KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — States can get a substantial return on investment if they help single mothers in college access child care, support services and financial aid, according to a new study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

But even though about 10% of all undergraduates in Kansas and Missouri are single mothers, neither state makes significant investments in helping them persist to graduation, KCUR reports.

IWPR estimates it would cost between $7,000 and $8,000 per student mother to provide child care while she was enrolled in college, and Kansas and Missouri would get back up to $4.54 per dollar invested in the form of increased tax payments and reduced public assistance benefits after the mothers graduated.

Victoria Worden didn’t have affordable child care when she got pregnant the first time. With no one to watch her daughter while she did schoolwork, she had to drop out of college.

Now she’s trying again, this time with three young children at home.

“So sometimes I’m typing papers with Disney movies in the background really loud, which is distracting. Sometimes I’m holding a toddler,” said Worden, who’s working on an associate degree at Metropolitan Community College-Penn Valley. “Sometimes I’ll really get on a roll, you know, be doing really well and getting something done finally, and then they’ll have a big argument that stops everything.”

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