Child Care on Campus: A Must for Mothers in College
More than 4 million women attend two-year public institutions or community colleges, and more than 1 million of them are mothers, according to AAUW’s 2013 report Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success.
Mothers in college often wear many hats: parent, employee, wife, breadwinner, caregiver, daughter, sister, student, and more. Faced with so many competing demands, student mothers can struggle to stay enrolled through graduation. Compared with students without dependent children, student parents are more likely to drop out of school, and they most often cite caregiving responsibilities and limited financial resources as their reasons for leaving. A recent study found that “in most states, average child care center fees for an infant are higher than a year’s tuition and fees at a public college.” The astronomical costs of child care put it out of reach for most student parents, making affordable on-campus child care a necessary student support.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, less than half of the more than 1,000 community colleges in the United States offer on-campus child care for students.
- In California—the state with the most community colleges in the country—a majority (84 percent) of community colleges offer on-campus child care.
- Texas and North Carolina, which follow California with the highest numbers of community colleges, offer on-campus child care at only 37 percent and 32 percent of those schools, respectively.
- In Delaware, Nevada, and Rhode Island, all community colleges offer on-campus child care.
- None of the community colleges in Alaska, Vermont, Guam, or Puerto Rico offer on-campus child care.
How Does Your State Stack Up?
|Rank||State||Number of community colleges in state||Number of community colleges with on-campus child care||Share of community colleges with on-campus child care
Source: AAUW analysis of U.S. Department of Education, Integrated postsecondary education data system (IPEDS), Fall 2011, institutional characteristics component. National Center for Education Statistics. Washington, DC.
There’s More Work to Be Done
We can’t explain why some community colleges in some states offer child care and others don’t, but we’re thrilled that community colleges in the majority of states offer some child care services. And until every community college offers this essential service for their student population, our work isn’t done.
What about the community college you attend or that’s in your area? Does it have on-campus child care? If the answer is no, what can you do about it?
- Meet with your local community college to find out what needs exist at the campus.
- Give a presentation in your community about the importance of community colleges and child care.
- See what our Campus Action Teams are doing to improve access to child care on campus
College administrators can also apply for a Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant, when available.
For more information, check out our report Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success.
AAUW Research Assistant Katie Benson contributed to this report.