A student’s choice to become a parent while pursuing a degree should not negatively impact their ability to complete that degree in any way, especially when we have the opportunity to have access to trustworthy, convenient and affordable childcare.

(Valerie Mancia | The Poly Post)

Currently, Cal Poly Pomona’s children’s center maintains a license to care for children older than 18 months.

Students are qualified to receive a discounted price through subsidies which are funded through an ASI fee automatically added to tuition.

However, according to Guttmacher Institute, more than two million college-age women in the United States become pregnant each year.

To utilize the center at the university, a mother would need to leave CPP until her child is at least 18 months or find alternate care until her child reaches that age.

If all CPP students are required to pay money toward the fee, all CPP students should have access to the services it provides.

According to ChildcareAware.org, the current annual cost to place a child in a childcare center in California is $23,077.

That is more than triple the projected cost of a year of undergraduate tuition at CPP, making affordable childcare for children younger than 18 months unattainable for students who need it, thus imposing an extreme financial hardship on them.

A student, whether male or female, who becomes a parent while in college, should not feel like they will need to leave school indefinitely because of parenthood.

Title IX protects those students, and according to the National Women’s Law Center the law prohibits school officials and professors from telling or suggesting a student parent drop out of school.

However, the current policy creates an unsupportive environment that contributes to the fear and doubt that students feels when trying to acclimate to their role as a student parent.

There are programs that offer aid for low-income parents in these situations, but they are heavily impacted and have wait lists several months long, causing a delay in assisted-cost care.

Some students have family available to help, so they can continue their degree progress, but this is not the case for all students.

Many student’s families do not live nearby, or they work full-time. With CPP’s often limited course selection, it can be nearly impossible to formulate a cohesive class schedule that progresses a student toward graduation.

For students who have had to take financial aid, taking time off school until their child is old enough to attend CPP’s childcare facility puts them in a difficult position with loan services that expect repayment to begin six months after leaving school.

If CPP  wants to excel in providing childcare, it should offer services that include access to all student parents regardless of age.

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