The inability to find quality, affordable child care can be an issue for economically stable parents, but for student-parents, finding decent care can be nearly impossible.According to a study from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), almost a quarter of undergraduate students in the United States are student-parents. Without access to childcare, these parents may have to resort to bringing their child(ren) to class – possibly distracting their classmates. If they are lucky, they may be able to rely on family or friends. If not, they may end up skipping class altogether.
Of those 3.9 million student-parents, 50 percent are Black, which begs the question: how many HBCUs offer adequate, on-campus childcare?
Why is campus childcare so important? In 2012, the cost of childcare was greater than rent in most states. In addition to being too expensive, off-campus, licensed childcare centers can be too far from campus and may not offer hours flexible enough to accommodate student-parents’ schedules, causing them to incur fees when they are too late to pick up their child.
For these reasons, some student-parents opt for unlicensed childcare facilities, which don’t require background checks and may or may not focus on early childhood education.
The best option for many student-parents is on-campus childcare. Unfortunately, not all schools offer on-campus care, and schools that do give professors priority placement, may charge unreasonable prices or have too few available slots to meet the demand.
It can be a little difficult for prospective HBCU students to figure out which schools offer the best campus childcare. Historically Black schools aren’t exactly known for having the most user-friendly/searchable websites around. But a student-parent who would rather attend an HBCU can start by looking into one of these schools:
Howard University – Complete with a colorful playground, and classroom libraries full of gems like a picture book about Shaka Zulu, the Howard University Early Learning Program offers everything from nature walks and hands-on science lessons to Afrikan Martial Arts.
Serves: Full-time students, faculty and community members.
Ages enrolled: Students ages 3 – 6.
Payment: There are separate tuition options for students, HU employees and community members.
Upsides: A diverse curriculum, flexible hours (children can be dropped off as early as 7:30 a.m. and stay as late as 5:45 p.m.) and a summer program.
Downsides: According to the online brochure, “tuition is subject to change without prior notice.” Meh.
Tennessee State University – Tennessee State boasts two childcare centers: an early learning center on its main campus and a childcare center on its Avon Williams Campus.
Serves: Students, faculty and staff.
Ages enrolled: Ages three and older.
Payment: $100/week. Tuition must be paid on a monthly basis.
Upsides: Focuses on major child development theories regarding cognitive and social-emotional development and offers evening hours Monday thru Thursday.
Downsides: Late fee of $1.00/minute.
Florida A&M University – FAMU’s New Beginnings Educational Research Center offers early childhood education and after school care.
Serves: Priority is give to students and faculty.
Ages enrolled: Preschoolers ages 2.5-5.
Payment: $350/month for students
Upsides: After school care is available for children ages 5-12, students can attend for a maximum of 50 hours per week, thorough information available online.
Downsides: Lots of annual fees listed.
Texas Southern University – TSU’s Child Development Center
Serves: Students, faculty/staff and the community.
Ages enrolled: Infants (6 weeks old) to pre-school-aged students (3 to 5 years of age).
Payment: $618/month for pre-school, $648/month for toddlers and $688 for infants. There is also an annual supply fee of $100.
Upsides: Infant care is offered, the lesson plans are available online and meals are included in the tuition.
Downsides: Part-time care is not available for infants and toddlers. Tuition is a little pricey, and there is no lower rate for students.
Hampton University – Hampton’s Child Development Center admits children of students, staff, faculty, alumni and community members.
Serves: Basically, anyone who has ever been affiliated with the university.
Ages enrolled: Ages 2.5 years to 5 years old.
Payment: $125/week for one child, $112.50 for each additional child
Upsides: Before and after school care available. In addition to the usual puzzles, books and crafts, classrooms are also equipped with tricycles, puppet stages and computers.
Downsides: $20 late fee for the first 15 minutes and a $15 fee for each additional 15 minutes.