According to a 2011 report from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR), there are nearly 4 million student parents currently enrolled as undergraduates in U.S. colleges and universities; this represents roughly one-quarter of all undergraduates.

A large number of higher-learning institutions have adopted child care programs. EducationDepartment.org notes more than 1,500 colleges, universities, and vocational schools that offer child care for not only students, but also faculty members (and in many cases, community residents) with children. However, some schools have gone to greater lengths than the rest to further support their student parent population.

This list from BestColleges ranks 54 colleges and universities that provide a specific set of amenities for students with children, while still managing to be relatively inexpensive in terms of tuition and administrative fees. Our goal with this list is to provide a resource for parents of young children who would like to enroll in an accredited college program, but are unsure which campus will provide the best fit for their families.

Ranking Methodology

All 54 colleges and universities on our list meet the following criteria:

  • Each entry is a not-for-profit school with four-year programs
  • On-campus child care services are available to students
  • Evening and weekend courses are offered for students who cannot attend daytime classes
  • A certain number of on- and/or off-campus housing units are specifically geared toward student families
  • The net cost for students earning a degree is below the national average of $48,000 per year.

Speaking to the last data point, net cost refers to the school’s sticker price (the amount of money spent on tuition, books, administrative fees, and other academic costs) minus the amount of financial aid (scholarships, grants, etc.) that the student will not be required to pay back after graduation.

If the annual cost of earning a degree is $60,000, for instance, and the student incurs $10,000 in non-repaid financial aid, then the net cost would be $50,000. The schools on this list are ranked in ascending order of their annual net price; this was the only data point that influenced the sequence of the list.

Data pertaining to family housing was curated from each respective school’s website; all other data was obtained from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, which is managed by the National Center for Education Statistics.

How to Interpret the Data

It should be noted that only five private institutions made our list of 54, including the last two entries; the highest-ranked private school, Elmhurst College, placed 47th. However, this should not indicate that private colleges and universities are lacking in child care services ― only that their annual tuition tends to be higher than public universities.

Another important consideration is the city in which a given college or university is located. If a certain school did not make our list but the campus is located in a major metro area, then it’s more likely students will be able to secure reliable off-campus child care than those seeking out the same services in a small town or rural community.

Finally, please note that any on- or off-campus child care facilities you are considering should be licensed by the state in which they are located, and staffed by certified child care providers.

The Schools

  1. 1. Purdue University-North Central Campus – Westville, IN

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $6,080

    During the fall and spring semesters, the school’s Panther Cubs Child Care offers childcare services to all enrolled students and faculty members who have toilet-trained children between the ages of two and seven; the standard rate is $2.25 per hour for the first child and $1.50 per hour for additional children. Purdue North Central’s weekend course programs include the ‘Saturday MBA‘ and more than 150 two- and three-bedroom off-campus housing units are available for students with families.

  2. 2. University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $6,614

    In 2005, the University of Michigan’s president launched a ‘Child Care Initiative‘ aimed at “increasing the capacity” for infants and toddlers of students and faculty members, as well as improving on-campus childcare facilities. In addition, the university offers Kids Kare in-home services for children who are sick, or whose nannies are unable to provide childcare that day; classes for young child care and expectant parents are also available.

  3. 3. Middle Tennessee State University – Murfreesboro, TN

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $6,849

    The MTSU Child Care Lab provides services for children between the ages of three and five. The current rate for a standard week of childcare (Monday to Friday) is $135 for students, $145 for faculty members, and $155 for individuals who are not affiliated with the university. Womack Lane, where a handful of off-campus housing units are located, also hosts a day care center.

  4. 4. University of Florida – Gainesville, FL

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $7,307

    Baby Gator Child Development Centers provide services for children between the ages of six weeks and five years; this program is maintained in part by assistance from the Baby Gator Alumni Association, which enlists in former students and faculty members to get involved with Baby Gators services and events. Students who live with a spouse and/or dependents automatically qualify to reside in Family Housing units with two or more bedrooms.

  5. 5. University of Washington-Seattle Campus

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $7,338

    The University of Washington’s Student Parent Resource Center strives to provide educational services and financial assistance to enrolled students with children. In addition to on-campus child care, as well as sick child and emergency back-up services, the university’s website includes resources for securing off-campus childcare. Five different residential communities offer housing units specifically reserved for students living with spouses and/or dependent children.

