CCAMPIS makes a difference for student parents

In summer 2017, it looked like the federal Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program could be in jeopardy.

The Trump administration’s budget plan for fiscal year 2018 cut the program. But now, the program may be safe. The White House in its recently released fiscal year 2019 budget proposal requested $15.1 million for CCAMPIS.

For student parents, finding reliable, affordable child care can be a barrier to getting an education. CCAMPIS helps low-income student parents cover the cost of on-campus child care.

According to the budget proposal, CCAMPIS grants “made to institutions of higher education must be used to supplement childcare services or start a new program, not to supplant funds for current childcare services. The program gives priority to institutions that leverage local or institutional resources and employ a sliding fee scale. The 2019 request would fund 100 existing projects.”

There are about 5 million student parents attending postsecondary institutions, and 45 percent of them attend community college. Though CCAMPIS is a relatively small program, it’s helped thousands of students in higher education.

Edmonds Community College (ECC) in Washington has been a recipient of CCAMPIS funds for several years. The funding allows the on-campus child care facility, the Center for Families (CFF), to offer sliding scale rates for child care and the use of child care subsidies to low-income students who qualify.

For student Taylor Mathena, a single mother of two, paying full-price for child care, which could cost upwards of $6,000 per quarter at CFF, was not an option.

“It has solely been the Center for Families as my support network as far as being a mother goes, especially a mother in poverty who can’t afford a babysitter,” she said in a press release from the college.

ECC was recently awarded a four-year $60,740 CCAMPIS grant.

“CCAMPIS has been an essential program at Edmonds CC and a clear contributor to student success,” said CFF Director Lisa Neumann.

The funding means extra teachers at the center, which means children at CFF receive more individualized instruction and care.

“Without the CCAMPIS funding, we would have to reduce our staffing levels,” Neumann said. “There would be significantly more children per teacher, which would reduce our ability to connect as quickly and as deeply with each of the children.”

For Mathena, CFF has provided a place where her daughter has been able overcome social and emotional barriers with the help of her teacher and gain access to individualized programs. And its helped Mathena focus on being a student. Since 2015, she’s earned her GED and is now working toward an associate degree in accounting. She also has a 4.0 GPA.

This article comes from the AACC 21st-Century Center.