Diapers to Degrees: A Special Report - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Diapers to Degrees: A Special Report

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The Nelson family. The Nelson family.
Tamika and Shawn Nelson Tamika and Shawn Nelson

Some parents prepare for their child's college education well before they're born.  But, a new study suggest before you think about college you may want to consider how much you'll have to pay for child care. The study finds that in some states, it's more expensive than college tuition!

Tamika and Shawn Nelson wanted only the best childcare for their first born, Cameron.  They eventually settled on a center that cost more than $500 per month. But, when Preston was born they were forced to re-think their budget.

"When I had Preston, my second son, that's when we decided we can't afford to send both kids to daycare," the parents admitted. 

It's a costly dilemma many parents face. A study released by the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies found that in 36 states the annual childcare cost for an infant is higher than a year's in-state tuition at a four year public college. The Nelson's said it was like paying another mortgage. 

According to the study, if you live in Alabama, you'll pay nearly $8,000 in college tuition and fees at a public college or university.  Your average childcare cost for an infant will run a little more than $5,300 per year. It's a different story in some of our neighboring southern state's.



In Georgia,  the average in-state tuition is $6,808 a year. Infant care will cost you $7,030 a year.

In Louisiana, infant care is $5,901, slightly higher than a first year at a public college at $5,123. 

In the Volunteer State, you'll pay $7,748 a year for infant childcare. For your public college education in Tennessee  the cost is $7,209. 

In Texas, where everything is big, get ready to shell out more than $8,323 for infant care and $8,078 for tuition at a public four year college.

These numbers are not surprising to Jean Sellers. She's the Assistant Executive Director of Early Care and Education services for the Family Guidance Center of Alabama.

"There aren't any grants out there or supplements for a center's expenses so they're relying only on what they can get from parents tuition."

The report says the cost of child care has gone up 1.9 percent over the past year, and some parents are having to get creative if they have two children in need of childcare.

Seller says,"If a parent can't find childcare, they know they can't leave without worrying and they can't work."

The report considers child care in Alabama affordable. Still, Seller encourages parents to do their homework.  She says studies show children who attend quality pre-schools are more likely to finish high school, attend college, get a job and get married, all the qualities in life the Nelson's want for their sons, no matter the cost.

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