Child care costs about as much as college tuition in Arizona.

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Child care costs about as much as college tuition in Arizona.

By Valerie Cavazos. CREATED Nov 5, 2013

TUCSON (KGUN-TV) -- A new report  finds child care costs more than college in most states.
What about Arizona?

On average, full-time child care costs $8,946 a year.
While full time in-state tuition at the University of Arizona is $10,405 a year.

The research, conducted by the non-profit advocacy organization Child Care Aware of America, weighs the true cost of child care.

Many child care centers are doing what they can to maintain a quality program and still stay in business. "You have to worry about facilities. You have to worry about staff training. You have to keep electricity going. You have to worry about payroll," said Tamara Bales, director of The Apple Tree Learning Center, on Broadway Blvd.

And the list goes on, which includes the rising cost of food. "Food costs always do go up. You have the baby jar foods. You have all the cereal. The oatmeal. The formula," said Bales.

Bringing the total to about as much as college tuition. That comes as no surprise to Shannon McGinnis. "I can imagine that it would," she said.

The burden is heavier for families juggling more than one child. "We pay for our child care here but we also pay for our older child in her before and after-school program," said McGinnis.

According to the report, putting a baby and a 4-year-old into a child care center cost exceeds what families paid, on average, for rent, and even for food, in every single state. "It's about as much as food - I would say -- in a month," said McGinnis.

And the report finds it's getting costier. Child care costs have surged over the past year -- vaulting nearly 3 percent. And in many cases, the average cost is far out of reach for a single parent -- especially those with two or more children.