Authors: To read Jessica Warren,and Deana Around Him's article, please click here.
A new analysis by Child Trends finds that 43 percent of Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) offered parenting students on-campus child care support during the Fall semester of the 2021-2022 academic year, compared to 21 percent of other degree-granting colleges and universities, according to the most recent data available from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). TCUs are chartered by Tribal governments and primarily serve American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) students, with approximately 87 percent of TCU students identifying as AIAN in 2020. Providing adequate funding to TCUs helps them offer supports—such as nearby, reliable, high-quality child care—that are critical for facilitating positive educational trajectories for AIAN parenting students.
Supporting AIAN parenting students with child care is one key strategy for rebuilding strong educational outcomes in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, higher education systems are not geared toward AIAN students’ success: According to IPEDS, only 39 percent of AIAN students graduate from postsecondary institutions within six years of enrollment. Additionally, declines in enrollment for Native American undergraduate students during the pandemic were substantial. Child care is often unaffordable for parenting students, impacting their ability to stay enrolled. Data collected by the American Indian Higher Education Consortium in Fall 2020 showed that, among TCUs with enrollment declines, lack of day care and uncertainty with child care and schooling for children were two reasons for dropping enrollment.