  6. 6. Chadron State College – Chadron, NE

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $7,489

    The CSC Development Center Laboratory has provided services for students and faculty members at Chadron State for more than 40 years. The CDC serves as both a functional childcare facility for boys and girls between the ages of two and nine, as well as an educational resource for students. Family housing units with one, two, and three bedrooms are available at respective rates of $462, $502, and $561 per month; refunds for family housing units are prorated.

  7. 7. The University of Montana-Western – Dillon, MT

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $7,675

    The University of Montana Western Babysitters network enables students to care for the children (and pets) of their peers and faculty members at the university. UMW also makes available 16 family apartment units (10 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom) on a first-come basis; students interested in residing in these units may apply online.

  8. 8. University of New Orleans – New Orleans, LA

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $7,971

    The UNO Children’s Center is open to students and faculty members with children between one to five years old; the center also hosts the Petite Privateer Pals Summer Enrichment program for children between the ages of four and seven. Enrollment costs $25, and students who use the center for 40 hours or more per week will pay an additional rate of $1.75 per hour; those who use the center less than 40 hours per week pay $2.25 per hour.

  9. 9. Arkansas State University-Main Campus – Jonesboro, AR

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $8,263

    ASU Childhood Services has been providing childcare, coaching, family workshops, and technical assistance to students and faculty members with children for more than four decades. The university also offers Better Beginnings training programs for family care providers in the Jonesboro community. Students with children are automatically eligible for residence in the university’s ‘non-traditional student housing‘ units.

  10. 10. Eastern Washington University – Cheney, WA

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $8,446

    The EWU Children’s Center offers child care services for boys and girls between the ages of six weeks and ten years old. The university is also home to EWU Mons Who Bond, a Facebook-based network of female students and faculty members with children of any age. Married couples with children automatically qualify for housing units in three different off-campus residential communities.

  11. 11. Texas A&M University-Commerce

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $8,659

    The TAMUC Children’s Learning Center is a four-star, accredited program accommodates children between the ages of six weeks to twelve years old. A typical day at the center will include story time, hands-on education in subjects like math and science, and two meals. Forty off-campus apartments are specifically reserved for students living with a spouse and/or dependent children.

  12. 12. New Mexico State University-Main Campus – Las Cruces, NM

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $8,705

    Myrna’s Children’s Village at NMSU’s main campus offers childcare services and educational opportunities for students, faculty members, and community residents with children between the ages of six weeks to five years. The university also offers weekend and evening courses for students unable to attend class during the day due to child care obligations (as well as other commitments, such as full-time employment).

  13. 13. East Central University: Ada, OK

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $8,714

    East Central University offers daytime child care services, as well as residential home care, an on-campus preschool, occasional “drop-in” services for children at their homes, and summer camps for young boys and girls. On-campus family housing units (accompanied by an outdoor jungle gym and sandbox) are available to students living with children.

  14. 14. Indiana University-Southeast: New Albany, IN

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $8,865

    The IU Children Center celebrates its 36th anniversary in 2014. The center provides child care services for students and faculty members. Children between the ages of three and twelve years are welcome to attend from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday; the daily schedule includes two meals and a snack, hands-on activities, and outdoor recreation.

  15. 15. Iowa State University – Ames, IA

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,089

    Iowa State is home to an on-campus childcare center, “university community childcare” facility, and the ISU Child Development Laboratory School. Additionally, the university offers ‘The Comfort Zone’ for sick children, emergency back-up services, and several lactation stations for new mothers located throughout the campus.

  16. 16. University of South Florida-Main Campus – Tampa, FL

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,124

    Founded in 1974, the USF Preschool for Creative Learning offers an innovative care option for students and faculty members with children; an alternative is the USF Family Center, which is managed by Bright Horizons. Two-bedroom units for families and single students are available at Magnolia Apartments, an off-campus residential community.

  17. 17. University of Illinois at Springfield

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,207

    The Cox Children’s Center at UI Springfield is a state-licensed, accredited facility open to children between the ages of six weeks and twelve years old. Family-oriented events offered through the center include an annual book fair and a handful of field trips throughout the year. Students living with spouses and/or children automatically qualify to live in off-campus family housing units.

  18. 18. Langston University – Langston, OK

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,314

    The Early Chi program at Langston University is open to students up to five years in age; the facility can serve no more than 60 children, so boys and girls will be admitted on a first-come basis. Langston is also home to the Early Childhood Laboratory. Students living with spouses and/or dependent children are encouraged to apply for on-campus family housing at Langston Commons.

