The Jim Sells Child Care Assistance Program has more than half a million dollars available to help Portland State University students pay for child care — five-and-a-half times the amount allotted by the Student Fee Committee last year. In addition, the subsidy now pays for child care both on and off campus.
The Resource Center for Students with Children manages the program, which was named for Jim Sells, former director of operations at Smith Memorial Student Union, where the center is located. The assistance program pays 15 to 50 percent of students’ child care costs, including care through a family member.
Last year the program had more than $104,000 to help 47 families with 71 children and only paid for off-campus child care. This year, the PSU Student Fee Committee allotted the program $569,170 in an effort to redirect funding from child care facilities to individual students. The program has 195 applications and continues to accept more.
In 1995 the Jim Sells Child Care Assistance Program launched with $10,000 in funding. Sells retired December 1995 after 35 years working with students in the student union, starting as game room manager in 1960. He is also an alumnus of PSU having earned a bachelor's degree in 1971 and a master's in education in 1974.
Increased investment in child care subsidies aligns with PSU’s 2011 Presidential Task Force on Child Development and Family Support goals to ensure quality child care and enhance family spaces at the University. Last summer the center, which has a number of programs for student parents, expanded to a larger space and now is looking to provide drop-in, on-campus child care by early next year.
Students must be enrolled in eight undergraduate or five graduate credits to be eligible for the program. The subsidy goes directly to the child care provider.
More information about the Jim Sells Child Care Assistance Program is available on the Resource Center for Students with Children website.
PSU students may apply for the program online.