women are able to select a full-time or part-time schedule that works for their lifestyle.
Baldwin Wallace University’s SPROUT program shares residential options for single parents and their children. With SPROUT, families are able to live on-campus year round in a group living environment, and enjoy assisted childcare and personal development programs. SPROUT parents are also supported through personal development, academic services, and financial aid.
The University of Iowa campus is family-friendly, offering support and services that student parents need to graduate. Of particular interest to new mothers is Iowa’s easy access to more than 30 different lactation rooms on campus, complete with scheduling options and even hospital-grade pumps.
Single mothers who have dropped out of school can find a second chance at Minnesota State University. At the Mankato campus, the Mary Jane Scholarship for Re-Entry Women offers a number of $1,000 awards to parents who have delayed their education due to family issues. Also available is the Coplan Donohue Single Parent Scholarship.
Eastern Michigan University students in the Keys to Degrees Program take part in a supportive single parent community. Participants are expected to help each other out with a babysitting cooperative, as well as emotional an academic support in the community living environment. Students in this program also benefit from financial support and help with day care expenses.
The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire encourages single parents with several different single parent scholarship programs. These include the Single Parent Scholarship, Susan Bruce Single Parent Scholarship, Hero’s Fund for Single Parents, and the Smith Single Parent Scholarship. Thousands of dollars are available every year, and can be awarded for multiple years.