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Help Make Postsecondary Education a Reality for Low Income Women

Women’s poverty in the United States is rising. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the percentage of women living in poverty in 2008 was at its highest level in 10 years.

Congress is set to reauthorize the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program this year. TANF, the 1996 “welfare reform” law, made low income “work first” its priority and severely restricted women’s access to a postsecondary education, making it virtually impossible for a TANF recipient to earn a four year college degree.

Higher educational attainment has been shown dramatically reduces a woman’s chance of living in poverty and significantly increases her earning potential. Women with a bachelor’s degree or higher were only 7 percent of all women living in poverty in 2008 – earning an average of $955 per week; but women with only a high school diploma were 24 percent of those living in poverty – earning slightly more than half as much ($520) per week as their college educated sisters. Moreover, the benefits for their children are far reaching – as they fare better in school and have the example of their mothers for their own aspirations for postsecondary education.

If you believe postsecondary education is important for women please join the Center for Women Policy Studies as they ask you to join in renewing their call to “end the burden of poverty” for women and their children in the USA (click here to read the Contract). For more than two decades, the Center has promoted access to postsecondary education as essential to federal/state policy efforts to reduce women’s poverty and ensure their children’s futures.

Below is a sample message for Congress:
Ensure that TANF recipients and other low income women are able to partake of the American Dream and move from poverty to self-sufficiency. Make postsecondary education a genuine option for TANF recipients and remove the restrictions that prevent them from earning a college degree.

Please join the Center’s Global Honor Roll of Leaders for Women’s Human Rights and work with us to make postsecondary education a reality for low income women in communities nationwide (click here to join the Global Honor Roll). And please share your experiences, your expertise, and your research with


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