Student parents could be eligible for federal aid they didn’t know about, report says

A recent government study revealed one of the biggest challenges facing college students is having a child at home.

The study, which was done by the Government Accountability Office, says of the 22% of undergraduate students raising kids, about half of them left school without finishing a degree.

Nearly half of student parents reported paying for child care, the study found, something that could have been avoided with the help of a Dependent Care Allowance.

That, according to the GAO, is where things get complicated. The study found most student parents don’t ask for a Dependent Care Allowance because they don’t know it’s available- because their college never told them.

In fact, the report shows schools often don’t give parents information about federal money that’s available for child care.

With a Dependent Care Allowance, federal financial aid, including loans, are used to help pay for child care.

According to the GOA, half of all student parents- more than 1 million- are eligible, but don’t ask for it. What’s more, two-thirds of all colleges don’t even mention the money on their websites.

“There are simple steps that colleges and the U.S. Department of Education can take to better inform student parents of their financial aid options,” said Sen. Patty Murray.

“The lack of affordable, high-quality child care shouldn’t hold anyone back from achieving their dreams.”