WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Patty Murray (D-WA) reintroduced legislation today with the help of U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) to help increase access to on-campus child care for student parents, who make up more than one quarter of all college students in America. Despite the growing number of student parents enrolled in postsecondary education programs, access to affordable on-campus child care services has dwindled since 2003. The Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) Reauthorization Act would help reverse this trend by reauthorizing and fully funding the only federal program that exclusively supports on-campus child care services. Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-MA).
“At a time when college costs are skyrocketing, we can’t simply stay on the sidelines as it gets even harder for student parents to afford higher education—we have to act,” said Senator Duckworth. “The nearly 5 million college students who are also raising children already have enough to worry about. We are introducing this legislation to help increase access to child care services so student parents can focus on getting an education that will help them provide a better future for their families.”
“As the costs of college and child care continue to climb, too many students and families are struggling to make ends meet,” said Senator Murray. “We must invest in student parents as they invest in their families’ futures, and this bill is a step in the right direction to ease their economic insecurity. I’m proud to join Senator Duckworth to fight for more opportunities for students and I will continue to fight to help working families get ahead.”
Student parents already graduate with much higher levels of debt compared to non-parent students because financial aid offerings do not cover child care. Since 2004, the number of parents enrolled in college has grown by 30 percent while on-campus childcare facilities have closed and services have been dropped. This leaves student parents in a financial bind as they face exorbitant education costs and a lack of options for safe and affordable child care on their schools’ campuses.
“Child care is essential for many families with new babies and young children,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The CCAMPIS Reauthorization Act would provide resources dedicated to child care programs for parents in college, who face unique challenges in their pursuit of higher education, and it would invest in additional services on campuses that actually meet parents’ needs.”
“Increasing access to child care services on campuses will help student parents complete their education while their child receives appropriate care,” Senator Casey said. “Child care is a challenge for student parents and their loved ones. Making sure this program has adequate resources is an important way to meet this challenge.”
“Unfortunately, the cost of higher education continues to increase for students across the country. And for students that also play the dual role of student and parent, child care costs can serve as a second barrier to bettering themselves and their families,” said Senator Durbin. “I’m proud to introduce this legislation with my colleagues as a means to help student parents achieve their goals of education and pave the way for their children in the future.”
The Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) Reauthorization Act would permanently reauthorize the U.S. Department of Education’s CCAMPIS program at a funding level of $67 million per year and require the Department of Education to work with stakeholders to strengthen oversight and data collection. This legislation would direct the Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education to establish a plan for how the Department can better serve and support the unique needs of the 4.8 million student parents in the U.S.
The following organizations endorse the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) Reauthorization Act: Access and Success, St. Catherine University, Adult & Nontraditional Student Center at Austin Peay State University, American Association of University Women, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP), Clearinghouse on Women’s Issues, Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Endicott College, Feminist Majority Foundation, National Center for Student Parent Programs, National Organization for Women, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), Partners for Education at Berea College, Services for Students with Children, Portland State University, Child Care Aware of America, Women Employed and Young Invincibles.