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Baruch’s ‘Early Learning Center’ must reopen

Chelsea Lojano

Many are aware of the great effort and sacrifices that come with taking care of a child. That is why it is important that those who want or have children further their education with access to childcare services.

In efforts to aid student parents at Baruch College, the Early Learning Center should re-open. The center would help parents financially, motivate them academically and above all, support them on their journey in parenthood.

There are 17 childcare centers spread across CUNY campuses, all of which are designed to accommodate the needs of students who are also parents, but Baruch’s Early Learning Center has yet to re-open its doors since the summer of 2021.

The student parents of Baruch should have access to childcare on campus, just like those who attend other colleges within CUNY.

The Early Learning Center was designed for the children to explore their own interests and allow them to build their own understanding of their environment.

They were offered an extensive number of activities such as cooking, block building, music and much more to keep them active and busy while their parents studied on campus.

Gaining access to a resource like a childcare center would greatly benefit the student parent population at Baruch.

The center is funded by a combination of student activity fees, the center’s fees and federal and state grant monies. Since Baruch students pay student activity fees, the campus should prioritize the reopening of the center.

New York City is by far one of the most expensive places to live in the country.

This fact rings true with the outrageous city prices for childcare services. According to the Day Care Council of New York, the weekly cost of childcare services ranges between $325-$370 a week depending on the age of the child.

This is a stark contrast to the Early Learning Center’s daily rate of 5 to 40 dollars. Reopening the center would help ease the financial burden that comes with pursuing a higher education.

Student parents would also have an increased likelihood of graduating from their degree program with the aid of these centers.

A research study by Monroe Community College found that students who used campus childcare services were three times more likely to graduate or move on to a four-year college.

This would not only help Baruch fulfill its mission of transforming the futures of students but also reap the reward from the daily efforts of the professors and faculty.

In addition to the financial burden of childcare, a lack of childcare services can have a detrimental impact on the mental health of student parents.

David Croom, associate director of the Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative at the Aspen Institute performed a study that found that 43% of student-parents felt stressed and 28% felt feelings of depression. The research also revealed that 54% of student parents felt unwelcome on their campuses.

Moreover, it would also allot them time to explore Baruch’s array of mental health resources. Baruch provides free and confidential sessions at its Counseling Center. This could improve student parents’ ability to achieve in their academic career and in their duties as parents.

As pioneers for inclusion and diversity, Baruch should demonstrate its stance with student parents by re-opening its own center. This could provide a sense of belonging for the student parent population and help to alleviate the pressures of school.

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