By Torey Van Oot
Services like these are the exception, not the rule, and even colleges with support systems for parents in place can’t keep up with the demand for care. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research found that 95% of institutions with child care options had a waitlist; on average, a list is 82 kids long. As colleges and universities tighten spending in the face of budget cuts and rising tuition, many of these care centers are closing altogether. Deep-pocketed donors, whose big checks often offset the costs of some of glitzier offerings, don’t seem as eager to pony up for child care these days.
Part of the problem, advocates working on the issue say, is that many colleges and administrators don’t even realize the needs of this population exist. On top of that, in the end, many universities just “don’t see childcare as part of their fundamental mission as an academic institution,” Lindsey Reichlin Cruse, a senior research associate at IWPR, says. “It’s expensive to run a childcare center. Space is at a premium at most colleges, let alone community colleges,” she explains. “There’s just not a lot of funding out there.”