Program receives grant to support student-parents

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Program receives grant to support student-parents

ULM Hawkeye

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The ULM TRIO program recently received a federal grant of $122,626 to fund its Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. 

According to Catherine Estis, the executive director of ULM TRIO programs, the grant will help eligible students with childcare costs and eventually establish a childcare facility for student-parents on campus.

The grant was written over the summer by the TRIO program. ULM was the only CCAMPIS in the state of Louisiana to receive the grant.

As per the grant’s regulations, a student has to be Pell eligible, have a financial need and must be the legal guardian of the child in order to receive assistance from the CCAMPIS fund.

Depending on the student’s qualification, the grant can fund up to 90 percent of tuition along with providing childcare services.

The program is currently looking for around 40 applications.

Along with providing feasible childcare and reduced tuition, the program also aims to offer facilities like parenting aids, healthy eating courses and financial education to help the student-parents succeed. 

The new child care facility will be on Bon Aire Drive, where the old soccer house used to be.

However, the federal fund can only be used to run the childcare and not actually build or renovate the facility.

Estis and her team are looking for ways to bring in funds to renovate the old soccer house into a childcare center that meets federal regulations.

On average, childcare facilities can cost anywhere from $9000 to $12000 annually. Many childcare centers around Monroe, including the one on campus, require a year-long contract and around 40 hours of childcare.

The child care center on campus serves staff, faculty, alumni and the Monroe community but has rates that are expensive for an average college student, according to Estis.

The new child care center for student-parents will have “emergency drop-off” services and flexible hours to help during times like final exams.

According to Estis, the grant will help with both the graduation and the retention rate.

The program also plans to get more fathers involved with parenting, not just mothers.

“A lot of times we think of student-parent as a mother. You would be amazed at how many student parents that come through this door that are fathers,” Estis said.

CCAMPIS is one of the three TRIO programs aimed to support students at ULM. The ULM TRIO program also runs Educational Talent Search and Student Support Services, both of which help with higher education.