Elaine Young, a student at Savannah State University, has a newborn and two other children. Though Young is married and two of her children are in grade school, she has an infant girl to worry about when she’s in class.
On the mornings that Young has class, she wakes up early to prepare Christina and Elijah for school. She dresses them in their uniforms, prepares breakfast when she can, and sends them off with either her husband, who is a county police officer, or her mother. Young’s mother watches the baby, Abigail, while she is in class.
Young is not alone.
There are approximately 4.8 million student-parents on college campuses across the country, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. However, fewer than half of four-year colleges provide campus childcare. For many student-parents, finding affordable childcare is difficult.
Student-parents who are more likely to be in need of these resources are low-income parents, single mothers, and families of color, according to the research.
Thirteen out of the 52 four-year institutions in Georgia provide daycare services for students. These include Georgia State University, Fort Valley State, and Emory University.
At Georgia State University, the College of Education and Human Development created a child development program for their students, faculty, and staff. The enrollment for this program is primarily for the children of GSU students and state of Georgia employees.
The purpose of the program is to provide care services for student-parents who are unable to send their children to outside daycare facilities. It’s offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
The program is part of the federally-funded Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. In May, a few senators in urged Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos to increase the fund, which would reduce the number of students who could not afford child care.
The CCAMPIS program strives to meet the needs of, primarily low-income, student-parents who struggle to find affordable child care while they pursue higher education. About a quarter of all college students have a dependent child.
Savannah State University once offered childcare when it first had the teacher education program; however, the university no longer provides daycare services.
Young is one of many students at Savannah State who would like to see the university consider bringing the program back, but she has reservations.
“If SSU started up a daycare center, my concern would be [the] potential negligence of the young parents and the day care staff," she said.