Advocacy Groups Want $500M to Help College Students Afford Child Care

The president proposed $95M to help college students raising children pay for child care, but advocates say an “historic investment” is required to reach an additional 100,000 students.

Published May 3, 2022

Edited by Darlene Earnest
Advocacy Groups Want $500M to Help College Students Afford Child Care
Higher Ed Policy
Photo by RichVintage / E+ / Getty Images

  • Funding would go into the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program.
  • The program issued grants to 327 colleges and universities last year.
  • In a BestColleges survey, 64% of parents said their day-to-day lives had been impacted by inadequate child care.

Higher education advocates called for lawmakers to increase funding for a program that provides child care grants for college students raising children by nearly 900%.

A group of 41 organizations, institutions, and advocates called on high-ranking federal legislators to increase funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program to $500 million next fiscal year. According to the Department of Education (ED), the federal government allocated just over $51 million in 2021.

The increase would help support child care for approximately 6% of Pell Grant-eligible students with children ages 0-5, the advocates said in a letter to lawmakers. They estimate the increase would help CCAMPIS reach 100,000 additional students.

"This historic moment demands a historic investment in parenting students and their children," advocates said in the letter. "The COVID-19 crisis has put into stark relief the challenges parenting students — many of whom are also working parents — face balancing child care, academics, one job or several jobs, and precarious finances, even before the pandemic."

President Joe Biden proposed increasing funding of CCAMPIS to $95 million in his recent budget proposal for fiscal year 2023. The $500 million that advocates are seeking would be a 426% increase from his recent proposal.

The program awarded grants to 327 colleges and universities in 2021, according to ED data.

Awards went toward supporting each school's on-campus child care programs. They are reserved for low-income students enrolled in the institution.

The average award was $157,257. They ranged from as much as $563,000 for Ana G. Méndez University in Puerto Rico to as low as $14,000 for Lake Tahoe Community College in California, according to ED.

Child care is an important issue for many American families. A BestColleges survey of parents and guardians in the U.S. with at least one child under age 18 found that 64% had been impacted by inadequate child care access in their day-to-day lives.

Approximately 22% of all undergraduate students are raising children, according to a 2016 report from the National Center for Education Statistics. Forty-two percent of those students attend a community college, and just over half of all parents studying at a university or college have children under the age of 6, according to an analysis of the data from the Institute for Women's Policy Research.

CCAMPIS isn't the only support students with children have available to them. The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) is another popular program, but it has a work requirement for parents who benefit. CCAMPIS does not have a work requirement since it is designed specifically for college students.