Day Care Needed on Campus, Expert Says
There is an issue brewing on college campuses impacting undergraduates who double as parents — no, not tuition, but rather on-campus day care programs.
A University of Illinois professor who is an expert in early childhood education says that the lack of affordable, high-quality on-campus day care programs is a stealth issue that has the potential to harm both the student-parent and the child.
According to Brent McBride, a professor of human development at Illinois, college drop-out rates of traditional undergraduate students who are also full-time parents is a growing problem in the U.S., one that's amplified by the lack of acceptable child care options for students pursuing a bachelor's degree.
"The typical scenario is a young 18- to 20-year-old woman who's away from home for the first time, separated from her familial support system, and may be in a difficult relationship with their partner," McBride told Phsyorg.com. "It's mostly a hidden issue, and that makes it that much worse for those student-parents, because it tends to make them feel that much more isolated. It's just a difficult situation all around."
The challenges for student-parents are obvious. Among them are a lack of money, lack of support and understanding, and adult responsibilities.
Finding affordable child care is another big challenge.
McBride, who also is the director of the university's Child Development Laboratory, told Phsyorg.com that he believes campus-based support programs may provide the assistance that student-parents need to complete college while successfully raising a child.
"What we've found and what the literature supports is that traditional undergraduate students who are suddenly thrust into this role of parent aren't prepared for all the responsibilities being a full-time parent entails. They've been focused on social relationships and educational endeavors, but they haven't thought about being a parent with a newborn baby," he said.