Boston Globe

At Crittenton Women’s Union, we work with students, mostly single mothers, who attend community college in an effort to transform their lives and successfully cross the economic divide (“Default rates rise for 2-year students,” Page A1, July 20). Many of these women are working full time at low-wage jobs, raising their children, and determined to attend school.

Need-based, state-funded financial aid that could cover the costs of basic living expenses, such as rent, utilities, food, car expenses, and child care, would give these students a real opportunity to succeed. These students do not drop out because they are lazy. They cannot afford to pay their bills and stay in school.

Achieving economic self-sufficiency requires a high wage in Massachusetts. In Boston, a single mother of two children must earn $68,000 a year to avoid relying on public assistance. Jobs at this salary level require post-secondary education. More need-based financial aid for non-education-related expenses would make it possible for low-income students to succeed in school and in the workforce.

By Caitlin Smith, Senior Coordinator of Mobility Mentoring® Center Boston. At the time of this letter’s publication, Ms. Smith’s title was Coordinator of Finance Specialists.