Disclaimer: As a parenting student, I am incredibly grateful for the benefits I have received through the CSU system. I love the children’s center on campus and, up until recently, I didn’t know that access to childcare was so limited. This blog post is written out of my disappointment toward the many locations that don’t even bother establishing a children’s center, as well as the states that make it nearly impossible to get help.
Why do you make it so difficult for us moms (and dads) to finish school successfully? Do you know that one of the major reasons that mothers drop out is a lack of childcare? Many times that lack isn’t because there isn’t a child care center on campus, but because YOU have chosen to put tight restrictions on subsidized care.
For example, I found out that, after 24 post-graduate units, you won’t cover my classroom hours. Why? My degree is a 30-unit program so shouldn’t that stipulation be adjusted appropriately? I think it should be a varied limit that is specific to the needs of each parenting student and not some set amount that might work for the “average” program, but not for all.
Also, the “rules” in many states are unrealistic where certain requirements like work hours exist. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) states, “Rather than assisting students with the high cost of community-based child care some states have subsidy rules that make it difficult for college students, especially, to get help. IWPR’s analysis finds that 11 states require college students to also be employed to be eligible for child care subsidies, and 3 of those states (Arizona, Kentucky, and Washington) require parents to work at least 20 hours per week—an amount proven to diminish rates of college completion among students overall.”
What in the world? This disappoints me. Have you been a parenting college student? Why must we prove ourselves capable of wearing our bodies and minds thin alongside our time with our children? Being successful in college requires many study hours, when do you propose these parents work – especially those who are single?
And to those colleges who chose to either delay or cut funding to a children’s center – why? Shouldn’t you try your darnedest to invest in the growing population of parenting students? Do you realize that, by closing your childcare facilities OR refusing to open one all together, you are excluding a large population? Further, in limiting childcare, you are widening the gap between the success rates of white students and minorities. IWPR asserts that, “Supports for students with children are also important for closing racial/ethnic gaps in postsecondary education: Nearly half of all Black women in college are raising young children, and two in five Native American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander women and one in three Latina students are mothers to dependent children.”
I urge you to place this need as a top priority when examining your budgets. I urge you to consider your entire student population and not just the traditional. Your success rates will decline and worse, your students will never be able to pull themselves out of socioeconomic difficulties, if you don’t do your part.