Journal of Family and Economic Issues

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 132–144 | Cite as

The Invisible Village: An Exploration of Undergraduate Student Mothers’ Experiences

  • Courtney Kensinger
  • Dorlisa J. MinnickEmail author
Original Paper


This study explored the experiences of mothers in college using a qualitative design. Results showed that a lack of financial resources was the chief barrier for student mothers in their educational pursuits while social/emotional support was the most important contributor to student mothers’ success in college. Participants relied heavily on student loans to cover costs of childcare or family to help watch their children. Role conflict experienced by student mothers has implications on family and college retention. Implications of this study included the adaptation and revisions of policies at the state and federal levels in addition to implications at the university level. Limitations of the study included a lack of racial and ethnic diversity and only including student mothers currently enrolled in college. Several recommendations for future research are described.


Undergraduate student mothers Gender Women Role conflict College campuses 



The study was funded by a Graduate Research Grant (GR2015/16- 09) through the Institute for Public Service at Shippensburg University.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.South Central Community Action ProgramChambersburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social Work and GerontologyShippensburg UniversityShippensburgUSA

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