We’re on a mission to empower.

Project Self-Sufficiency helps low-income single parents graduate from college or vocational training with the skills necessary to achieve economic independence. We do this by providing customized, wraparound services throughout their educational journey and transition into career.

Did you know?

More than one in five college students—or 22% of all undergraduates—are parents. 11% of all undergraduates are raising children without a partner.  43% of student parents are single mothers.  The number of single mothers in college more than doubled between 1999-2012, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.  

Higher education is the key to thriving, not just surviving.

Education can be a path out of poverty. 90% of low income students see their incomes increase when they successfully graduate, according to a report by the Pew Charitable Trust. Post secondary education is associated with higher incomes, better health, and improved educational outcomes for children. Single mothers with college degrees are much less likely to live in poverty (IWPR, July 2018). Increasing degree completion among single mothers improves economic security and long-term outcomes for families.

Single parent college students face a unique set of challenges.

Single parent college students face significant obstacles that make graduation difficult, such as high levels of poverty and intense time demands due to caring for children (Institute for Women’s Policy Research, May 2018).  Only 28% of single mothers graduate within 6 years.

Student parents are more likely than traditional students to say that financial difficulties are likely to result in their withdrawing from college (Miller, Gault, and Thoman, 2011).  89% of single student mothers are low income.

19% of community college students in California reported being homeless at some point during the previous year (OC Register, March 2019).  Singe mothers often must spend half of their income on housing costs (Bush 2010).

What We Do

Project Self-Sufficiency uses a holistic model of providing financial and psychosocial resources to support a path for a successful academic journey toward economic self-reliance.  Our suite of services and supports are customized to meet each scholar’s most pressing needs in order to keep them in school and on track to becoming economically self-sufficient.

A Recipe for Success

About 80% of PSS Scholars successfully graduate with a degree. Four times more PSS scholars graduate than the national average for low-income students! 100% report higher incomes, increased access to stable housing, and improved self-esteem. PSS scholars gain job skills, a career path, and increased confidence on their way to becoming economically self-sufficient. They become your nurses, accountants, social workers, teachers, and community leaders.

Our Accomplishments

Degrees earned since 2009

Families Helped Since 1984

Families Served in 2019

A single mom’s perspective

“As a single mom in college, I am pulled in so many directions. I have to juggle my kids’ needs, my own coursework and classes, and my part-time job. I don’t have a partner, so it’s really stressful and money is always tight. I struggle with mom guilt sometimes. I know I’m getting an education so I can better provide for my kids, but it’s so hard. PSS’s support is not just financial – it helps me emotionally and keeps me focused on my goals. Thank you so much!”

Become a PSS Scholar

Are you a low-income single parent attending college? Do you live, work or go to school in Orange County? Are you highly motivated to succeed? You may qualify to become one of our PSS Scholars. Click the button below to see if you meet our eligibility criteria to apply.

Start Here

How You Can Help


Help PSS families by volunteering your time.  Participate in events and fundraising efforts throughout the year.  There’s no better way to give back to your community than helping families become self-sufficient.

Community Partnership

Project Self-Sufficiency collaborates with the community, civic groups, faith groups, private foundations and in-kind service providers that believe in our mission and stand with us to break the cycle of poverty in our community.

Financial Contributions

Your financial contributions are an investment in the future of our community. Donate securely to give a low-income single parent the advantages they need to complete their education, like scholarships, textbooks, and more.

Project Self-Sufficiency

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit

Tax ID #33-0597719

307 Placentia Ave, Suite 203 Newport Beach, CA 92663

Located inside the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living