By Natalie Pattillo

2014 report by the Institute of Women’s Policy Research found that about 4.8 million, or a quarter of all college students in the United States, juggle parenthood and schoolwork. And they face staggering barriers to success. As of 2015, only 31 percent of single mothers ages 25 and older held a college degree, compared with 54 percent of married mothers and 40 percent of women overall. Even when single mothers graduate, they are more likely to have more debt than both their non-parent and married mother peers. On average, single mothers who earn a bachelor’s degree carry nearly $30,000 in student debt one year after graduation—$4,800 more than women without children. Much of the debt accrued by single parents is a result of the high costs of childcare, without which they’d often be unable to graduate at all.

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