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Child Care Resources for Adult Students

Katie Creel / Abound: Finish College

If you have young kids and you want to go back to school, you’re not alone! Parents of dependent children make up 26 percent or 4.8 million of the undergraduate students in the United States, according to a 2017 Institute of Women’s Policy Research report.

Going back to school with kids can be a challenge in many ways. Balancing life, family, work, and going back to school might seem like an impossible task, but with the proper support, it can be done.  There are many resources available that make it easier for parents with young kids to return to school by providing support and affordable options for child care.

While searching for the right child care provider in your local area, be sure to explore each of these opportunities by reading the websites of local, hybrid, and online programs. You can also call to verify child care options at each school you’re considering.

Child Care Subsidies

Some schools offer scholarships or child care subsidies to adult students. There are two types:

Child Care/Day Care Grants

Daycare grants give money to parents to pay for daycare while they return to school. These daycare grants might be awarded to you directly from the college while others may be from your state government. Be sure to look for and utilize any programs your state or local government may provide.

You can also browse government child care resources by state at the Office of Child Care website.

Military Subsidies

Reducing the cost of child care can free up funds to pay for classes and books. If your family is in the military, you may be eligible for military subsidies to help lower costs.

Head Start

The Head Start program is designed to promote school readiness and child development for children from birth to five years old. Head Start programs are located in community centers, childcare centers, and schools. Of the children served by Head Start, 80 percent are 3 and 4-year-olds. To find a Head Start program near you, use their program locator.

The Child Care and Development Fund

This program offers funding to parents who need childcare due to work, work training, or school. The Child Care and Development Fund is available for parents who are the primary caregiver to a child under the age of 13 and need help paying for child care and characterize their financial situation as low-income.

Child Care on Campus

Some schools are now offering childcare facilities on campus. This type of childcare is often offered at a discount or for free to adult students.

On-Campus Child Care

Only about half of two- and four-year public colleges and universities provide child care programs on campus. Of private schools, about 9 percent offer child care. If this is an important resource for you, be sure to find out which schools offer it before enrolling.

On-campus childcare is a fantastic benefit that keeps student parents near their children while also providing safe, affordable child care so parents can focus on class while they’re on campus.

The University of Dubuque

As an example, The University of Dubuque has created the Marge Kremer Little Spartans Childcare Center. The childcare center is located right in the heart of the UD campus and offers care for children as young as six weeks all the way to five years old. The location makes it easy for adult students to bring their kids to campus, drop them off, go to class, and pick them right back up. This system saves students time, money, and hassle.

Other Options and Resources

Child Care Aware

The Child Care Aware program is a resource to help parents find affordable child care in their area. Parents can visit the website or call the hotline to receive information about local, affordable child care programs and child care resources.


Some daycare programs will reduce the cost of enrolling your child if you offer to volunteer a few days or hours a week. For some people, this might be an impossible option as there’s just not enough time.

In these programs, each parent whose child is enrolled takes a day or a shift, spreading the work of childcare to many parents rather than just one.

Going back to school is tough. Each college offers different resources. When applying to schools and searching for the right, accredited program for you, be sure to look for the resources you find most important. If you can, set aside some time to visit child care facilities and the schools if you’re thinking of attending class on campus.

More About Abound: We’re here to help. Abound: Finish College narrows down your options and gets you in touch with schools that we can confirm are Accessible, Affordable, Accelerated, and Advanced. Take a look at the schools we trust and find the program that works for you.

More Helpful Resources:

Resources for Working Parents Going Back to School
Getting College Credit for Life Experience You Already Have

Employer Assisted Tuition: 8 Strategies to Persuade Your Boss

Financial Aid: Funds for Adult Students

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