Child Care for Parents in College: A State-by-State Assessment

Eleanor Eckerson, Lauren Talbourdet, Lindsey Reichlin, M.A., Mary Sykes, M.A., Elizabeth Noll, Ph.D., Barbara Gault, Ph.D.

September 1, 2016
  • ISBN:
  • ID: IWPR #C445

Child care is a crucial support for the 4.8 million parents in college, but it is difficult for students to find and afford. Balancing the responsibilities of school, family, and work, student parents with young children rely on affordable, reliable child care arrangements to manage the many demands on their time while pursuing a postsecondary credential. Student parents’ ability to find and pay for child care varies by state. Differences in the availability of child care on college campuses and in the restrictiveness of state eligibility rules for child care assistance means that many student parents have limited access to the services they need to complete school. This briefing paper analyzes data from the U.S. Department of Education on the share of public institutions that provide campus child care, and reviews current state child care subsidy rules, to assess state variation in the challenges facing student parents’ access to affordable, quality child care.