City Councilmembers to host oversight hearing on CUNY childcare facilities

People walk by a CUNY campus in the city. (Courtesy of CUNY)

Councilmembers Helen Rosenthal and Inez Barron will host an oversight hearing on affordable childcare services in the CUNY system on Wednesday. 

The purpose of the hearing is to asses whether or not the current childcare system is affordable for all students. Students with children are 10 times less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree in 5 years than their childless counterparts, are twice as likely to drop out and on average have twice the amount of student loan debt.  

There are 16 early childhood learning centers that serve 17 CUNY schools where student parents pay a fee to enroll their children. Fees vary by location and depend on student income, with some parents paying as low as $1 a week, according to a CUNY spokesperson.

Parents at the Child Development and Learning Center at the CUNY Graduate Center are required to pay a $100 non-refundable registration fee and pay up to $43 a day.  Parents must also commit to enrolling their children for at least three days a week per semester. Most of the programs also require that parents make some kind of time commitment. 

The graduate center’s fees are higher given its ineligibility for state and federal support. 

About 12% of CUNY undergraduate and graduate students support children, according to a 2017 report. There are currently has 275,000 degree seeking undergraduate and graduate students with gradate students making up about 10% of that number.

Some CUNY schools are taking steps to create more inclusive childcare models.

CUNY Law students can bring their children to the nearby LaGuardia Community College’s daycare center. The Borough of Manhattan Community College offers courses on parenting skills, how to balance school life and family and sessions on how to find outside support networks. The City College of New York is opening a childcare center in the spring of 2020.

In addition, the CUNY Family Empowerment Community College Program pilot initiative began this year. The initiative will provide 400 single parents studying at a SUNY or CUNY community college with free child-care, personalized advisement, tutoring, career counseling. 

The hearing will take place at 1 p.m. Dec. 18 at City College of New York, Shepard Hall, Room 250, 160 Convent Ave., at 138th Street. 

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