NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After housing, child care is one of the largest expenses for families in New York City.
But now, there is an option for parents to get their kids into some of the city’s top pre-kindergarten programs with loans just for day care.
As CBS 2’s Janelle Burrell reported Monday, tuition without room and board for undergrads at Harvard University is $38,891 for the 2013-2014 school year. For Princeton University, it is $40,170.
Pre-school in Manhattan is not far behind, with some elite day care costing families more than $35,000.
Jackie Krohn said she considered enrolling her 2 1/2-year-old son, Dylan, in one of the more prestigious programs. But she could not afford it.
“That’s just outrageous – 28 (thousand), that’s almost for four years,” said Krohn, of the Upper West Side. “So it was a little bit much, and it seemed impossible.”
But now, there is a way she may be able to help pay for those costs, using the same method she used to pay her college tuition – student loans. City lawmakers said their new pilot program should make life easier for those who had been driving themselves to financial hardship to fund their children’s day care.
“They were maxing out their credit cards, having to get huge interest rates,” said City Council Speaker Christine Quinn.
The pilot program is the first of its kind in the country, offering a 6 percent interest rate to borrow up to $11,000 for families with kids between 2 and 4 years old.
“The way the loan is structured is that it’s interest-only while the child is in childcare through pre-K and then when they enter kindergarten,” said explained Justine Zinkin of Neighborhood Trust Financial Partners.
On average, daycare costs run New York City families $13,000 a year. The new program is targeted at middle class families not eligible for other subsidies.
To qualify, applicants must have a household income of between $80,000 and $200,000 a year, with a credit score of at least 620. Applicants also must agree to a financial counseling session.
Not everyone likes the idea.
“I wouldn’t borrow,” said Hillary Chase of the Upper West Side.
But Krohn said she’d be more than willing to sign up.
“It’s their first school experience,” she said. “So you want that to be positive, no matter what cost.”
Parents can begin applying for the loan program as of Tuesday. The pilot program will accept 40 families for the upcoming school year.
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