Being a parent and going through college is a huge challenge for most Americans. Luckily there are grants and facilities that can help ease your difficulties.
More and more community colleges are now offering daycare to help students who are also parents. This guide will help you get some relief as a parent through federal/state grants for free or subsidized services at these daycares.
In the US alone, more than 4.8 million undergraduate students are also parents and this creates a unique challenge for educational institutions. As a result, many of them are now starting to offer daycare services for these parents.
Parenting is hard enough as it is but can you imagine handling a full load of a four-year university program in addition to parenting? Community colleges on the other hand are far more accommodating as they are, by their very purpose, designed to be considerate to students with such difficulties.
If you are a parent struggling with getting back to college, then this guide will take you through all the information you need to get help with your situation. So let’s dive in and get you started on your community college journey.
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Yes, more and more community colleges are now offering quality daycare to parents.
Since it is the mission of the US Department of Education to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access, it comes to reason that they would also develop programs to help parents who would like to have access to education.
While great strides have been made there is still a lot of improvement needed to support parents trying to go through college. We will give you a breakdown of where things currently stand below.
CCAMPIS aims to increase educational opportunities for low-income parents that wish to pursue higher education. This program supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education through the provision of campus-based child care services.
Typically, the funding is reserved for low-income parents with children under the age of 13. However, the exact eligibility criteria in terms of what is considered low-income and the amount of funding a student receives, varies from state to state, depending on the local laws present.
Schools that are on the list of awardees also have the option of offering reduced tuition or scholarships.
However, one important thing to note is that the tax credit is only valid for child care that is provided during working hours or hours spent looking for a job.
Continuous efforts by the government
In 2018, a U.S. Education Department spokesperson mentioned in U.S. News that a fund increase of $35 million would be used to create 200 additional awards to higher education institutions that will support campus-based child-care programs serving low-income parents in postsecondary education.
In 2020, the Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program provided an additional $45,648,300 to fund 287 child care service awards, with an average of $159,053 per award.
Building on this momentum, in 2021, the Biden administration put forward plans to make community college free in order to make higher education more accessible. The proposal includes $1 trillion in new spending and $800 billion in tax credits.
Moreover, Biden’s American Families Plan aims to expand access to education and child care by reducing overall costs. This plan directly increases the educational opportunities that non-traditional students such as student parents receive.
All of this put together demonstrates the enormous effort the government is making to have education accessible to marginalized groups such as parents.
Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) are eligible to apply and receive a grant under the CCAMPIS program.
These institutions may apply if the total amount of all Federal Pell Grant (a subsidy the U.S. federal government provides for students who need to pay for college) funds awarded to students at the institution for the preceding fiscal year equals or exceeds $350,000.
Individual eligibility criteria for child care grants
The almost 5 million college students who are also parents struggle both in terms of getting access to education and in finding the time to study properly to graduate. With an increase in student loans, one can only imagine how challenging it is for student parents to afford higher education for themselves.
These parents desperately need programs that could give them relief on both fronts and giving access to free or subsidized child care solves both problems.
Luckily, there are a few financial aid options for student parents that can help fund their education. While the specific eligibility criteria for students applying for childcare grants vary from state to state, most of them have the following common features:
Since childcare grants are need-based, single-parent households are generally given first priority. After which, students who are married with children and are returning to school are considered.
It is best to talk to your financial aid advisor at the community college and check your priority criteria for the relevant grant.
Students’ financial need is determined based on their FAFSA/WASFA or their International Student Financial Statement.
Income can play a major role.
For example, at Wake Technical Community College, the maximum annual income allowed to be eligible for a childcare grant is as follows:
Single household: $24,984
Two-person household: $33,816
Three-person household: $42,660
Four-person household: $51,504
Five-person household: $60,336
Six-person household: $69,180
Typically, to be eligible for licensed care, student parents must have a dependent child who is 12 years old or younger (must be under the age of 19 in the case of special needs children).
To know the exact age requirements of your specific community college, make sure to contact the financial aid office or a counselor.
How to apply for your child care grant
Applying for grants may seem like a daunting task because of all the application forms involved. However, student financial aid advisors at community colleges are meant to help you with each step of the process.
Here are the steps you should take:
Before submitting your application for a child care grant, it is highly recommended that you visit your community college’s student advisor or counselor. These people have a good idea of eligibility and the process itself.
