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Federal grant approved for PSU on-campus child care
Author: Nancy Eichsteadt, Graduate School of Education
Posted: October 24, 2013

Early childhood professor, Will Parnell, and Helen Gordon Child Development Center Director Ellie Justice, announced the awarding of a $1.5 million federal grant to support the 2014-18 Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) program. This grant offers low-income student families subsidies to the Helen Gordon Child Development Center (HGCDC). The new four-year award prioritizes support for Pell-grant eligible and military-connected families; it will cover up to 50 percent of child care tuition.

The grant also funds HGCDC teaching positions, classroom and program enhancements, and graduate assistantships to formally connect the early childhood master’s program and early childhood research activities with classroom practices.

As part of the federal Higher Education Act, the CCAMPIS grant allocates $60 million dollars to provide campus-based child care so that student parents have one less obstacle in their path to a degree. A university can apply for funding equivalent to one percent of their prior years’ Pell Grant expenditure (campuschildren.org/policy/fact.html).

The typical college student is no longer an 18-year-old high school graduate. Increasingly, nontraditional students--older, with children and various job and life experiences--are filling the ranks of college classes. These students recognize the importance of college to future success. But these students face new barriers unheard of in earlier times. Many are parents and must provide for their children while in school. Campus-based child care is a vital necessity for parents attending college.

Senator Christopher Dodd (D-Conn), Co-sponsor

Dr. Parnell and Ms. Justice have successfully been awarded the CCAMPIS grant twice previously, which has resulted in eight years of student family subsidies and extra child care programming. The 2014 award extends funding and programming for four additional years.

Dr. Parnell’s research results from the current grant highlights the achievements and successes of student parents who have received subsidies for campus-based high quality child care and family support. Examples of data from his research from 2010-14 reports that over 40 percent of respondents would have had to quit school if they had not had subsidies from the CCAMPIS program. When asked, 27 out of 28 respondents report experiencing reduced stress by having their child(ren) in on-campus childcare; 23 of 28 students attribute CCAMPIS support to better grades (also as noted in GPA progress statistics) and 22 of 28 say they are more productive in classes.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to extend this vital program supporting PSU student families,” said HGCDC Director Ellie Justice. Dr. Parnell adds, “We know that the CCAMPIS grant has been successful in increased persistence, higher grades, and increased graduation rates for student families across the country, and we’ve seen that at PSU as well.”