For Student Parents, The Biggest Hurdles to A Higher Education are Costs and Finding Child Care

August 17, 2022
The Education Trust

It's hard to be a student parent. College students who are parenting must juggle work and family responsibilities while going to school and often struggle to find child care. It’s also expensive. The costs of child care, tuition, books, and attending to basic needs — not to mention one’s own physical and mental well-being — can quickly add up. Child care and college tuition costs alone can be insurmountable obstacles for those who are only trying to make a better life for themselves and their little ones.

In 2019, The Education Trust released a report — “How Affordable Are Public Colleges in Your State for Low-Income Students?” — that dispelled the myth that a student can still work their way through college in a minimum-wage job.

In continuation of this affordability work — with support from Imaginable Futures and in partnership with Generation Hope — we conduct a similar analysis, this time for student parents. In this latest report, we tally the cost of child care and the price of attending a public four-year college — including tuition and fees, housing, food, books, and transportation — to determine a student parent’s actual annual cost of pursuing a degree.