ERIC Identifier:  ED480466
Publication Date: 2003
Author: Boswell, Tracy
Source: ERIC Clearinghouse on Higher Education

Campus Child Care Centers. ERIC Digest. 

There has been a dramatic change since 1975 when 'virtually no campus child care)
centers existed' (LCER, 1988, p.12). Today, the number of campus child care centers is increasing to encompass the needs of a growing and diverse student and faculty population. Many college campuses are currently struggling to recruit and retain qualified faculty, staff, and students, many of whom are seeking work or education on campuses that offer quality, affordable childcare.

The need for campus child care has increased in conjunction with the steady increase in numbers of women faculty and student parents on America's campuses. The
percentage of full-time faculty who are female role to 36% in 2000-01, up from 22.5% in 1975 (AAUP, 2001), while the percentage of undergraduates who are single parents increased from 10% in 1995-1996 to 13.3% in 1999-2000. (U.S. Dept. of Education, NEDRC table library, 2003; Scott, 2001).


There are currently about 2,500 campus child care centers serving the nation's 4,000+ institutions of higher education. (Yachnin, 2001; Boressof, 2002, p.4). According to the National Coalition for Campus Children's Center's (NCCCC) 2002 membership survey (n=223), 88% of the respondents' centers are located on campuses. Almost 35% are managed by an academic unit of the University and another 30% are managed by Student Affairs programs. Other reported agencies administering campus child care centers include individual/non-profit agencies (15%), offices of administration/financial services (12%), offices of personnel/human services (10%), contracted/outside vendors (4%), parent cooperatives (2%), and other (7%). The 223 survey respondents reported serving a total of 19,266 children in campus child care centers (NCCC, 2002, p.1). Ninety-two percent reported that they provided child care for student families, 83% for faculty, 83% for staff, and 68% for the community. (NCCC, 2002, p2).


Once a child care center is established and recognized on a campus, it can be
beneficial both to parents and the institution. A campus child care center can offer
parents a conveniently located, good quality educational surrounding for their children. In turn, the center can contribute to an institution's success in recruiting and retaining faculty and students with child care responsibilities. The center's location on campus can minimize for parents the multiple adverse factors associated with off-campus child care, such as inaccessibility, inconvenience, commuting time, inflexibility and regulations imposed by an external child care facility. The positive impact of campus child care centers on student parents was revealed in a study conducted by the State University of New York. The study report concluded that graduation rates are higher for student parents when campus child care is provided--students are more likely to remain in school, graduate in fewer years, and earn higher grades (Kappner, 2002, p.1).


Most campus child care centers began as small laboratories for college students, often for education students specializing in early elementary education. With the burgeoning need for campus child care since 1975, these laboratories have evolved into full-fledged child care programs (Yachnin, 2001). Many education departments and programs within colleges and universities can still profit by continuing to use the child care center as a setting in which college students can gain an invaluable applied experience.

NCCCC 2002 membership statistics show that 46% of the 223 surveyed campus child care centers maintain a dual focus, providing service to parents attending or teaching classes and/or working on campus as well as serving as a laboratory site for the campus. This compared to 10% using their facilities solely to care for the children of students, faculty and staff (NCCCC, 2002).


While there are numerous institutional and state incentives designed to attract students with child care needs to campuses, the federal government also plays a role in encouraging low income parents with child care responsibilities to enroll in postsecondary education. In 1998, Congress passed the Campus Child Care
Supplement to the original Higher Education Act of 1965 as a means to assist
low-income parents enrolled in postsecondary education. The Child Care Access
Means Parents in School Amendment enables campus child care centers to increase
services to low-income students by offering subsidies and/or a sliding fee scale for child care tuition (U.S. Dept. of Education, 1998). Each college can receive a grant equivalent to no more than 1% of the federal Pell Grant dollars awarded to its students during the previous fiscal year. The grants are renewable for four years (Yachnin, 2001).

Congress awarded the CCAMPIS program $5 million in each of its first two years;
funding increased to $25 million in both FY 2001 and FY 2002, with a total of 309
campuses receiving grants. The appropriated budget for federal fiscal year 2003 is
$16.2 million, with no funds for new awards anticipated (U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education; Boressoff, 2002, p.4).


The last twenty-five years have witnessed a tremendous increase in the development of child care on college campuses, with continued growth a possibility. Knowledge about actual campus experiences with sponsoring child care is beginning to accumulate and become available to researchers as well as to higher education administrators.


American Association of University Professors (AAUP). (2001, September). Proposed Statement of Principles on Family Responsibilities and Academic Work. [On-line statement] Available:

Boressoff, T. (2002, Winter). CCAMPIS Update: New Grants - Bush Cuts -
Reauthorization. Campus Children's Center News, vol. 18, no. 1,4.

Legislative Commission on Expenditure Review (LCER) (1988). CUNY/SUNY Campus Child Care Program Audit. New York: Author. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service ED 300 892).

Davis, B. (2002). 2002 Membership Data Analysis. National Coalition for Campus
Children's Centers. Iowa: University of Northern Iowa.

Kappner, A.S. (200). Across the Education Continuum: Child Care on the College
Campus. Cedar Fall, IA: National Coalition for Campus Children's Centers.

Scott, K. (2001, April 11). Campus Child Care Keeps Single-Parent Students on
Course. USA Today. Available (

Thomas, J.A. (1995). Child Care and Laboratory Schools on Campus: The National Picture. National Coalition for Campus Child Care, Inc. Iowa: University of Northern Iowa.

Uhlengerg, J. (2001). Membership: Data Analysis. National Coalition for Campus
Children's Centers. Iowa: University of Northern Iowa.

U.S. Department of Education (19980). The Campus Child Care Provision of the Higher Education Act of 1965. Retrieved April 4, 2003 from the Department of Education website. Available:

U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, NEDRC Table Library: Percentage Distribution of Undergraduates, by Number of Dependents, and the Percentage of Single Parents: 1999-2000. April 4, 2003 from the Department of Education website. Available:

U.S. Department of Education, Office of Postsecondary Education. Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools Program. Retrieved April 4, 2003 from the Department of Education website. Available:

Yachnin, J. (2001, February 2). Congress Puts More Money into Aid For Child-Care Centers on Campuses. Retrieved April 4, 2003 from the Chronicle of Higher Education Website. Available:

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