DIEEC Receives CCAMPIS Grant

Funding will provide access to high-quality, affordable childcare for parents pursuing an education at the University of Delaware.

With a New $2 Million Federal Grant, CEHD will Provide Childcare Scholarships to Eligible UD Students Who are Raising Children.

For many parents across the nation, a lack of access to affordable, high-quality and reliable childcare for their children—especially children under the age of five—prevents them from pursuing an undergraduate or graduate education. But good news is on the horizon for parents interested in pursuing their education at the University of Delaware.

With support from the UD Graduate College, the Division of Student Life and the Office of Institutional Equity, the College of Education and Human Development’s (CEHD) Delaware Institute for Excellence in Early Childhood Education (DIEEC) and Early Learning Center (ELC) has received a federal grant to provide childcare access to undergraduate and graduate student parents. As part of the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, this grant will provide $2 million over the next four years for the establishment of campus-based childcare services for Pell Grant-eligible college students.

At UD, the grant will support childcare scholarships and family support programs at the ELC for the children of eligible parents interested in pursuing a UD education. A leader in early care and education, the ELC provides research-informed, play-based care and education for infants and children from birth through second grade. With operating hours from 7:00 a.m. through 6:00 p.m., the ELC provides children with an engaging full-day program while their families pursue their education, work or home obligations.

Rena Hallam, director of DIEEC and professor in CEHD’s Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, will lead efforts to develop these programs for eligible UD families in partnership with the directors of the ELC, the UD Graduate College, UD faculty and other UD institutional leaders.

Since 2011, the CCAMPIS program has supported the participation of eligible student parents in postsecondary education by providing campus-based childcare services. Grants are awarded annually and typically cover a period of four years. This year, the CCAMPIS program awarded $13 million in grants to 34 universities across the nation.

For the first time, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) encouraged this year’s grant applicants to propose ways to improve the quality of the childcare services they provide, such as providing higher wages for childcare workers. Higher wages often reduces staff turnover in childcare settings and fosters stronger bonds between the children and their caregivers. UD’s ELC prioritized salary increases and were successful in raising salaries for its dedicated educators and staff.

In addition, the grant competition prioritized applicants who proposed a systemic, evidence-based approach to addressing access to childcare and improving outcomes for underserved student parents in coordination with government agencies or community-based organizations. At UD, the ELC partners with New Directions Early Head Start and DOE’s Office of Early Learning through the state-funded Early Care and Education program to provide comprehensive care and services for families who are from underserved communities.

This is the first year that UD has received a CCAMPIS award.

“We are thrilled to receive the CCAMPIS grant here at UD,” Hallam said. “Student parents often struggle with finding and financing high-quality childcare. Research shows that having access to childcare for student parents increases student wellbeing and increases the likelihood that students complete their degree programs. CCAMPIS funds allow us to build an infrastructure on campus to better support our student parents.”

The awarding of this CCAMPIS grant is part of larger efforts at UD to support student parents. For example, Emily Davis, associate professor in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Departments of English and Women and Gender Studies, has coordinated data gathering on UD student parents and chaired a working group on supportive policies for families within the UD Graduate College Council. With Hallam, she also contributed to UD’s application for the CCAMPIS grant. The UD Graduate College website also has a list of available resources for UD student parents as well as answers to frequently asked questions.

According to data from the DOE, more than one in five college students are parents. At UD, an estimated 400 students are parents.

Article posted on October 25, 2023

Article by Jessica Henderson.