09:16 AM

New $3 Million Grant Program Will Support Student Parents

A new program funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education will support Cal State San Marcos students with young children. 

CSUSM has received a four-year grant of more than $3 million that will benefit student parents who need child-care assistance to persist and thrive on the path to graduation.  

The grant was awarded through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program within the Department of Education. It will create the CSUSM Child Care Access Program in partnership with the Center for Children and Families on campus. Once the program is fully implemented, it is expected to support about 50 student parents with subsidized child care.

The program will be housed in the Division of Student Affairs.  

“The CSUSM Child Care Access Program will support dozens of our student parents with infant to pre-K age children to access full-time and high-quality child care on campus while they pursue their educational goals,” said Viridiana Diaz, CSUSM’s vice president of Student Affairs. “The program will also help student parents build a supportive network that will connect them to campus programs, resources and other developmental opportunities.”  

The procurement of the grant was a collaboration among the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs, the Center for Children and Families, the Office and Graduate Studies and Research, and the CSUSM Corporation. The group also consulted campus programs that support incoming and parenting students, such as New Student and Family Programs and the Women and Gender Equity Center, regarding the needs of student parents.

The CSUSM Child Care Access Program is a response to the challenges of accessing and paying for quality child care, which present multiple barriers to the academic success of student parents at CSUSM. According to the San Diego County Child Care and Development Planning Council, child care costs $1,300 to $1,600 a month for a child under 5 in the county, and a family of four must make more than $118,000 annually to be self-sufficient in the county. Family income data from last fall shows that 52% of CSUSM undergraduate students have family incomes below $60,000 per year, indicating an especially strong need for supplemental support in the student parent population.

The grant will fund subsidies for child care at the Center for Children and Families for CSUSM students who are enrolled in six or more academic credits during a particular semester. The subsidies will prioritize supporting low-income students using a sliding scale, with student parents whose expected family contribution level would make them eligible for federal Pell grants receiving the most assistance.

The program is expected to serve about 50 student parents as vacated slots become available, more than four times the number who were supported this spring.

Some of the grant funding will be used to hire a program coordinator or director to develop a plan to reach out to student parents across campus. This individual also will partner with support systems like the Cougar Care Network, the ASI Cougar Pantry and CalFresh to promote these resources and help student parents identify other community-based support programs that might be available to them.

As part of the required grant reporting, data will be collected from program participants to show how the child-care support has affected their academic success and their engagement with campus life. The goal is to explore other unmet needs to identify opportunities for additional support.