COVID-19 has thrown communities across the whole world into chaos and uncertainty. As colleges and universities nationwide grapple with this unfolding reality, we want to highlight resources that may help respond to the heightened needs of a population especially vulnerable at this time—single mother learners. 89% of single mother college students in the US have low incomes ( COVID-19 will disproportionately impact low-income communities), many work in low-paying service industry jobs that may soon disappear in the current economic downturn, and school and childcare closures may add to their time poverty and force them to make even tougher decisions.

In support of our Single Moms Success Design Challenge partners, we’ve compiled a short list of immediate relief resources that may help institutional leaders better support single parent learners and other high-need students during this especially difficult period.

Note: The Lab is not affiliated or tied to any of the organizations or initiatives included here.

 

Hope Center: “BEYOND THE FOOD PANTRY: Supporting #RealCollege Students During COVID-19”

Sara Goldrick-Rab of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice at Temple University published a succinct guide to supporting college students in this time of crisis, especially those who face food, housing, and financial insecurity. You can find additional resources (relevant to COVID-19 and beyond) from the Hope Center at https://hope4college.com/resources/

 

Comcast announces free internet to help keep people connected.

Through mid-May, Xfinity wifi hotspots throughout the country will be accessible for free to anyone who needs them. Low income families can also receive two free months of internet if they sign up for Comcast’s Internet Essentials package, normally $9.95 per month. You can read the full announcement from Comcast at  https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19.

 

Edquity – Streamlined Emergency Funding for Students

As learners face surprise expenses and life changes in the wake of COVID-19, Edquity can connect them quickly with emergency funding and resources. Read here how this mobile app can help support learners’ basic needs in times of crisis like this one.

 

Expensify is matching SNAP grocery purchases up to $50.

Expensify is helping SNAP families in need of extra financial assistance by reimbursing them for EBT grocery purchases of up to $50. For more information and instructions for how families can access this benefit, check out Expensify.org/hunger.


Online Teaching Resources 

The internet has exploded with lists of online teaching best practices over the past couple of weeks. To help streamline efforts to create meaningful learning experiences in virtual environments during this time of crisis, here are a few that stood out to us:

  • Dr. David Joyner, who leads online learning efforts for Georgia Tech’s College of Computing, has published two blog posts about how to make online learning experiences safe, familiar, and student-centric during this pandemic. Part 1 focuses on content and Part 2 on assessment.
  • A Trauma-Informed Approach to Teaching Through Coronavirus: Teaching Tolerance and the National Child Traumatic Stress Network have teamed up to share trauma-informed best practices for supporting learners during this time. (Although this post focuses on K-12, we find much of the guidance relevant for working with learners of all ages!)
  • Southern New Hampshire University has compiled a comprehensive set of easily accessible resources about how to build online learning communities.

 

Taking Action 

Single mother learners encountered plenty of barriers in higher ed prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, and this list focuses on just a few resources that may help alleviate acutely pressing issues. We hope that while responding to the most immediate needs of their student communities, school leaders also bear in mind the crucial bigger picture: how might we reimagine learning and career growth for single mother learners and other new majority learners? 

Interested in joining a broader community committed to supporting parent learners? Let us know by filling out this short form.