  19. 19. Adams State University – Alamosa, CO

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,365

    The Gingerbread House at Adams State is an early childhood care center open to students and faculty member with children between the ages of two and a half to ten years. The center is open Monday to Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and offers specialized services for infants and toddlers. Two- and three-bedroom apartment units are offered to students living with spouses and/or children; rental rates for these units includes all utilities, cable, and wireless Internet.

  20. 20. University of New Mexico-Main Campus – Albuquerque, NM

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,442

    In addition to the UNM Child Care Center, which provides services for children between the ages of nine months and eleven years old (and, according to the website, is ‘temporarily closed’), the university offers a list of online resources specifically aimed at female students who are also single mothers. Roughly 200 off-campus apartment units are specifically reserved for ‘Student Families’.

  21. 21. Austin Peay State University – Clarksville, TN

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,541

    The APSU Child Learning Center offers daytime care services for children between the ages of two and a half to five years, as well as evening care for children between the ages of two and a half and twelve years (specifically aimed at student parents enrolled in night courses). Students living with a spouse and/or children are urged to apply for residency at Emerald Hill Apartments, which feature a laundry room and playground area.

  22. 22. University of Minnesota-Twin Cities – Minneapolis, MN

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,760

    The University of Minnesota-Twin Cities offers four on-campus child care facilities: the U of M Child Development Center, Shirley G. Moore Laboratory School, Commonwealth Terrace Community Child Care Center, and the Como Early Learning Center. Three off-campus child care establishments are also available. Two off-campus residential properties are reserved for students living with a spouse and/or dependent children.

  23. 23. Utah State University – Logan, UT

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,908

    Utah State provides four types of student and faculty member child care: Family Care (offered at the residence of a certified child care provider), Center-based Care, and Nanny Care (at the child(ren)’s residence). Web users can review the list of licensed ‘Aggie Care Providers’ employed by the university. Three residence communities (two of which are located on-campus) are available for student families.

  24. 24. University of Memphis – Memphis, TN

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $9,965

    The Department of Child Care Services at the University of Memphis admits children between the ages of 30 months and twelve years; daily sessions include educational lessons from the HighReach Learning Program, as well as two nutritious meals and a snack. Roughly 150 townhouses and flats are available for student families, with four units specifically geared toward students with disabled children.

  25. 25. Bemidji State University – Bemidji, MN

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $10,079

    Cedar Apartments (located just a few minutes from the Bemidji State campus) features 28 units specifically reserved for students living with a spouse and/or children. The school also maintains a network of nannies, tutors, and summertime care providers through Care.com.

  26. 26. Arizona State University – Phoenix, AZ

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $10,113

    In addition to the Arizona State Campus Children’s Center (which admits children between the ages of one and five years), ASU also provides the CCAMPIS Child Care Subsidy and CAMPIS Child Care Emergency Fund for student parents in need of financial assistance. The school’s Breastfeeding Support Committee has successfully introduced lactation stations and other amenities for nursing mothers throughout the campus.

  27. 27. University of North Alabama – Florence, AL

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $10,123

    The Kilby Child Development Center at the University of North Alabama offers both preschool and pre-kindergarten classes for children between the ages of three and five years; classes include reading, writing, and speaking lessons created with the Pearson Opening the World of Learning Early Literacy Program. Family housing units are available to students who provide a copy of each child’s birth certificate.

  28. 28. Ball State University – Muncie, IN

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $10,137

    Founded in 1990, WorkLife Programs are designed to assist Ball State students and faculty members who must juggle childcare and academic obligations. The university’s website also features a link to the Child Care Development Fund, which is designed for low-income families with child care needs. Students living with dependent children automatically qualify for residence in one of BSU’s off-campus apartment communities.

  29. 29. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University – Tallahassee, FL

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $10,160

    The New Beginnings Child Development Center at FAMU admits children between the ages of two years, six months and five years; annual rates are $375 for students and $500 for faculty members. Additional costs include $75 per year in registration, miscellaneous supply fees, and a one-time $20 application fee. Evening care services are also available. Students living with dependent children can apply online for residency.

  30. 30. Southern Oregon University – Ashland, OR

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $10,744

    Southern Oregon hosts two child care facilities: the S.O.U. Schneider Children’s Center for boys and girls between the ages of six weeks and five years; and the Community Preschool at SOU for children between the ages of three and six years. The university’s family housing community, Old Mill Village, includes apartments and townhouses that collectively accommodate more than 200 adults and children.

