by Lois Elfman

Single mothers who earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree earn more, pay more in taxes and require little if any public assistance according to a new study.

A study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) provides state-level analysis on the economic and social returns for single mothers who are able to access higher education and earn their degrees.

Singles mothers are more likely to live in poverty than other women, but the opportunity to enroll in a college or university and earn a degree can completely change that. However, they face numerous obstacles on the road to degree completion, including tuition, food insecurity and stable childcare. Ninety-two percent of single mothers do not graduate on time.

The study, “Investing in Single Mothers’ Higher Education: National and State Estimates of the Costs and Benefits of Single Mothers’ Educational Attainment to Individuals, Families, and Society,” not only shows the benefit to the mothers and their families, but to state and national economies. Fact sheets for all 50 states plus the District of Columbia are available online at

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