Helping women to succeed in higher education: Supporting student-parents with child care

Editor's note:

This is a chapter from The 51%: Driving growth through women’s economic participation, edited by Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and Ryan Nunn.


Women have surpassed men in college enrollment. This trend is particularly pronounced among nontraditional students, including part-time and older students—two groups that face significant challenges in higher education. For the 4.8 million college students who are parents, high-quality, reliable, and affordable child care is essential. I propose building on the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Program to structure an institutional grant program that better supports the availability of high-quality child care for parents pursuing postsecondary credentials (student-parents). Compared with the existing federal program, the proposed program would be larger and better targeted to address the substantial needs of low-income student-parents. Moreover, by focusing on the role of postsecondary institutions, the proposal is designed to ensure that student-parents have access to high-quality child care options that will have long-term benefits for both the student-parent and their child. The program would encourage enrollment practices and educational investments that benefit the individual as well as the overall economy.


The author did not receive financial support from any firm or person for this paper or from any firm or person with a financial or political interest in this paper. She is currently not an officer, director, or board member of any organization with an interest in this paper.