The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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U, BYU family friendly

By Alex Cragun, Staff Writer

The University of Utah and Brigham Young University might both be good places to start a family.

The U and BYU were ranked in the Top 10 most “family-friendly” schools, according to the 2009 edition of The Princeton Review’s Best 296 Business Schools, released in early October.

Both schools have a significant married population, and according to the University Communications Department at BYU, 25 percent of all students at the school are married. However, no statistics are kept about whether a student has children. A survey conducted by the U Office of Budget & Institutional Analysis found that 21.6 percent of graduating seniors of 2008 have children.

Having a large population of children in a school environment often leads to a need for many child care options.

BYU ranked No. 1 in the review’s family-friendly section, and the U ranked No. 6. Both universities have high approval ratings, but different approaches in how to deal with child care. The review’s family-friendly ranking was based on student responses to questions involving their level of happiness with their marriage, how much the school helps out spouses, how helpful the school is to students with children and the number of children the student has.

BYU does not provide child care for students, university spokesman Joe Hadfield said.

“Such resources are available in the community,” he said.

Summer Lord and Jenny Ingersol are both spouses of graduate students at BYU and directors of spouse support groups.

“When you ask (students), most people outsource to friends, family and neighbors,” said Lord, president of the MBA Spouse Association.

Although there are no formal child care options at BYU, the school encourages the community of students to help each other, Lord said. She said the program she runs offers support groups and planned activities that ease the stress on parents and their full schedules.

Ingersol, president of Law Partners, said her program offers social and educational activities for spouses, children and couples. Ingersol talked about the J. Reuben Clark Law School’s flexibility for students, allowing them three rooms to occupy if they are unable to make class because of day care emergencies.

The U has an established child care program, which has eight different programs offered to both students and faculty.

Kris Hale, university child care coordinator, said that of the eight programs, five have full day care options.

Although the U has a large operation, Hale said there are some shortcomings, which include limited space for the students. Hale said she attributes this to the large number of children in Utah and the large number of women in the workforce.

Hale said that because of the shortcoming, U President Michael Young established a task force in October, headed by Joanne Yaffe, a professor in sociology, to address the issue.

The task force is assessing the question of what the U needs for the future, said Elizabeth Tashjian, a finance professor on the task force.

Although the U has limited space for regular child care, the Associated Students of the University of Utah Child Care Program expands its space for one night a month and during Finals Week. One program, called Parent Night Out, allows parents to go out from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. once a month while a structured environment is offered for their children.

Another, more extensive program during Finals Week allows parents to relax, study or take an exam while someone takes care of their children. Both programs require preregistration.

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