‘Your Wallet’: Child care in Nebraska often costs more than college tuition

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Across the nation and here in Nebraska, child care costs are surpassing in-state college tuition fees, especially infant care.

“Child care in general is getting more and more expensive,” said Michael Medwick, strategic communications manager for First Five Nebraska, an organization focused on expanding early childhood care. “It is frequently considered on par or in excess of what we might pay for in-state higher education fees.”

In-state tuition and fees at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will be $10,108 next year.

Medwick says on average in the state, parents of infants can expect to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $14,000 a year at a child care center.

That means the high end of day care for an infant is 38% more than UNL tuition.

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Experts say worker and supply shortages are putting more of the pressure on parents and their wallets.

“Parents have to understand that no matter how low child care providers can price their services, it’s still going to be a serious challenge for parents to fit that into their household budgets,” Medwick said.

The increasing cost of supplies is also increasing the pressure.

“Talking about inflation, the cost of supplies, food, those kinds of things are higher,” said Anne Brandt, executive director of Lincoln Littles. “And so, they’re really pushing up costs.”

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A bill currently being considered by the Legislature would give up to $2,000 per child in refundable tax credits.

This would only apply to households with incomes of $150,000 or less.

Lincoln Littles is holding special classes for people wanting to work in child care.

It hopes that helps attract and retain more workers.

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But this is more of a “Band-Aid approach,” Brandt said.

“We really do need to now move forward with workable solutions that last in perpetuity,” Brandt said.

Editor’s note: This report is part of a weekly series Channel 8 is airing called “Your Wallet.”  We’ll be looking into any topics that deal with your money. The reports air every Monday during the Channel 8 News at 6 p.m.

Categories: Money, Nebraska News, News, Top Stories