College is cheaper than daycare? We break down the numbers.

WISCONSIN- Stay-at-home mom Sarah Davey's days are spent caring for her 11-month-old son Sylas. She’s traded in a 9-year hospital job for diaper changes, and play dates, but enjoys the change in pace.

10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">\"It's fun seeing all the things in his development, his walking his crawling, his first words,” Davey said.

The switch to stay-at-home mom didn't come easily, the rising cost of daycare nearly forced her into the role.

10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">\"I would have been working just to pay for him in daycare; there would have been no extras. I don't know how else I would have paid bills if my check went straight for daycare.\"

Work or daycare? Many parents are weighing the decision. Recent numbers from the Washington Post show that in Wisconsin, daycare is almost $10,000 a year, or about $800 a month. In-state tuition is much less, about $8,600. Working mom Kristi Maggard says those numbers encouraged her to work part-time.. instead of quitting her job. Maggard had to take a closer look at her finances.

10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">\"Right now, financially it still makes sense,” she said.\"

Maggard and her husband are shelling out $400 a month for two days of care a week, and that's at a discount. According to a pew research report, childcare expenses have jumped 70-percent from 1985 to 2011.

10.0pt;font-family:\"Microsoft Sans Serif\",\"sans-serif\"\">\"I was out there, I priced these places out, I know what they cost, it's shocking, and it's sad too,” she said.”

More families will have to make similar choices. The government offers help, but only for low-income parents. Many reach out to friends and family instead to make arrangements.


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