Lack Of On-Campus Child Care Shouldn’t Keep Moms Out Of College

Career College Central summary:

  • Students paid an average of about $29,000 a year in tuition and fees to attend a four-year, private not-for-profit institution and about $21,700 a year for a four-year public not-for profit institution in 2010, according to a report by the American Association of University Women. As a result, many students have turned to community colleges, where tuition and fees averaged about $3,100 a year in 2010. About 40 percent of all undergraduates attend a community college, and women accounted for about 57 percent of those students in 2010.
  • Yet, even these lower-priced options aren’t accessible to everyone for a simple reason: They don’t offer child-care services. Many students with young children aren’t able to go to college because they can’t find — or can’t afford — someone to take care of the kids while they’re in class. One report found that in more than two dozen states, the cost of day care is more than the cost of tuition and fees for public colleges.
  • While child care is an issue for all parents, it’s a particular issue for mothers. About 1.3 million of the 2 million student parents at community colleges in 2008 were mothers, according to the AAUW. One way to help these moms stay in school is to provide on-campus child care services.
  • This solution would provide multiple benefits. It would allow parents to get an education while also providing care for their children. On-campus child care services would help students earn a little bit of money by working at the center. And, it would allow students who may be pursuing degrees in education to get some hands-on experience at a convenient location.
  • Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is working to make this option attractive. To encourage college students to study and work in child care, the Right Start Act would offer a new tax credit for any college graduate who specializes in child care and works at least 1,200 hours a year in a child care facility.
  • The federal government already provides funding for on-campus child care services through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School  program. The program, which is administered by the Department of Education, provided about $15 million to fund 113 projects in fiscal year 2013. Funding for this program peaked in fiscal year 2001 with $25 million awarded to 307 projects. Unfortunately, only $3.3 million in funding is available for an anticipated 38 new projects and the Department of Education is not accepting new applications for CCAMPIS grants for fiscal year 2014.

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THE WASHINGTON POST

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