Handsel represents one of 3.9 million student-parents pursuing post-secondary education. But according to a new report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, only five percent of their child care is supplied on campus. In fact, it’s estimated there are only 54,400 slots for the more than 1.1 million children under the age of 14.

The result?

“Without child care, a lot of these parents won’t graduate,” said Kevin Miller, the report’s lead author…

…Student-parents are often erroneously associated with teen pregnancies — especially now that teen moms are so often featured in the media. But the average age of the student-parent demographic is 33, and 50 percent are married.

“The link in people’s minds is stronger than it should be,” Miller said. “And this knee-jerk reaction that people have, that maybe we shouldn’t be providing them with services, is just a form of victim blaming,”

Paired with this misconception is a lack of data on college campuses about student-parents, as most universities don’t maintain records about the students’ parental status.

“In terms of designing services and allocating resources, there are campuses where administrators are aware. But on some campuses, student-parents are an invisible population,” said Miller.