SUU Non-trads get Much-needed Childcare AssistanceSeptember 09, 2009
Category: Community Outreach
One impact of the current economic climate on the campus of Southern Utah University was absorbed by some of the school’s most time-starved and cash-strapped students – those who are both scholars and parents – when the University closed its on-campus childcare facility last spring.
Now, thanks to a federal grant from the Department of Education’s CCAMPIS (Child Care Access Means Parents in School) program, SUU will once again be able to assist students in balancing these two very demanding roles.
Beginning this October, SUU students with children may receive funding to help cover the monthly tuition at one of three licensed childcare centers in Cedar City. The funds, which will be allocated on a case-by-case basis to student-parents, will make it much easier for this group of SUU’s population to enjoy academic success and persist toward degree completion.
And for the more than 700 student-parents at SUU who have demonstrated a financial need for this kind of assistance, this support is a welcome relief to the alternative of either reducing course loads or taking on debt to cover the expense of child care. Or, as Lynne Brown, executive director of the University’s Student Support Center, put it, “This grant is the silver lining of what seemed a very dark cloud for students who had once relied upon the University’s campus childcare facility.”
According to Brown, students who have already applied for this new funding are relieved and excited because it eases a huge financial burden and demand on students’ time away from their children.
Those who are just now learning of this opportunity should contact SUU’s Center for Women and Families or the Student Support Center, both located in the Sharwan Smith Student Center. The deadline to apply for funding for this fall semester is September 15, 2009.
Students who qualify will begin receiving help October 1, with CCAMPIS funding covering at least half and as much as 90 percent of a student-parent’s childcare expenses, depending on their course load and financial need. These funds will go directly to one of three fully-accredited childcare centers selected by the strength of their curriculum, level of certification and location.
Financial need will be determined by reviewing a student’s FAFSA form. The financial qualifiers are similar to those guidelines that determine a student’s eligibility for a Pell Grant.
The average cost of full-time child care in Cedar City totals $400-500 per child. Considering a full course load requires, on average, 15 hours per week in classroom instruction and an estimated 30 hours beyond that for homework, carrying a full schedule of courses and a full-time job to cover child care is virtually impossible for students who are also responsible for raising small children.
Beyond covering childcare tuition, the CCAMPIS grant will also provide funding for monthly parenting workshops for SUU’s student-parents. These seminars will be tailored to meet the needs of those who have received assistance, and in addition to focusing on parenting skills and strategies, these group meetings will do much to help student-parents develop an emotional support system during this very demanding time in their lives.
Southern Utah University’s Center for Women and Families (CWF) is open Monday through Friday. Weekly hours are posted on the center’s door, across from the Living Room in the Student Center. Students may also direct inquiries about this funding to CWF Director Caitlyn Kennedy through email at WomensCenter@suu.edu.