- Inside Higher Ed reports on the impact of increased spending in the recent congressional Omnibus bill for college students with young children. Appropriations for Child Care Access Means Parents in School program (CCAMPIS) will grow from $15 million to $50 million during the next fiscal year to help reduce childcare costs and encourage college completion among those parents on campus.
- Demographic estimates identify the average student parent as a 30-year-old non-white student, and typically responsible for a higher level of student debt than students who attend college without children. Recent federal data shows that 50% of student parents who began college in the 2003-04 had defaulted on their loans in 12 years.
- Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Spring, CO is an example of the how an increase in funding for parents on campus can help boost retention and graduation numbers. According to school officials, the college enrolls about 60 student parents each semester who receive subsidies for childcare costs. Of the 68 student parents enrolled during the 2016-17 academic year, 24 graduated and 37 continued with their degree pursuits.
Increasingly, higher education experts and officials are discovering that students who receive support for the parts of their lives which are outside of the classroom and study hall, often are more academically successful. States, foundations, and institutions are creating more programs to address student needs in childcare, food access, housing, and transportation, to help students dedicate more attention to attending class and earning credits in a timely way.
The usual actors in pioneering these kinds of programs are community colleges and technical schools, given the decline of childcare centers in public and private institutions across the country over the last 10 years, and the increasing costs for the service which can command up to 40% of monthly income. These schools are still active in funding on-campus services or funding resources because their historic student profile requires these kinds of auxiliary programs to help market the institution and to boost retention.
Four-year institutions which are now realizing the value of these kinds of services can consider using existing resources to support the student-parent access objective while creating job training opportunities for other students. Schools of education with early childhood and secondary education degree programs have a built-in workforce for child care programs on campus. University foundations are likely to find eager corporate and private donors for programs which seek to give parents funds to help with getting to class and to work. The opportunities appear endless for a population that requires as much socio-emotional support for completion as it does educational resources.