By Elissa Strauss

According to a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 55 percent of four-year public campuses had onsite child care centers in 2003. Today, less than half do. The number of onsite child care centers at community colleges is also on the decline, decreasing from 53 percent in 2003 to 44 percent in 2015. During roughly the same time period, the number of student parents nationwide rose from around 3.5 million to almost 5 million. The largest share (43 percent) of student parents are single mothers, 89 percent of whom live in low-income households. Previous studies have found student parents drop out of college at a higher rate than any other demographic—only 33 percent of these students obtain a degree within six years—and there is a correlation between the absence of affordable and accessible child care for student parents and lower rates of degree attainment.

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