  31. 31. Ferris State University – Big Rapids, MI

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $10,920

    Tot’s Place Child Development Center, located on the Ferris State Campus, provides care services for children between the ages of one month and twelve years; in addition to daytime care for young boys and girls, the center hosts an after-school program between the hours of 3:30 and 5:30 p.m., Monday to Friday. Students with children are invited to apply for residency at the West Campus Townhouses, which include units specifically geared toward families with disabled adults or children.

  32. 32. Montana State University Billings

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $11,196

    Located on the MSU Billings campus, the Child Care and Enrichment Center serves children aged zero to five years on both a full- and part-time basis. Child Care Scholarships are also offered to eligible students. Students living with a spouse and/or dependent children can apply for residency in a two- or three-bedroom apartment unit (priority will be given to student families).

  33. 33. Wayne State University – Detroit, MI

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $11,335

    The Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child and Family Development (located on the Wayne State campus) has been named among the top 10 preschool programs in Detroit; the institute doubles as an education center for undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at the university. Two on-campus residential facilities ― the Helen L. DeRoy Apartments and Chatsworth Tower ― give preference to applicants living with a spouse and/or dependent children.

  34. 34. Binghamton University – Binghamton, NY

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $11,388

    The Binghamton Campus Preschool & Early Childhood Center offers child care services for students and faculty members with kids between the ages of eighteen months and four years. In addition to standard weekly schedules (Monday to Friday), rates are available for half days and alternate day schedules. Two off-campus residential communities offer rooms specifically geared toward students with children.

  35. 35. University of Massachusetts Amherst

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $11,514

    Offered through the UMass Amherst Office of Family Services, the on-campus Center for Early Education and Care provides services for children between the ages of fifteen months and five years. The university also maintains a network of student babysitters to provide last-minute child care. There are more than 200 off-campus one- and two-bedroom apartments for which student applicants with children are given priority.

  36. 36. University of Utah – Salt Lake City, UT

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $11,716

    Childcare services at the University of Utah include nearly a dozen full- and part-time options, including the ASUU Student Child Care Program, Bright Horizons Child Development Center, BioKids (a science-friendly program for children between the ages of six weeks to five years). One-, two-, and three-bedroom units are available for student families at three different off-campus residential communities.

  37. 37. Eastern Michigan University – Ypsilanti, MI

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $11,886

    The Children’s Institute at Eastern Michigan University provides daytime care for children between the ages of eighteen months and six years; part-time and evening care services are also available, as well as the annual Flight of Imagination summer camp program. Daily fee rates for enrolled students will vary between $37 and $52 (depending on the age of the child(ren)).

  38. 38. University of Central Missouri – Warrensburg, MO

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $12,110

    The University of Central Missouri features two on-campus child care centers, as well as the Child Development Lab. Students living with a spouse and/or dependent children will be given priority when they apply for residency at either the Central Village Apartments (which include one-, two-, and three-bedroom units) or Greenwood Park Apartments (which include two- bedroom units).

  39. 39. Kansas State University – Manhattan, KS

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $12,153

    The Early Childhood Education Center is located on the K-State campus at the Hoeflin Stone House, and provides full-time care services for children between the ages of six weeks and five years. Another on-campus facility, the K-State Center for Child Development, accommodates children from six weeks to fifth grade (typically 10 or 11 years of age). The university also provides after-school and summer care programs.

  40. 40. University of South Carolina-Columbia

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $12,201

    The USC Child Development and Research Center accommodates up to 200 children between the ages of six weeks and eleven years, who are admitted on a first-come basis. The center is a 28,000-square-foot building funded by a grant from USC Foundations. Two off-campus residential communities, Carolina Gardens and Cliff Apartments, give priority to student applicants who live with dependent children.

  41. 41. Idaho State University – Pocatello, ID

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $13,186

    The Early Learning Center at Idaho State is designed to serve children between the ages of six weeks and eleven years. Student parents who wish to enroll their child(ren) at the center must have a current course load of at least six credit hours. After-school and drop-in care services are also available to Idaho State students and faculty members.

  42. 42. Western Oregon University – Monmouth, OR

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $13,438

    Western Oregon University’s Teaching Research Child Development Center provides care for children of students and faculty members who fall between the ages of thirty months and six years. A small percentage of the fees for all parents who enroll their children in the center will go toward students with childcare needs. The off-campus communities of Knox-Street and Alder Apartments feature units designed for students living with dependent children.

