In recent years, there has been lots of press about the skyrocketing costs of college tuition. But parents in Maryland can expect to pay their heftiest education bills far earlier in their children’s lives; according to a report by Child Care Aware America, the annual cost of daycare in Maryland is nearly $5,000 more than the average tuition and fees of public college.
This isn’t just a local issue — the report found that 31 states have the same problem — but it’s felt particularly strongly here; Maryland is the fifth-most expensive state for infant care, where full-time care in a legally-operated child care center will set parents back $13,055. In contrast, college tuition is $8,220 for the year. This is, frankly, terrifying. Here’s how the Washington Post puts it:
“While parents have years to prepare for college costs, there is literally no time to save for child care — a baby is born, and parents typically have to go back to work in just a few weeks’ time. We accept that it typically takes 18 years to sock away a sizeable-enough college nest egg. Considering that child care is an equivalent, if not greater, expense and that the average maternal age at first child birth is 26, this suggests that we should similarly start putting money away for day-care expenses when we’re roughly 8 years old. Sorry, kids: Your allowance money is going to the day-care fund now.”
Pew Research Center notes that a greater share of mothers aren’t working outside the home than at any other time in the past two decades — not coincidentally, child-care costs rose dramatically over that same time period as well.
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