Over one quarter of all college students have child dependents, and those students face the competing demands of caregiving, work, and school responsibilities. As a result, only 33% of students with children complete a degree or certificate within six years; for single mothers, the six-year completion rate is only 28%.
Child care poses a major financial burden for student parents. Access to affordable child care is critical for student parents to remain in college and complete their degree. However, at schools that offer campus-based child care, demand for services far exceeds enrollment capacity, resulting in long waitlists.
To help overcome this child care hurdle, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion's ACCESS Collaborative Program has been awarded a 2018 Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant for $354,082 to create an Ohio State CCAMPIS program, which will provide high-quality, accredited child care services to Pell eligible student parents at the university. The grant, offered through the U.S. Department of Education, will provide funds to assist 45 low-income student parents to enroll in, persist at, and graduate from The Ohio State University.
The ACCESS Program provides programming and services to address academic success, professional development, life and parenting skills, wellness, and financial literacy for student parents. “Our program has received national attention as a model for supporting low-income single parent student success at the post-secondary level. However, our limited resources capped the number of students we are able to serve,” said ACCESS Collaborative Director Traci Lewis. “With the CCAMPIS grant, we will be able to meet the needs of more student parents on campus by eliminating a huge barrier as it relates to degree completion; permitting the student to focus more on academics and less on finding and/or paying the high cost of quality childcare. The impact this has on families and future generations is huge. It changes the family trajectory immensely by setting them on a more solid path towards graduation, self-sufficiency and a life out of poverty.”
Partners on the grant include the A. Sophie Rogers School for Early Learning, the Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy housed in the Ohio State College of Education and Human Ecology, and selected, accredited child care centers in Columbus and surrounding areas. Using the Two Generation Approach, ACCESS supports student parents and their children simultaneously. The Ohio State CCAMPIS grant will provide child care services that are flexible, responsive to the needs of student parents, and will support the educational and financial needs of the students while also providing for the educational and developmental needs of their child. This holistic approach to supporting student parent families will produce healthier and stronger families, more resilient and academically rigorous students as well as proud Ohio State Alumni.