Baylor seeks to provide more resources for student parents

Jion Dietz, Yolanda Eddings and Sabrina Goss discuss the difficulties and triumphs of being a student parent. The mixer served as a way to educate student parents of their resources on campus. Shae Koharski | Multimedia Journalist

By Madalyn Watson | Staff Writer

Baylor’s Piper Center for Family Studies and Child Development is an option for on campus childcare for students with children. However, at the center space is limited and the cost could be a challenge for students.

Baylor’s affordable child-care task force is focused on providing more resources for students who are parents in the future, including more affordable childcare options.

Kevin Davis, program manager of the Veteran Educational and Transition Services (VETS), is part of the affordable child care task force and said the conversation around affordable childcare for students is growing at Baylor.

Student Success Initiatives hosted it’s first “Students Who Are Parents” mixer in the basement of Sid Richardson on Monday. Students mingled and discussed the resources for students who are parents on-campus while eating Shorty’s pizza.

“The Piper Center is awesome, but one, it’s expensive and two, it’s like a two-or-three-year waiting list,” Davis said.

According to the Piper Center’s website, their 2017-2018 tuition rates range from $711 to $842 a month, not including other fees like the $150 annual registration fee per child. They also have a policy that prioritizes first preference to dependents of a Piper staff member, then to siblings of a child currently enrolled at the center, followed by current Baylor faculty, staff and students. With a two-or three-year wait-list it is likely that a student applying for childcare at Piper may be graduated by the time their child gets accepted.

“We did sample research last year through the Institutional Research and Testing department. Based on the sample sizes, if they extrapolate that data there’s like 200 or 300 undergraduate students who have kids,” Davis said.

Colorado Springs, post-baccalaureate student Yolanda Eddings, the family support coordinator who planned and organized the “Students Who Are Parents mixer.”

“[The mixer] is just for them to get together, to network, to socialize and be able to hear each other out. And maybe they can hear something that there’s child care somewhere that they may need,” Eddings said.

Eddings is a parent as well, and she has three sons.

“I commend those who are going to school and have young kids because I know I couldn’t do it because you have to worry about daycare,” Eddings said.

Eddings handed out packets and flyers listing options for childcare around Waco to the students attending the mixer.

Tyler junior Jion Dietz, one of the students who attended the mixer, said that it’s been awkward for her to try and make friends with her classmates because she is a non-traditional student with children.

“Because I have children, I tried to do all my classes as early as possible.” Dietz said.

Dietz lives in Tyler with her husband and three children, so her commute every morning is two and a half hours. She leaves three hours early, so she can find a parking spot and get to her classes on time.

“My husband is self-employed, so he takes the kids to school and generally picks them up,” Dietz said.

Dietz said her children are very supportive and check to make sure she studies and finishes her homework.

“They love to come to campus and we’ll get Chick-Fil-A and eat by the fountain,” Dietz said.

The affordable child-care task force is currently researching the best ways to provide resources, starting with affordable child care, for the population of Baylor students who are parents.

“We’re going to look and kind of compare what [other universities] are doing with their child-care provisions to justify an argument with Baylor, so that’s one of the goals right now,” Davis said.

Some of the universities that they have reached out to so far are Purdue and University of Texas.

Davis said he hopes that by learning about other universities child care programs, they can start creating a plan to bring affordable childcare to the students at Baylor.