Center for Women Policy Studies
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Ending Poverty:  Access to Postsecondary Education for Low Income Women
The Center continues its long term focus on alleviation of women’s poverty through humane welfare policy, access to educational and employment opportunities, and respect for low income women’s struggles – and resiliency.  Since 1988, the Center has promoted access to postsecondary education for low income women as an effective welfare reform and poverty alleviation strategy. 

We have published research and policy analyses that demonstrate that education is an effective route from poverty to economic and social success for low income women. Related publications:

Our state by state analysis of TANF implementation in the states reveals that 49 of the 50 states allowed welfare recipients to participate in some form of postsecondary education in the years immediately following passage of TANF in 1996. 

Our research with TANF recipients demonstrates their commitment to college success and to economic self-sufficiency

Our Profile of Low Income Women Students in Postsecondary Educational Institutions provides demographic data on low income women college students – who represent a substantial percentage of all women college students.


Project EMPOWER (Effective Models of Postsecondary Opportunity for Women through Education Reform) identifies “best practices” in both public policy and postsecondary educational institutions that create educational opportunities for low income women students.  

“Best practices” can include:  academic and counseling programs; essential support services – child care, financial aid, health care services, transportation assistance; programs to help students balance work, school and family; and, efforts to improve the campus climate for low income women students.

The Center will share the “best practices” with our national network of women state legislators and with colleagues in advocacy organizations and in the academy.


Public Policy on “Marriage Promotion”
The Center’s Symposium on Multiethnic Feminist Visions of Fatherhood considered the potentially negative impact of fatherhood-focused programs for low income men on women’s autonomy.  Participants discussed the extent to which conservative social policy promotes traditional patriarchal family structures as the panacea for a broad range of societal ills.  They also explored the impact of these policies on women’s struggles for self-sufficiency and for equality in both the workplace and the home.  The Symposium explored the intersections of gender, race, and economic discrimination and the need for woman-centered solutions to poverty alleviation.