Clark College receives grant to help student parents with child care

Grant provides almost a half-million dollars in child care subsidies

VANCOUVER – Clark College recently received a $496,800 grant to help low-income parents pursue higher education.

The grant, which will be disbursed over four years, comes from the U.S. Department of Education’s CCAMPIS (Child Care Access Means Parents in School) program. The bulk of it will be used to subsidize child care in the college’s Child and Family Studies program for Pell Grant-eligible student-parents. About one-quarter of Clark students have dependent children, and 43 percent are low-income.

“We are thrilled to be able to take this step forward in serving our student-parents with the CCAMPIS Student Parent Support Program,” said Clark College Child & Family Studies Director Michele Volk. “We know that child care can be a barrier for many people who would like to go to college, so having safe, high-quality, and affordable early-childhood care and education right here on campus can help these students succeed and create brighter futures for their whole families.”

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, only 33 percent of students with children complete a degree or certificate within six years; for single mothers, the rate is 28 percent. One study showed that student-parents who used their college’s on-campus child care services were more than three times as likely to graduate on time as those who did not. At a time when many colleges across the country are shutting down their child-care centers, this grant will allow Clark College to expand its services to more students.

Founded during World War II as a parents’ cooperative, Clark College’s Child & Family Studies program has evolved into a full-scale child care center providing care to children ages 12 months to 5 years. Serving more than 123 families per quarter, it also serves as a learning lab for the college’s Early Childhood Education program.

Student parents can receive CCAMPIS-funded subsidies through an application process and could begin receiving subsidized child care as soon as the beginning of winter quarter on January 7. CFS hopes to serve 40 student families during the first year of the grant.

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