According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, child care is vital for the 4.8 million parents in college, but because of federal funding shortfalls and long waiting lists, only 15 percent of the millions eligible receive subsidized care. For single moms at New York–area universities, it can be common to spend several days or weeks scouring for options just to wind up with significant student-loan debt.
Amina (some names have been changed) is a 39-year-old mom living in Brooklyn. Initially, her mother watched her 11-month-old daughter while she studied for her master’s at NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. But when her mother passed away unexpectedly, Amina was left scrambling to find child care. And when she told her professors about the unforeseen loss, one of them told her that she should consider taking a break from her studies.