mom and daughter
Student mother and child at Hānaiaulu Childcare Center on campus

Windward Community College is one of only eight community colleges nationwide selected through a competitive application process to participate in College Success for Single Mothers. Funded by ECMC Foundation and led by the National College Transition Network (NCTN), the goal of the three-year project is to identify the needs of single mother students on campus and develop a plan to expand key practices and services to enhance their college and career success.

Single mothers make up an increasing part of the postsecondary student population in the U.S. Eighty-six percent of single mothers in Hawaiʻi live in poverty or are working poor. This means more than 20 percent of Hawaiʻi‘s keiki are also living with these hard economic realities. Windward CC is committed to addressing the barriers single mothers face in attaining higher education and forging a path for economic mobility and success for their families.

“As a single mother myself, I am blessed to have an amazing career with the ability to provide for my children…thanks to higher education. However, the vast majority of single mothers here in Hawaiʻi nei are struggling to provide for basic needs. We must as a society address this if all our keiki and our communities are to flourish. Making college success possible for single mothers creates lasting, intergenerational change,” said Windward CC Chancellor Ardis Eschenberg.

To achieve the project goals, the NCTN is partnering with the Program Evaluation and Research Group at Endicott College, developers of the Family Friendly Campus Toolkit: Using Data to Improve Outcomes, and Achieving the Dream, a national leader in community college reform. These two organizations complement NCTN’s expertise designing effective college and career pathways for adult learners.

College Success for Single Mothers builds on NCTN’s 2019 report, No Matter What Obstacle is Thrown My Way, which documents examples of 17 community colleges that offer targeted programming for student parents. The report recommends that significant work remains to increase institutional capacity to collect data to identify single mothers on campus; provide professional development to faculty and staff on the needs of single mothers; develop diverse and flexible funding sources; and advocate for policies within and outside of the institutions that support single mothers.

Commitment to student parents

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Single mother Erin and son London, the first student parent at Hānaiaulu Childcare Center

Windward CC has already made a significant commitment to serving the needs of student parents by opening a childcare center for infants and toddlers in 2017.

“Ke Kula Kamaliʻi ʻO Hānaiaulu helps to build the capacity of our institution through our Hawaiian Immersion childcare services. We make a difference for student parents, and also cater to a growing community of Hawaiian language speakers, making ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and quality childcare the new norm,” said Pua Kama, director of the Hānaiaulu Childcare Center.

To learn more about Windward CC’s participation in College Success for Single Mothers or to donate to support student parents at Windward CC, contact Chancellor Eschenberg at (808) 235-7402, ardise@hawaii.edu. Donations may also be made online.