Meet The Community Colleges That New America Will Partner With To Understand Child Care Access For Student Parents and Single Mothers

Blog Post
Illustration by Da'Shon Carr
Feb. 21, 2024

We are excited to announce the community colleges New America will be partnering with to explore the most effective ways to support student parents and single mothers in accessing child care. Through interviews with community college student parents, we confirmed that access to affordable, convenient, and high-quality child care could make their academic careers more manageable and fulfilling. We also learned from community college professionals like student affairs advisors, faculty, and on-campus child care directors that it takes various strategies and approaches to ensure child care access for the 1 in 5 students that are also parents in this country to thrive.

Today, we are excited to announce the colleges that will be partnering with us to dive deeper into what does and does not work when it comes to providing child care access for student parents and single mothers. We will explore the federal, state, and institutional policies that support and limit child care options as well as the child care modalities that meet different students’ needs.

Child Care for Student Parents at Community Colleges Cohort

New America accepted five community colleges to be a part of our Child Care for Student Parents at Community Colleges Cohort. In the coming year, New America will conduct site visits with each college to better understand their models for funding, data collection, policies, and logistics around child care for student parents.

This cohort of community colleges support student parents in a variety of ways when it comes to child care access. Many of these options include an on-campus child care facility, partnership with an Early Head Start or Head Start program, connecting parents to federal and state subsidies to help reduce child care costs, or referrals to a community child care provider. Each of these colleges has an interesting model of supporting child care for student parents and serves a diverse student parent population (rural, urban, and suburban communities).

Here is a taste of who they serve and the child care options they provide:

  • Madison Area Technical College (Wisconsin) serves over 26,000 students, with 42% identifying as parents or caretakers. Recently awarded the FamilyU seal for its commitment to student parent success, the college recognizes that robust services for student parents are essential for persistence and success. The college currently provides accessible and high-quality childcare options for students, inclusive of drop-in care, referrals, scholarships, and extensive community partnerships. Expanding its support, the college offers family-friendly study rooms, Community of Practice groups to identify and develop programming, and is building a new childcare facility in a high-need community area.

  • Mott Community College (Michigan), located in Flint, Michigan, annually serves approximately 6,000 students. The college is dedicated to providing exceptional early childhood education, accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), at its on-campus early learning center located in The Lenore Croudy Family Life Center. This service caters not only to MCC parenting students and single parents but also extends to MCC staff, faculty, and members of the community. Children aged 6 months to 5 years old receive educational opportunities through programs such as Early Head Start, GSRP, and tuition-based classrooms. Mott Community College exemplifies a commitment to educational excellence and the attainment of academic goals. This commitment is demonstrated through a range of resources and support services tailored to parenting students. These include emergency funding, transportation assistance, access to food resources, provision of professional attire for employment and interviews, referrals to relevant services, and scholarship opportunities.

  • Quinsigamond Community College (Massachusetts) serves around 6,000 students and provides child care options for student parents and single mothers that include access to resources, referrals, and scholarships, and an on-campus child care center. This college has established a growing number of student parent supports through its Parenting Student Support Services Center. The center employs a Parenting Student Navigator who collaborates closely with multiple campus entities spanning from the Academic Affairs Division to the Vice President of Strategic Enrollment and Student Engagement Office, ensuring that student parents have access to various wraparound supports.

  • Linn-Benton Community College (Oregon) is a rural serving college that serves around 4,000 students. It provides child care options for student parents and single mothers that include access to resources, referrals, and scholarships, and an on-campus child care center known as the Periwinkle Child Development Center. This college is continuing to develop a robust data infrastructure that enables them to identify student parents. Through the Student Support Survey, which is conducted every academic term, Linn-Benton Community College will increase the comprehenseive information gathered on enrolled student parents, ensuring targeted and effective support for their academic success.

  • Forsyth Technical Community College (North Carolina) serves approximately 21,000 students annually, and is grounded by a mission and vision of increasing equitable economic mobility and being #APlaceofPromise for everyone in the community we serve. Forsyth Tech provides childcare options for student parents that includes access to community child care providers, drop-in childcare through KidSpot, resources, referrals, scholarships and an on-campus child care center called the Carol L. Danforth Early Childhood Lab. Through innovative and award-winning programs like Forsyth Tech Cares, other non-academic barriers to student success are decreased. The college offers additional forms of financial assistance for student parents including Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS), the N.C. Community College Childcare Grant Program and the John M. Belk Endowment (JMBE). 

Community of Research and Practice on Barriers to Supporting Student Parents

New America also accepted five community colleges to be a part of the Community of Research and Practice on Barriers to Supporting Student Parents. This community of research will help New America better understand the barriers and challenges that limit supporting student parents on their path to postsecondary success.

These community colleges are:

  • Harry S Truman College (Illinois) is a minority-serving institution in Chicago, Illinois and one of seven community colleges in the City Colleges of Chicago system. It is working to implement two strategic initiatives related to childcare as part of its strategic equity priorities, including partnering with a local organization to offer on-campus child care.

  • McLennan Community College (Texas) is a Hispanic serving institution that serves over 7,300 students, primarily those from low-income families and first generation college students. One of the barriers we hope to explore with the college includes a very long waitlist among student parents needing access to the on-site child care center.

  • Glen Oaks Community College (Michigan) is a small, rural community college that serves 1,200 students. The college has previously investigated the feasibility of reopening a child care center on-campus as part of the practicum for the Early Childhood Education program after the first one closed down in 2003. Although the college determined an on-campus center was not feasible at this time, alternative support options for student parents are being explored.

  • Montgomery College (Maryland) is a minority serving institution that seeks to develop sustainable childcare options that meet the needs of student parents. Through focus groups and surveys, they plan to engage student parents on what child care options would be most beneficial for them.

  • Savannah Technical College (Georgia) is a predominantly Black institution that currently offers recommendations and referrals to off-campus child care providers and would like to strengthen their connection with nearby child care providers.