One in five college students in the United States are parents, and often schools cannot fully provide the kind of support young parents need to ensure success. Currently, only 8% of single-mother students in Illinois complete an Associate degree within six years, compared to 60% of students without children, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. Additionally, one in three black women in college — who are already underrepresented in higher education because of systemic racism and historic barriers — are single parents. New Moms’ Academic Coaching program was created to address this disparity. Through monthly stipends, childcare support, and individual and group coaching, New Moms provides a resource for young moms looking to graduate from postsecondary education and find work in family-sustaining, living-wage jobs.
“We believe intentional investment in the postsecondary persistence and achievement of young moms will have lasting positive influences on families and communities,” said Gabrielle Caverl-McNeal, Senior Director of Employment and Academic Coaching at New Moms.
This is why ECMC Foundation, which is funding a significant portion of the pilot program, is making this investment in postsecondary persistence, anticipating that this will lead to more mothers of color graduating from college and working in family-sustaining, living wage jobs. This pilot program is also funded in part by the State of Illinois.
Together with the City Colleges of Chicago, New Moms is piloting a three-year program, with the goal of increasing degree attainment for young moms in Chicagoland. The results of this project will have important implications for the national conversation on how to support young moms pursuing degrees and will be evaluated by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
“City Colleges of Chicago is dedicated to eliminating barriers and addressing inequities that impact access to higher education for underserved communities,” said Juan Salgado, Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago. “We are grateful to partner with New Moms in the mission to increase entry to college. The new Academic Coaching program is a powerful example of our shared investment in supporting young parents as they pursue their education.”
The pilot will recruit 25 Chicagoland young moms pursuing a long-term academic certificate or Associate degree. Participants will work with coaches to select the accredited institution of whose schedules, course offerings, and credentialing align with their goals. Most have selected City Colleges of Chicago, a partner of New Moms. During the program, each participant will receive monthly support, including:
Young moms will remain enrolled in the program for up to 3 years, or until they complete their degree, with additional follow-up support offered post-graduation.
New Moms (Chicago)
5317 W. Chicago Ave.
Chicago, IL 60651
New Moms (Western Suburbs)
206 Chicago Avenue
Oak Park, IL 60302
New Moms strengthens families by partnering with young moms as they progress toward housing stability, economic mobility, and family well-being. We envision a future where every young family thrives.