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Childcare on campus: Is Berkley too pricey for students?

Mothers and fathers who attend UMKC seek to further their education, but many face the unique obstacle of finding reliable and affordable childcare while in school.

Parents often struggle trying to find childcare that meets their children’s learning needs, is dependable and reasonably priced.

UMKC has a diverse student body, and the university offers many programs to help benefit the specific needs of its students. But parents still face a lack of presently available childcare.

The Edgar L. and Rheta A. Berkley Family Development Center is a learning laboratory for early childhood students and is part of UMKC’s School of Education. Berkley provides childcare for UMKC faculty, students and the community, giving open spots to siblings of the program and UMKC community members first.

Although Berkley offers full-day care throughout each month of the year, it meets maximum occupancy at 32 infants and toddlers and 68 pre-K children.

Before being accepted, an application needs to be filled out to become active on their waiting list.

Because there is such a high demand for convenient childcare services for students’ children, the length of waiting time could be years.

On top of the waiting pool and minimally available spots, the tuition can get pricey. It reaches $1,170 monthly for infants and $821 monthly for pre-K.

Although this facility has benefits in their teaching program, many parents can’t afford to wait years before acceptance and are interested in more affordable rates. This causes a dilemma for the parents attending UMKC and leaves them searching for an alternative option.

UMKC professor Linda Mitchell has been advocating for affordable, reliable and convenient childcare for students, staff and faculty since she came to UMKC 10 years ago. Mitchell said that a potential facility looks promising, with the chancellor, provost and others joining her exploration of the idea.

“Everyone needs to know their kids are safe while they are at work or in class, and too often the options are either very expensive or not ideal,” said Mitchell.

With many parents attending UMKC and needing childcare, Mitchell is working hard to accomplish her goal.

The logistics of getting some kind of childcare facility on campus can be difficult. It will take time and careful planning, as well as probable contributions from people who wish to help achieve this goal.

qrgvv@mail.umkc

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