Single Mothers Receive Dividends of Spending on College
Single mothers who earn postsecondary credentials are getting good returns on the money they invested on college, a new Institute for Women’s Policy Research report has found.
Currently nearly 2 million single mothers are enrolled in undergraduate programs. In states likes Oregon, California, Vermont, and Washington and Arizona, single mothers make up 7 percent -12 percent of the student body.
According to the report, single mothers get back $12.32 for an associate degree and $7.77 for a bachelor’s degree and even more in many states for every dollar they spend on education.
After graduation, they earn way more with postsecondary degrees than a high school degree. Those with an associate degree earn roughly $256,000 more, while those with a bachelor’s degree earn nearly $625,000 more than what they would have earned with a high school education over their lifetimes.
“Single mothers are the exact population that colleges, communities, and policymakers should be investing in,” IWPR Study Director Lindsey Reichlin Cruse said.
“They are deeply aware of the connection between earning a higher education and building lasting family economic security, but the current system of higher education is not set up to promote their success. Despite extreme demands on their time and finances, and the lack of services, like affordable, reliable child care, that would help them meet their needs, single mothers are highly motivated to provide a better life for their children and to accomplish their educational and career goals.”
And single mothers by getting higher education are not only earning a better living for themselves but they are also paying back to society. The report notes that single mothers with college degrees pay more taxes.
“Among the cohort of currently enrolled single mothers who are expected to earn a degree or some college education, additional lifetime taxes paid add up to a total of $75 million in Wyoming, on the low end, and $9.2 billion in California, at the high end, when compared with the tax contributions they would be expected to make with only a high school diploma or equivalent,” the report states.
They also save the US nearly $20 billion in public assistance spending and investments that are made in child care, case management, and financial aid for all currently enrolled single mothers would pay off multiple times over.
“If states want to boost their economies and meet the workforce demands of the future, they must invest in policies and programs that can help single mothers attend and complete college,” Economist and IWPR Study Director Jessica Milli said.
“Their investment will also continue to pay dividends for future generations,” Mill added.