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ERIC Number: EJ1051919
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Dec
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1938-8926
Do Single Mothers Take Their Share?: FAFSA Completion among Aid-Eligible Female Students
Radey, Melissa; Cheatham, Leah P.
Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, v6 n4 p261-275 Dec 2013
Approximately 17% of college students are single mothers, a growing and vulnerable subpopulation of women (Miller, Gault, & Thorman, 2011). Although postsecondary education promotes poverty exit, many single mothers--40% of whom live below the poverty line--lack the financial resources for attendance. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a first step to accessing aid. This study uses data from the National Postsecondary Student Aid Study (NPSAS:08) to describe and analyze how student characteristics influence FAFSA application rates among low-income, aid-eligible women and consider how student status (single mother, other independent, or dependent student), race/ethnicity, and poverty level intersect to influence application rates. Descriptive findings showed that almost four-fifths of students filed FAFSAs, with 87% of single mothers doing so. Logistic regression results indicate that single mothers' FAFSA completion advantage disappears and becomes a disadvantage after considering economic and nontraditional characteristics. Significant interactions between poverty level and student status reveal that the poorest aid-eligible single mothers filed at lower than expected rates. Findings support two policy recommendations: FAFSA simplification and targeted personal application assistance.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A