VSU receives Child Care Assistance Grant


Kameko Coleman, Staff Writer

Virginia State University is one of four schools that will receive funds from the Department of Education’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant.

Over the next four years, VSU will receive $1.45 million in grant money for childcare assistance for parent students.

Regina Barnett Tyler, Associate Vice Provost & Chief Student Officer here at VSU, considered writing for the grant a few years ago, and it didn’t work out due to COVID. She thought of other grants, but this one opened earlier this year, and then decided to apply.

The CCAMPIS Program supports the participation of low-income parents in postsecondary education by providing campus-based childcare services.

“The number of students the CCAMPIS grant will be able to serve is based on the childcare costs for each student,”  Barnett Tyler said. “Some students may receive services from Social Services that cover upwards of 100%, and others may not have any financial assistance.”

Goals have been set on how many students can apply per semester.

“The goal is to be able to support a minimum of 20, but we really won’t know until seeing actual costs,” Barnett Tyler said.

There will be eligibility and GPA requirements to receive this assistance.

“Student parents must be enrolled at VSU full-time, be Pell-eligible, in good academic standing and have a need for financial assistance for childcare,” Barnett Tyler said. “Parents must have their child enrolled in a licensed daycare and before or after aftercare services.”

The CCAMPIS Program will have multiple benefits, and Barnett Tyler expressed that childcare is expensive.

“With financial assistance to help offset childcare costs, a working student parent will have less out-of-pocket expense for childcare and more money for household bills, creating savings, etc,” Barnett Tyler said. “It will relieve student parents from worrying about childcare and offer them the freedom to focus on school.”

When speaking to other administration members regarding this grant, they shared that student parents disclosed their issues with attending classes. They did not have childcare.

Rose B. Coley, Department of Mass Communications Office Manager, and Student Services Coordinator, shared what student parents have expressed to her regarding hardships with finding childcare to attend classes.

“Having this grant will allow students to focus on their academic blueprint knowing that their children are in a safe and affordable environment that they do not have to struggle to provide,” Coley said. “School can be stressful. Having the additional responsibility of parenthood is a financial burden.“

Coley recalls when she witnessed two different professors who allowed a child to accompany their parent during class on two separate occasions.

“I was blown away by their empathy,” Coley said.

One of the professors was Dr. Zoe Spencer. When asked if she remembers that day with that parent-student, she did. Spencer shared that she has empathy for nontraditional students and students that are parents because she was once in their shoes. 

“I was pregnant and gave birth to my son while I was a junior at Howard University,” Spencer said. “This was in the ‘80s, and it wasn’t popular then. Most students who got pregnant while in college left.”

Spencer feels she is obligated to assist the students in any way she can. 

“For me, it is my responsibility, and I owe it to support them,” Spencer said. “Childcare expenses are far more expensive than when I was coming up, so affordability is an issue.”

Spencer wants to ensure that they make it to graduation.

“When they walk across that stage, it is a win for me too,” Spencer said.

According to national data, college students with children are ten times less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree within five years than students who do not have children, even though student parents have higher GPAs on average.

Student parents will be able to select a childcare provider of their choice. According to the Virginia Department of Education, the CCAMPIS staff will only verify licensure.

Students needing this assistance can apply right before the winter break of 2022. The goal is to enroll student parents into the program by January 2023, before classes start.

Interested student parents should email [email protected], and information will be emailed with additional instructions.