  43. 43. Mississippi State University – Starkville, MS

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $13,957

    Established in 1999, the Early Childhood Institute at Mississippi State University administers the Aiken Village Preschool program for children between the ages of three and five years; monthly tuition is $465 per child, and funds are directly received from the student or faculty member’s MSU account. Other MSU campus-based child care programs include Excel By 5 and the Delta Early Learning Project.

  44. 44. University of Kansas – Lawrence, KS

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $14,027

    Founded in 1972, the Hilltop Child Development Center is located on the University of Kansas campus. Care services are available at the center for children as young as three months, while there are also two programs specifically geared toward children of elementary school age. Residential units in Jayhawker Towers and Stouffer Place are designed for students living with dependent children.

  45. 45. Western Michigan University – Kalamazoo, MI

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $14,049

    The WMU Children’s Place Learning Center is designed to accommodate children between the ages of eighteen months and nine years. The facility can serve up to 38 children at any time throughout the day; enrollment is awarded on a first-come basis. Four apartment communities (one of which is located on-campus) include units specifically geared toward students living with a spouse and/or dependent children.

  46. 46. Western Illinois University – Macomb, IL

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $14,292

    The WIU College of Education maintains the on-campus Infant and Preschool Center, which functions as both a daycare facility and a resource for students who are earning degrees in early childhood education. Students with one or two children are given top priority for Graduate & family Housing; eligible students may apply online for residency.

  47. 47. Elmhurst College – Elmhurst, IL

    • Type of Institution: Private
    • Average Net Price: $15,254

    Elmhurst College students and faculty members with children can enlist in campus child care services at respective rates of $6 and $7 per hour. A half-day summer camp program is also offered every year during the months of July and August. The Elmhurst Terrace Apartments include more than 150 one- and two-bedroom units designed to accommodate student families.

  48. 48. Kent State University – Kent, OH

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $16,455

    The Child Development Center (CDC) at Kent State features two classrooms for toddlers (between the ages of eighteen months and three years), four classrooms for preschoolers (three to five years), and one classroom for kindergarten (five to six years). Enrollment is open to any parents in the Kent community, but priority is given to Kent State students and faculty (online applications are available).

  49. 49. Emory University – Atlanta, GA

    • Type of Institution: Private
    • Average Net Price: $16,604

    The Emory Child Care Network offers financial assistance and enrollment priority for the children of Emory students and faculty members at more than 175 different child care facilities, including several on-campus establishments. Additionally, the Clifton School (located at the main campus) is specifically designed to serve children of Emory students and faculty members.

  50. 50. University of New Hampshire-Main Campus – Durham, NH

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $17,666

    Founded in 1929, the Child Study and Development Center at the University of New Hampshire currently offers full-time care programs for infants-toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners. The off-campus Forest Park complex features nearly 100 studio, one- and two-bedroom units designed for student families, as well as a laundry room and several indoor and outdoor recreation areas.

  51. 51. Concordia University-Saint Paul – Saint Paul, MN

    • Type of Institution: Private
    • Average Net Price: $17,698

    The Hand in Hand Child Care Center at Concordia Saint Paul offers services for children between the ages of six weeks and six years; because Concordia is a religiously affiliated collegiate association, the curriculum at Hand in Hand focuses on Christian teachings. Off-campus apartments are provided for students living with a spouse and/or dependent children.

  52. 52. Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus – State College, PA

    • Type of Institution: Public
    • Average Net Price: $18,847

    The Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State maintains two on-campus child care facilities: the Bennett Family Center (for children between the ages of six weeks and six years) and the Child Care Center at Hort Woods (for children between the ages of six weeks and five years). The on-campus White Course Apartments include units ranging from studio to three bedrooms designed with student families in mind.

  53. 53. Syracuse University – Syracuse, NY

    • Type of Institution: Private
    • Average Net Price: $19,717

    The Syracuse University Early Education & Child Care Center (EECCC) has been providing child care services for Syracuse students and faculty members for nearly 50 years. Space at the EECCC is available for 6 infants, 24 toddlers, and 26 preschoolers; enrollment is awarded on a first-come basis.

  54. 54. Rochester Institute of Technology – Rochester, NY

    • Type of Institution: Private
    • Average Net Price: $21,950

    Margaret’s House, the on-campus child care facility at the Rochester Institute of Technology, provides day care and education for children between the ages of eight weeks and six years, as well as after-school care services for first, second, and third graders. Lil Kids on Campus, Margaret’s House’s summer program, is available for children currently attending first through fourth grade.