Clinton Proposes Financial Help for Students with Children

Policy
Posted By Eliana Osborn on September 23, 2015 at 3:51 pm
Clinton Proposes Financial Help for Students with Children

Taking care of yourself is hard enough during college.  Add a kid into the mix, and you’re talking about a whole lot more stress.  But those who’ve had children at a young age still need to advance their education.  And part of Hilary Clinton’s recent proposal for higher education reform includes help for parents in college.

There are two parts to Clinton’s proposed plan.  The first is a $1,500 maximum grant to help parents pay for childcare expenses while attending classes, including transportation, babysitters, and more.  Up to one million students would be eligible for such grants, which would have maximum GPA requirements.

The second component of Clinton’s plan is an expansion of the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program.  Current funding for the program is just $15 million, which goes toward campus child care centers. Proposed funding would increase the program’s funding to $250 million, creating a quarter of a million more available childcare spots.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, 4.8 million undergraduate students are raising children—nearly a quarter of the total number of students.  And more than two million of these students are parents attending community colleges, where they make up 30% of the total.

Without affordable, available child care, students miss classes and struggle to succeed in college.  Those already at the bottom of the economic ladder fall behind rather than rise, perpetuating a cycle of hardship for themselves and their children.

Mothers are more likely than fathers to be raising children while in enrolled in college, although the whole parent population is at increased risk for not completing their degree.  As higher education policy focuses on getting students through a bachelor’s degree program as quickly as possible, the particular difficulties of parents must be considered.

According to the National Journal, “The percentage of public two-year and four-year colleges offering child care has actually declined, from 53 percent in 2003 to 46 percent in 2013, while federal funding has remained relatively constant at about $15 million.” With so many student parents, childcare will continue to be one of many pertinent issues for prospective students choosing schools – and for presidential candidates in 2016.

Eliana Osborn
Eliana Osborn is an associate English professor at Arizona Western College, with degrees from Brigham Young University and Northern Arizona University. She’s published widely in forums such as The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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