By Gail Cornwall

“More than half of all Americans, if they have to come up with $400 unexpectedly, they can’t,” says GoFundMe chief executive Rob Solomon. “A car repair can be the difference between finishing college and dropping out.”

The situation is even more dire for the 4.8 million college students — 71 percent of them women, 54 percent single — who are raising dependent children, according to a 2014 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

“Paying for college is hard enough,” Solomon says. “Being a single mother while navigating this financial burden and studying? That’s brutal.”

Only 33 percent of students with children complete a certificate or degree within six years of enrollment, according to the report, in part because of all the time they must spend providing child care (often over 30 hours a week). Moreover, most “have no money to contribute to college expenses . . . Among single students with children, 88 percent have incomes at or below 200 percent of poverty.”

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