Economic decisions of single mothers pursuing postsecondary education

Date

2007-08

Authors

Hunken, Kristina

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Abstract

This study examines the experiences and financial decisions of eight single mother undergraduate students attending Texas Woman's University. I used a socio-demographic questionnaire and conducted in-depth interviews to collect data. Erving Goffman's concept of stigma addresses how the perceived stigma attached to public assistance/welfare may deter single mothers from seeking public assistance. I sought to address the following questions: (1) What are the experiences of single mothers who are sole parenting while pursuing postsecondary education at Texas Woman's University? (2) How do these women simultaneously finance their college educations while being the sole providers for their children? (3) How does access to resources and support, both financial and emotional, influence their decisions to apply for public assistance and/or debt-incurring loans? Findings indicate that feelings of stigmatization deter women from seeking public assistance benefits, and that many single mother college students subsist on student loans and amass large amounts of debt.

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Keywords

Women's studies, Welfare, Higher education

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