By Ashley A. Smith

Despite the importance of on-campus childcare facilities to student-parents, there has been a decline in the number of campuses that offer them as a resource, said Lindsey Reichlin Cruse, a senior research associate at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

In 2015, less than half of four-year public colleges provided campus childcare, down from 55 percent in 2005, according to IWPR. And the share of community colleges with a childcare center declined from 53 percent in 2004 to 44 percent in 2015.

“It’s expensive to provide and institutions often don’t see providing childcare in the vein of their academic priorities or academic mission, but it’s absolutely in line with their mission and it’s probably the most important support for parenting college students to stay in school and graduate,” Reichlin Cruse said.

Student-parents are also more likely to live in poverty, be single mothers or people of color, she said.

“If we care about improving [racial] equity and broader economic security … we have to be paying attention to this population,” Reichlin Cruse said. “Half of independent students have kids. We have to adapt our higher education system to meet their needs.”

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