Daycare Costs More Than College? [Study]

Dusten Carlson - Author

Jun. 15 2013, Updated 8:49 p.m. ET

Though your kids will arguably get more out of college than they’ll get out of daycare, the cost to you, the parent, runs the other way around, according to a recent study. Researchers have found that sending your child to daycare will cost you more than your son or daughter’s higher education ever will.

The average cost of sending an infant to a daycare facility now outweighs the cost of state college tuition, according to a new study from ChildCare Aware of America. Massachusetts residents, for example, can see costs rise up to $15,000. In at least 22 states, daycare costs now run higher than annual median rent, according to the Christian Science Monitor. Additionally, in some states, daycare costs can absorb up to half of a single mom’s median income.

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“Parents are tapped out,” says Grace Reef, chief of policy and evaluation for ChildCare Aware of America. “They really can’t pay more. It’s not affordable.”

The cost of daycare is often an expensive surprise for parents, and is common thanks to “poverty spills,” in which income is too low to cover food and rent. Strangely, daycare employees are among the lowest paid in America, meaning that any reduction in daycare costs is a difficult, if not impossible, venture. Though federal child care grants do exist, they are poorly funded, and only one in six eligible children receives one.

“The bottom line is that we don’t have a good set of supports for moms who need to go to work and for children who need child care,” says Helen Blank, director of leadership and public policy with a focus on child care and early learning at the National Women’s Law Center. “It’s quite an outrage that in a country that values work and wants children to be successful, and is worried about our educational system, that the child care system is such a weak link.”

Do you send your child to daycare?


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