WASHINGTON (September 9, 2019) – Julie Peller, executive director of Higher Learning Advocates, made the following statement regarding the “Empower Parents in College Act” introduced on September 9 by Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-SD):
“At a time when twenty-four percent of today’s students are parent learners and child care expenses average about $9,000 annually—higher than average college tuition and fees at public institutions—we need better solutions for parents in college. On-campus child care options have been declining, and about 40 percent of women at two-year colleges are more likely to drop out of school due to their dependent care obligations.
“The Empower Parents in College Act is an important step in expanding solutions for student parents, as the legislation would allow institutions to allocate a portion of funds under the Strengthening Institutions Program to establish, improve, or expand partnerships with child care providers. This strategy is especially important for today’s student parents who may have existing child care arrangements, but find themselves in need of drop-in or emergency child care solutions in order to attend class. Today’s students parents deserve updated federal policy to access and succeed in assist them on their journey to and through postsecondary education, and enactment of the Empower Parents in College Act would provide much needed support to today’s student parents.”
Higher Learning Advocates is a nonprofit advocacy organization working to shift federal policy from higher education to higher learning—education and training beyond high school that leads to a degree, credential, or employment. While more students are participating in higher education than ever before, there is a vast and growing disconnect between federal policy and the needs of today’s students, employers, and communities. We are working toward federal policies that create transparent pathways to success, incentivize innovation, protect students and taxpayers, and improve outcomes.