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Cost and child care most challenging for student parents, report finds

The cost of higher education and the cost of child care are the “biggest hurdles” for student parents in colleges across the nation, according to a new report from the Education Trust, Imaginable Futures, and Generation Hope.

The study found that a college student with children would need to work between 30 to 90 hours per week, depending on the location of their school, to be able to afford both child care costs and tuition at a four-year public college or university. In California, a student parent would need to work at least 41 hours per week to cover the net price of college plus a center-based child care, and at least 38 hours per week for a home-based child care. The study also found that the out-of-pocket costs for students with children can be 2 to 5 times higher than for students without children.

“…child care costs are rising, the federal minimum wage hasn’t budged in 13 years, and financial aid offices often fail to account for the cost of child care when awarding aid,” the report authors wrote.

To alleviate the pressure for student parents, the report authors made several recommendations, including raising the federal minimum wage, permanently restoring a monthly child tax credit, and doubling the Pell Grant.

The college affordability data used in the study was from the Integrated Postsecondary Education System and the U.S. Department of Labor.