(WRIC) — In Virginia, it’s more expensive to send your child to daycare than a four-year college with in-state tuition, according to a new study.

The cost factors of childcare are the child to teacher ratios, how qualified the teachers are, the building’s rent, feeding the children and utilities.

The study, from the Economic Policy Institute, revealed childcare is two percent less expensive than average monthly rent in Virginia. 8News spoke to one family who said they pay almost double their mortgage to send their two children to daycare.

“Basically I work to pay daycare,” Libby Howlett said.

Libby Howlett is a full-time curator of collections at Agecroft Hall and her husband just became a full-time nurse. The Howlett family spends roughly $2,400 a month on daycare for a 1-year-old and a 3-year-old.

The study states, families with two children face a larger burden, making what the Howlett’s pay in line with much of the state.

According to the study, infant care for one child would take up 18.2 percent of a median family’s income in Virginia.

The study states, “according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, childcare is affordable if it costs no more than 7 percent of a family’s income. By this standard, only 11.1 percent of Virginia families can afford infant care.”

Kim Hulcher with the Virginia Childcare Association said in comparison to other states, daycares in Virginia require more teachers than students.

“We have ratios that are very small and group sizes that are very small,” Hulcher said.

For infants, the ratio is one to four. As children get older, the ratio increases in size making childcare less expensive.

“There are providers that have lower expenses, maybe in-home, but for private providers in the community and we have a budget, and we have to pay our teachers and so all of that needs to be reflected in the tuition,” Hulcher said.

For more information on how Virginia’s annual infant care costs compared to other states, click here.