The best path to a job that pays a living wage capable of sustaining a family is through postsecondary education. In the United States, women with a bachelor’s degree earn, on average, more than twice the amount that women with less than a high school diploma earn. Yet, women who work full-time, year-round earn less than men at the same educational level, and at all but one level they earn the same as or less than men with lower educational qualifications, indicating that women need more educational qualifications than men do to secure jobs that pay well.
One in four college students in the United States is raising a child. Nearly half of black women college students are raising children. Recognizing the necessity of higher education in increasing women’s earning power, IWPR’s Student Parent Success Initiative (SPSI) seeks to improve access and graduation for low-income student parents—particularly mothers—in college settings. Specifically, through a combination of research and outreach activities that aim to encourage information-sharing, educate leaders and policy makers, and improve public policies and resources, SPSI works to raise awareness about both the challenges and promise represented by parents seeking postsecondary degrees.