What Percentage of College Students are Mothers?

To know about what percentage of college students are mothers…read on this article…!

It is often heard that motherhood is a full-time job that requires a lot of time, patience, and learning. Can you balance parenthood and formal education? How many college students, perhaps even students in your classroom, are parents themselves? It requires a great deal of hard work and resilience to balance the learning of parenthood with a formal college education. However, according to statistics, many mothers in America find themselves in this exact position. 

What Percentage of College Students are Mothers?

What Percentage of College Students are Mothers?

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), nearly 26% percentage of college students are mothers. This means that 1 in every five undergraduate students is a mother. Of the 26% recorded by the IWPR, half of those students are single parents. 37% are African American, 33% are Native American, and 25% are Latino students. Student parents face many challenges in the college setting and make up a portion of the most vulnerable groups within student environments.

Facts about the statistics of student Mothers

  • The majority of the mothers in college are relatively older than their student peers. Statistically, the median age for a student’s mother is 34 years of age, while the average student is aged between 19 and 25.
  • Half of the student mothers are people of color. With the majority being single parents working full-time jobs, thus increasing social vulnerability.
  • Most student mothers drop out before completing their diplomas or degrees due to not having sufficient time to focus on their studies. 
  • Nearly 75% of student mothers are from low-income economic backgrounds.
  • Child care facilities on college campuses are decreasing.

The Challenge of Being a Student Mother

  • Being a student and a mother is hard because there are multiple roles that need to be fulfilled. Dual roles are hard to maintain and can weigh down and impact the ability to fulfill the needs of both roles. 
  • Being a student mother can be isolating, especially because the majority of statistics show the prevalence of single student mothers. With barely enough time to fulfill two or three roles, the experience of student motherhood can be a lonely one.
  • Anger is a common emotion many student mothers feel. Anger at the world, anger at their inability to complete or meet deadlines. Anger at the unfairness of their circumstances. Anger at the lack of resources available to support student mothers. It is okay to be angry, just don’t take that anger out on yourself or your children.
  • Restlessness. Being a student mother is a busy lifestyle. Do the bees think they’re busy? They haven’t tried to get a college education and raise/support a kid at the same time! Many student mothers, for this reason, have difficulty slowing things down or taking a break.

Specific Struggles as recorded by Student mothers

  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Balancing Night Study and Childcare
  • Missing work due to skipping lectures
  • Inability to access library facilities
  • Struggles with Examination
  • Financial struggles
  • Mental health challenges

How to Make it as Student Mother

Tip #1: Timing is Everything

It is important to have a detailed schedule and plan as meticulously as possible. Time management is life dependent for any mom who is a student and/or working full time.

Tip #2: Try to Avoid Burnout

While time management is important, it is also important to make time to spend with your child as well as have time to rest. Try and work in some quality time with your child within everyday routines like bedtime or breakfast routing. Even super-mom needs time to rest!

Tip #3: Use your friends and family!

It is of vital importance that you build a support network of friends and family! You don’t have to do this alone. Let the people in your life know when you need help. Communication is everything, and the strongest student parents know when to ask for help.

Tip #4: Your Kids are a part of your life. Include them!

Get creative and involve your kids in your study time! Give them a fun task to do while you try to meet your study goals. Involve them, but remember to try and make it fun too. This way, you get things done but also get to spend time with your kids!

What Can Colleges Do to Help?

Support Structure

The statistics by the IWPR claim that childcare support at colleges and universities is decreasing. One way in which educational institutions can and should help is by providing on-campus support structures and facilities to accommodate student mothers. Educare and Day-Care are important, and many student mothers rely on these resources to make it through their education.

Maternity Leave

Sometimes, a mother needs to be only a mother. Children get sick, and oftentimes for many reasons, a mother may need time off or an extension on a project in order to care for the needs of her child. Institutions of higher education should have a system in place that makes room for these unprecedented incidents.


As mentioned above, daycare facilities are important. But campuses should also have additional facilities such as family rooms, lactating rooms, and changing tables available to student parents who may need to bring their children with them to campus.

Scholarships and Grants

Much higher education institutions have access to resources that offer various grants and scholarships. Designing specific scholarship and grant opportunities modeled for student parents may help not only accommodate the success rate of student parents but also allow opportunities to alleviate some of the specific challenges faced by many student parents.


Student Mothers are of the most vulnerable groups in Academic institutions with many nuanced challenges that they face. However, despite this, many student mothers have very successful academic careers. As a society, it is important to advocate for the support of student parents. Student mothers are resilient and strong individuals who deserve a lot of respect and praise for trying to build a better life for themselves and their children through education and determination.