Next, you should fill out the FAFSA/WASFA or the International Student Financial Statement to determine your financial needs. Once you’ve filled in the required documents, you will have a better idea of what kind of aid you are eligible for (federal, state, and/or local grants).
Once you have done this, your advisor will be able to help determine what childcare grants you can apply to and help you fill out the forms needed for the relevant grants. These grants may be federal, state, or local depending on the college and the area you apply from.
The community college will then use your financial aid forms (FAFSA/WASFA, etc.) to see if you are eligible for their childcare grants and help you process them.
Existing childcare at your community college
Over the years, there has been a drastic increase in demand for childcare grants. Because of this, getting financial aid has become extremely competitive and difficult.
Nevertheless, because of these very reasons most community colleges already offer a few budget-friendly, on-campus resources that student parents can make use of.
In fact, most community colleges offer so many benefits that more and more students are opting for them in place of universities.
What to expect at community college daycare centers
Childcare facilities provided vary from college to college, but if you are wondering what type of daycare centers are offered, we have compiled a list of some popular community colleges and provided a short description of their services.
For a list of courses offered at colleges click here.
GWCC offers a childcare facility known as the Children's Learning Center. The center offers its services to children of enrolled students and college staff members.
“The Children's Learning Center is located on the north side of the Washington Campus. Childcare services are available for students and employees. We provide a safe, caring environment where the children can experience physical, cognitive, social and emotional growth. Parents can study knowing that their child is well cared for. Flexible scheduling is offered by our trained, caring staff.” - Children's Learning Center
DTCC offers a child care facility known as Delaware Tech Child Development Center. All three DTCC campuses facilities have received a star level 5 rating on the Delaware Stars for Early Success system administered by the Delaware Department of Education.
“Our mission is to provide care and education for children of Delaware Tech students, faculty and staff, and the community, based on available openings. In addition to providing care for young children from infancy through school age, we provide learning opportunities for the students in the Education Department under the supervision of qualified professionals. Our Child Development Center serves as a model and a community resource for excellence in early childhood education.” - Delaware Tech Child Development Center
The CCCC childcare facility is called Cerro Coso Child Development Center. The center provides facilities for in-person and virtual learning for children aged between 18 months to the start of Kindergarten.
“The Center is staffed with Child Development Professionals. Each classroom has credentialed teaching staff and follows regulations and rules set forth by the California Department of Education Title 5 and Community Care licensing Title 22 that regulates child to teacher ratios, teacher education and experience, and the overall accountability for our program” - Cerro Coso Child Development Center
The Parent Child Center (PCC) is the childcare service offered at Shoreline Community College. The center is a licensed childcare facility that provides services to Shoreline Community College students, employees, and community members.
“Childcare is crucial to helping student parents be successful in earning their postsecondary credentials. Shoreline Community College is committed to providing support to student parents in meeting their academic goals.” - The Parent Child Center
Does SCC have a daycare? Yes, and it is called the SCC Bigfoot Child Care Center. The center has a well-trained staff that provides services to the children of SCC students.
“We are a licensed and accredited child care and early care provider serving children from infants through age 5. Our staff are teaching professionals trained in early childhood education.” - SCC Bigfoot Child Care Center
The Children's Center at RRCC offers a childcare facility that focuses on five primary areas care and education.
“Our center, conveniently located at the east entrance of the Lakewood campus, provides full-day, high-quality care and education for children 18 months to kindergarten entry. Our clients are Red Rocks students, staff and members of the community.” - The Children's Center
It is not easy being a parent going through college but the good news is that there are systems in place that you can use to ease your challenges. The federal and state governments both offer varying degrees of support as well as local communities that want to help parents trying to get an education.
These grants can be a lifeline to struggling parents and using this guide you can navigate through the complex process of applying to them successfully.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do community colleges have daycare?
More and more community colleges now offer daycare. The federal government is also working on a plan to further support parents going through college
Is childcare free in community college?
Depending on the college and the grant you have applied for, childcare may be free or subsidized greatly.
Can I get aid for childcare?
Yes. There are several grants that help parents trying to educate themselves. These grants offer financial assistance to daycare facilities which greatly ease the struggle of student parents.