A Democrat lawmaker has resolved to address the child-care concerns of student parents enrolled in community colleges and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs).
Last week, Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) introduced the Preparing and Resourcing Our Student Parents and Early Childhood Teachers (PROSPECT) Act that would make critical investments in childcare and early childhood educators in such colleges.
The new bill would provide free, high-quality infant and toddler childcare to student parents at grantee institutions and work on building capacity and quality of the infant-toddler educator workforce.
According to the “College Students with Children” report conducted by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in 2017, there are more than 4.8 million student parents across the United States, predominantly residing in the southeast, southwest or Great Lakes regions of the country.
Students would be also eligible for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) subsidy under the bill. It would further require all colleges to share information on the Dependent Care Allowance with students.
“Millions are raising kids and have enrolled in college to improve their life circumstances for their children, but too many are forced to drop out because quality child care is unavailable or unaffordable, leaving them without a degree and saddled with student debt,” Booker said.
“This legislation will address this crisis by investing in campus child care and infant-toddler educator preparation programs, making our college campuses better equipped to help today’s students succeed.”
Studies have found that parents with children, especially single parents, often have lower rates of degree attainment compared to traditional students. Furthermore, only 27 percent of single parents are able to attain a degree within six years of enrollment.