Many community college students juggle various personal responsibilities along with their academic requirements. Specifically, many community college students have young children and families to care for and support. Recognizing the importance of family and the lack of quality, affordable childcare in some cities, community colleges are implementing programs to offer support for their student-parents.
Community Colleges and Financial Support
Many state and local governments provide student-parents with financial aid, grants, and support, depending upon each student’s needs and family dynamics. For example, students at Wake Tech Community College can apply for the Childcare Grant. To be eligible, student-parents must demonstrate high financial need and be able to qualify for the federal Pell Grant. Additionally, they must be a single parent or a stay-at-home parent who is returning to school.
If awarded the grant, the student-parent will receive $650 per month to pay for childcare services. To maintain eligibility, student-parents must adhere to the following regulations:
- Maintain at least a 2.0 GPA.
- Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be eligible for the Pell Grant.
- Must be enrolled in a degree, diploma, or transfer credit program.
- Submit monthly attendance sheets documenting class attendance.
By following these guidelines, students can focus on their coursework and not have to worry about the financial strain of paying for childcare.
This video reports on Salt Lake Community College's daycare program.
Am I Eligible for the Childcare Grant?
As Wake Tech explains, “Funds for the Childcare Grant are limited and eligibility standards will be strictly observed. Students with the greatest need will be served first.” According to reports, the status of a student’s eligibility is determined by three factors: first, priority goes to single parents; secondly, priority goes to those who are married with children and who are returning to school; thirdly, those who are eligible based on their income, as students who make a certain amount of money each year may not be eligible for any grants or financial aid.
As financial aid and grants are given to student-parents based on the priority of each student’s needs, students and families who make a specific maximum amount of money each year are ineligible. For example, at Wake Tech, the maximum annual income allowed increases with each household’s family size:
- Single household / $26,508.00
- Two person household / $34,668.00
- Three person household / $42,816.00
- Four person household / $50,976.00
- Five person household / $59,136.00
- Six person household / $67,284.00
How Do I Apply for Aid and Grants?
For parents interested in receiving childcare aid from the government, students can simply fill out a free form on the Federal Student Aid website. Or, for additional support, students can meet with their community college advisor or counselor. With assistance, counselors can help student-parents take advantage of any available opportunities for added financial assistance.
Many financial aid opportunities exist for single parents, adults returning to college, and low-income households. If you fit into all three categories, the financial aid available can be quite extensive. Federal, state, and local grants are available, as are scholarships from corporations and private foundations. For example, the Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation provides several $5,000 scholarships to low-income mothers each year. Another great option is the Jeannette Rankin Foundation Scholarship. To be eligible, applicants must be low-income women over the age of 35 who are returning to college to benefit themselves and their families.
Community College and Childcare Facilities
In addition to aids and grants, student-parents can also take advantage of unique community college childcare facilities. Available at many community college campuses, these facilities are often an affordable option for parents. College-based care is not just convenient for student-parents, but also provides all the care, education, and related services of a private childcare facility. College-based centers offer to learn opportunities that facilitate creative thinking, problem-solving skills, and physical activity for children. Additionally, on-campus programs provide language, literacy, and math skills, as well as social skills such as respectful play, communication, and sharing. Campus childcare facilities are licensed and staffed by qualified early childcare workers.
Monroe Community College
Providing students with open hours from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm, Monroe Community College’s Day Care center has been uniquely designed to allow children to “enjoy a variety of activities in the classroom, in one of our outdoor play yards, and in our gym. He or she will participate in field trips, both on and off-campus.”
Adding to this, MCC asserts that to help parents gain confidence in their daycare facility, the center will help parents feel “welcome, knowledgeable and comfortable with our program.” Specifically, as MCC’s mission statement asserts: “We believe that children’s healthy physical, emotional, social, cognitive, and creative development is supported through a partnership with families. We are dedicated to affirming strong attachments between children, families, and caregivers.”
The cost of MCC’s childcare services ranges depending upon each child’s age and the number of hours each week that he or she needs care. Generally, costs range from just $100 to $200 per week, as the price is significantly marked down for MCC students.
Colby Community College
Providing parents with inclusive support, Colby Community College provides students with children with completely free childcare services. According to CCC, various associations and organizations pay for childcare services. As a result, students are able to attend school without having to worry about the costs to care for their children. As CCC explains, they are able to provide “quality daycare,” as they are also able to “help support childcare providers with professional opportunities as well as information on becoming a childcare provider.”
If you are a community college student who is also a parent, there are many options for you to find affordable care for your child. Whether it’s a federal grant, a scholarship from a private foundation, or campus-specific programs designed to provide you with childcare – these options will allow you to focus on your studies and excel in your academic program while providing your child with a caring and stimulating environment they need to grow and develop to their fullest potential.
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