A new report from Generation Hope has highlighted the need for better access to child care for college-level student parents. The report found that 92% of student parents surveyed were either unaware of on-campus child care options or didn’t have access to them. As a result, 71% of student parents relied on family, friends, and other forms of informal child care.

In addition, 74% of respondents reported spending more than 30 hours a week caring for their children while also keeping up with their coursework. Although some schools do have child care on campus, Nicole Lynn Lewis, the founder and CEO of Generation Hope, said there are numerous reasons student parents aren’t able to use it.

According to Lewis, student parents don’t use on-campus child care for various reasons, ranging from long waiting lists, high costs, or not being offered during times when they need care. One way to ensure parents have access to child care is to provide funding to colleges for better child care programs.

The Department of Education’s Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) grant program allocates funding to colleges and universities for this purpose. In 2022, the program awarded 301 grants, averaging over $270,000 each. However, colleges also face a lack of data about how many students are also parents, and Lewis believes that this data can help colleges understand their needs.

Lewis said that campuses must work with student parents to develop solutions, and it’s essential to have student parents at the table to help make these decisions. “What we see when things fail is that we’re not engaging the people who are most impacted,” she said. Making child care more accessible also means making it more affordable.

Over 80% of student parents surveyed reported an annual household income under $30,000. However, the Economic Policy Institute’s 2023 report found that the average annual costs of infant child care in Maryland are over $15,000, which is equal to almost $1,300 a month.

The lack of affordable child care has a significant impact on student parents’ ability to complete their degrees. According to Lewis, many student parents are forced to drop out of school because they can’t afford child care, and others are unable to devote enough time to their coursework due to their child care responsibilities.

“We want to make sure that student parents are getting the same opportunities and the same access to education as their peers,” said Lewis. “We know that investing in student parents and their children has a ripple effect, not just on their lives but on the entire community.”

The report highlights the need for better access to child care for college-level student parents. With better funding, more data, and more involvement from student parents, colleges and universities can provide better child care options that help student parents succeed in their academic careers.

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/EditorEditor-in-Chief

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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