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Azariah Manning
May, 2, 2016
English 113B
Professor Mercado
Single Mothers in Poverty
Many single mothers in low income communities are trying to receive a higher
education to get out of poverty. Many mothers want to create a better life for themselves as well
as their families but it is hard to overcome living in poverty. This social issue is very important
because many women are becoming single mothers and do not have a stable job to provide for
their families, According to La times more than 40% of people in Los Angeles in poverty are
single mothers. This shows how important this issue is and solutions need to be made urgently.
Although there has been work to change the circumstances to help these mothers in poverty .
Single mothers still need assistance in receiving a higher education through scholarship programs
as well as welfare programs.
Poverty is very hard to overcome especially if you are a single mother in Los Angeles.
They have to endure a lot of stress and face many adversities. Adversities that have them to
work minimum or low wage jobs to provide for their children. Leaving them less time to really
work on getting a career. Many single mothers would love to receive a higher education to make
more money but it is very difficult to reach that dream while living in poverty. Many single
mothers want a way out of poverty, but there seems to not be any assistance. There is a lack of
assistance due to the government I believe that many women could find their way out if more
opportunities to get them a higher education. Although being a single mother is very demanding;

I believe if more single mothers could go to school they would so they could earn more money
and not stay in poverty.
If receiving a degree is the key to seeing single mothers thrive why is it so hard for them
to participate in college? The issue is because there are not many opportunities provided.
Journalist Amanda Freeman had stated that one study of 158 single mother college students in
New York found that 100 percent of the former welfare recipients who earned college degrees
stopped relying on public benefit programs. Seeing that this is a solution there still seems to be a
lack of programs and opportunities available. The opportunities and public benefits that could
help women are loans, child care programs, information offices and programs through the
welfare system, the reason why we should allow programs through the welfare system is because
if a mother is on welfare they can not receive money, and if they attend school they loose
access to those welfare benefits. But if the mother depends on that financial assistance there is
no way for them to attend school. Fiona Pearson an associate professor at Central Connecticut
State University, found that some in the welfare system discourage single mothers from
achieving a education and steer them into staying with paid work, because the welfare system
does not allow full time students to be credited for assistance. This leaves no choice for the
mother to stay on welfare and not pursue a degree and to stay in poverty. Although, there are
many opportunities to help lower income people; such as the TRIO federal program that helps
disadvantage students progress through the academic and financial struggle. People that are the
first to go to college, or who are disabled, there is not a program that helps benefit single
mothers and their needs specifically. There are not many institutions that accommodate poor
people in general, But when there are programs and opportunities, they do not have a way for

single mothers to hear about them and act upon them. I believe that there should be newsletters
as well information packets sent out that allow mothers to see what they can apply for and do to
reach a better life as well as scholarships that allow women to enroll in school.
Single mothers endure a lot of stress. Not just from having to work hard manual jobs but
also having to worry and take care of their children and making sure they make enough to
provide. The University of Los Angeles issued a release that discussed the study of stress; they
claimed that people in poverty undergo a lot of stress due to their circumstances. Stress can allow
an individual to not perform at their best. Stress in lower income communities tend to affect
single mothers the most because they have such a big responsibility. Not only maintaining a
household but also having to make sure they are present in their child’s education. They cant
focus on themselves because they have to focus on their kids environment. Since they are in low
income communities the overall success in public schooling especially in Los Angeles is not
efficient in a child’s success.
According to Simone Wilson, fewer than half of Compton Students graduate and just
about 2 percent attend college. With statistics like these, it leaves no choice for mothers to really
focus on their child’s future. Allowing single mothers to attend college may also be the solution
to having a better school district because mothers who deal with poor education for their children
may want to embark in that field and really make a difference for those in the community.
Throughout my research many experts such as Mukovhe Masutha the president of the
Students representative Council at University of the Witwatersrand states “I believe that free
higher education will be the biggest salary increment our mothers will ever receive in their
lifetime.” He believes that higher education should be free. It should be free because of the low

amount that single mothers earn , not leaving enough to pay for a education. And if not free,
loans should be more obtainable for single mothers to receive. Even though Masutha is
discussing issues in Africa it is still relevant to the issues we are facing in Los Angeles. This
shows that this problem is global and free higher education will be the solution. Seeing more
single mothers in college will invest more money into our economy, when they graduate and earn
a degree.
There are many politicians who believe in creating a free or more affordable college tuition so
that all people can benefit, including single mothers. President candidate Bernie Sanders built his
entire campaign around more affordable tuition. He strongly believes that all citizens deserve the
opportunity to receive a higher education.
I believe single mothers in poverty have still been an issue because there have not been
any solutions to the problem. Solutions like programs that help with assistance financially like,
more accessible loans as well as all students being able to receive financial aid especially if they
are on welfare. I believe that informing women of low income communities of what is possible
for them to achieve can make a huge difference in the economy. Many mothers in poverty don’t
know where to go to receive help and learn about the possibilities they have to earning a degree.
So I believe that having information offices in the welfare office can allow women to see what is
out there for them education wise. The office can be located right where mothers go to file for
financial assistance. Having this available, I believe we will see a huge rise in the amount of
single mothers applying and attending college.
During my research process I interviewed a single mother who is currently in college, she
began to tell me that she was granted many loans and scholarships to get her degree. She said

that she had no idea until she went to her college and spoke with the schools administration. This
is an issue that is continuing to increase because mothers in poverty are not educated on what
opportunities they have to get out and where to go exactly.
I believe an increase in public benefits and information would be the best solution to
seeing change within poverty and single mothers. The main issue that keeps people in poverty
stagnant is because of the lack of money. If more of that was provided to lower income people
we would see a lot of positive change emerge. Since it is very difficult to see any change within
the government, the best alternate way is to start social groups that help single mothers; social
groups that are filled with single mothers, assisting each other in ways like child care so they
can be able to go to school and have someone watch the children. All single mothers need to
succeed is help so they can achieve a better life.
Many believe that single mothers are allowed many opportunities because they can
receive financial assistance. Assistance that can help them pay for housing, bills and even child
care. But not much is provided, and even though they are on assistance it is hard for them to
receive it and still attend school. But if mothers get off welfare assistance they will have to work
and wont be able to attend school. There seems to not be a way for single mothers to earn a
degree and get out of low income communities.
Living in poverty has been established so that it is hard to overcome, allowing more
programs for single mothers to get a higher education, can not only help the economy but also
help people in low income communities to see that there is a way out and the more people that
earn a degree can help make more money. More money for single mothers can really help them
create and provide a great life for their children and show their children success, showing their

children will inspire them to go to college. Not only is it benefiting our economy it is also
benefiting the future of our nation allowing more careers and money to be earned by everyone
who wants to achieve it.

Work Cited
Freeman, Amanda “Single Mothers and Welfare Woes: A higher education Dilemma” “ The
Atlantic” August,18, 2015.Print.
"Free Higher Education - the Biggest Raise our Mothers Will Ever Receive Opinion]."
“” Oct 21 2015. ProQuest.
Jarrett, Robin “Living Poor: Family Life among Single Parent, African-American Women”
“” Oxford University Press, (Feb., 1994), pp. (30-49) .
Secombe, Karen “Beating the Odds” vs ”Changing the Odds”. “Poverty Resilience and Family
policy.”, “”.NP, May,2002 (384-394).
"Study of Young Parents Highlights Links among Stress, Poverty and Ethnicity." Targeted News
Service Nov 27 2013.