Opinion: NYU should provide free child care for student parents

NYU should offer more support to student parents, including free child care facilities on campus.

Student+parents+often+face+more+financial+hardships+than+their+non-parent+peers.+NYU+should+offer+free+childcare+services+to+provide+more+support+to+their+student+parents.+%28Staff+Photo+by+Alexandra+Chan%29

Alexandra Chan

Student parents often face more financial hardships than their non-parent peers. NYU should offer free childcare services to provide more support to their student parents. (Staff Photo by Alexandra Chan)

By Srishti Bungle, Deputy Opinion Editor

NYU’s support for its students with children is paltry. The university dedicates only one webpage for student parents that offers nothing more than a list of support groups and outside resources that fail to address student parents’ most pressing need: affordable child care.

NYU does offer graduate student parents a $300 subsidy per semester to alleviate costs for taking care of children under 6, but this level of support is insufficient. Student parents face significant financial hardship that comes with raising a child while working fewer hours because of class and dealing with the high cost of living in New York City.

A recent WSN piece highlighted the struggles faced by student parents. In light of this plight, we demand that NYU provide more accommodations for student parents. Chief among those should be a free, high-quality child care facility open to the university community — undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff.

[Read more: Unseen, overworked, underpaid: Student parents at NYU]

Free child care is a necessity for many student parents with children too young to attend free public school. In New York City, a child must be 5 years old to enroll in the public kindergarten program. All children are guaranteed a spot, but a spot in the city’s 3-K program is not guaranteed. 

Student parents often face more financial hardship than their peers. The median debt among student parents is more than double that of non-parent students. On top of that, 44% of student parents work full-time jobs to support their families. Free child care can ease student parents’ financial burdens while also benefiting the children themselves. A child care program could also prevent some student parents from dropping out — a whopping 52% of student parents drop out before earning their degrees.

“Student caregivers, or student parents, especially at NYU, are just being stretched really thin,” NYU Ph.D. candidate Patrick Angiolillo told WSN for Monday’s article. “It’s this delicate balancing act that a lot of our student parents are playing that in any given month could mean they don’t have enough money to pay rent, or they don’t have enough money to buy groceries.”

On-campus child care is an option at many universities in New York City. The City University of New York, for example, offers several child care centers, but NYU lacks this crucial service that would ease the lives of many of its students. With free, high-quality child care, student parents could avoid the extra commute time to and from daycare, stay close to their children and not worry about sacrificing high-quality child care for affordability. NYU must acknowledge and remedy the struggle its student parents endure on a daily basis.

Contact Srishti Bungle at [email protected]