By Casey Quinlan

The number of single mothers enrolled in college more than doubled in just a little over a decade and was twice the rate of growth of overall undergraduate students, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR). Yet, the number of campuses with child care options has declined.

One in four parents who live with their children today are unmarried. And on campus child care is vital to single mothers’ academic success, according to an IWPR report released Thursday.

Researchers looked at data for 10,000 student parents with children under the age of 6 who were enrolled at Monroe Community College in Rochester, New York between 2006 and 2014. Seventy-one percent of the students were female and 60 percent were single parents. Nearly four percent of the single mothers used MCC’s campus child care center. Researchers found that parents who used the child care center had substantially higher persistence rates from the fall semester to next fall semester — 71 percent compared to 42 percent of students who did not use the center. On time graduation was more than three times higher for those who used the center than those who did not.

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