Single Parent Success in a Community College: A Milestone and Momentum Point Analysis

Community college leaders and research acknowledge the growth of single parents in the student population. For many single parents, community college is the access point into higher education. However, significant gaps in the understanding and profiling of this population still remain. Although many of the qualitative experiences of single parents are outlined in existing research, an analysis of specific academic achievements of single parents is needed. An analysis of persistence, retention, unit counts, grade point averages, and other quantitative measures, while collected state-wide, have not yet been effectively analyzed and introduced into the single-parent conversation. This project employed the milestone and momentum point analysis to examine how single parents are achieving both intermediate and broader educational objectives. The results reveal strong percentages of persistence and retention. Also, single parents were found to perform better than other student groups in credit accumulation especially in low-unit career-focused coursework. A discussion of data reveals additional assets of single parents within multiple areas of life: parenting, community, and career. Additionally, key momentum points for single parents are identified.