Child care provides a pathway to completion: Data finds that having access to child care on campus can help higher numbers of student parents obtain their degree.

Americans have a complicated relationship with higher education. They question it’s cost and value in a fast-changing economy, but the data shows that college graduates earn significantly more than people with no higher education, reports writer Jenny Anderson for Quartz.

Not surprisingly, the share of Americans pursuing higher education has risen 60% since 1970, to about 40%. But another number to account for is the 40% of students who start and don’t finish. One way to reduce this percentage, Anderson writes, is to focus on a particular group of students: those who need childcare.

Nearly 4 million students, or 22% of students in two- and four-year colleges in the US, have a dependent child, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

And 53% of student parents leave college without obtaining a degree, significantly higher than non-parents.
The US Department of Education also provides some assistance: Its Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program provides funding to about 90 campuses to provide childcare access to low-income student parents.

Some outcome data for CCAMPIS students show an association between participating in the program and improved college success. At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, 77 students participated from 2005-2011 and 83% graduated.

Read more about how child care programs can increase college graduation rates here