College students with dependent children who are enrolled in for-profit universities are spending up to 1,000% what their counterparts in community colleges.

These are the results announced by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), a 501(c)(3), tax-exempt federal government organization dedicated to studying the conditions of women and their families while helping formulate policies that better their lives.1

The IWPR also found out that single parents with their dependent children compose 12 percent of total college students, that they have significantly less money to handily pay for college tuition, that they end up needing more money even after they have received financial aid and that they have an expected family contribution (EFC) of zero dollars. (Figure 1)

And worst of all, single parents with dependent children accrue much more student debt than what other students take out.

So not only are single parent students cut off from financial support from their primary families, but they also have on average 20 to 30 percent more debt than the average student. (Figure 3) And things aren’t looking too bright on the long-term either: the IWPR found that single parents still owed about thrice the debt of their other classmates.

  • Average Annual Loans Taken by Student Parents, by Institution Type, 2008
  • Average Unpaid Loans, 10 Years After Graduation (1993-2003)
  • Percent of Students with Expected Family Contribution (EFC) of Zero, 2008
  • Average Annual Unmet Student Financial Need After All Aid (Including Loans), 2008
  • Average Cumulative Undergraduate Debt, One Year After Graduation

Kevin Miller of the IWPR has this to say: “Postsecondary credentials should be a pathway out of poverty, not a source of decades of debt.” Miller does, however, point out that adequate aid and support for single parent students – along with other nontraditional students – can help make higher education much more attainable without having to take out tens (or even hundreds) of thousands of dollars in student debt.

Miller even goes on to highlight the “dual-generation” benefits of decent access to college; increasing the odds that the children of these single parents will pursue a college degree as well.

Well, at least that goes for community colleges where the aim is to educate students and not to turn a quick buck on their debt woes.


  1. Source: Single Student Parents & Financial Aid []

Last updated: June 7, 2012 by & filed under Blog

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