United States Department of Education awards $ 581,000 grant to UA Little Rock to fund child care for low-income students

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Newswise – The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has received a federal grant worth over $ 581,000 from the US Department of Education that will help pay for child care costs for low-income students. income to help them complete their college education.

“The child care support provided by this grant will help our students who are parents and is another example of our institution’s commitment to student success,” said provost Ann Bain. “This grant is particularly interesting because the baseline data to support the need for grant funds involved our faculty and students, and the final grant submission was a collaboration between Dr. Daryl Rice and graduate student Cassie Jo Gehring. . “

UA Little Rock received a Access to child care means parents go to school (CCAMPIS) four-year grant of $ 581,128. The program supports the participation of low-income parents in post-secondary education through the provision of on-campus child care.

Funding will be available to students eligible for Pell scholarships. Students who receive these scholarships typically come from households with a family income of less than $ 50,000 per year, although most Pell Grant funds go to students with a total family income of less than $ 20,000. At UA Little Rock, 39% of undergraduates in the fall semester of 2021 are Pell Grant recipients.

“The grant will allow us to pay child care assistance to eligible Pell students with children using established and licensed child care providers,” said Dr Daryl Rice, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs for student success. “The amount is based on a sliding scale. The program will also provide assistance in accessing child care assistance from other sources, such as the Arkansas Department of Health voucher program and child care services provided by Early Start, Head Start. and the Little Rock School District.

Priority will be given to single parents. Parents who go to college face a more difficult road than traditional students and have lower retention and graduation rates. Single mothers are particularly affected. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, there are nearly 2.1 million single mothers in college today, many of them women of color.

Only 8 percent of single mothers who start college earn an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in six years, compared to about half of women who are not mothers. The Institute for Women’s Policy Research also shows that offering parent support in college, such as free child care, financial assistance, and social skills training, would allow more student parents to graduate in school. less time.

During the spring semester of 2021, four Masters of Public Administration (MPA) students from Dr. Kirk Leach’s Social Entrepreneurship course conducted background research for the grant, including a telephone survey of service providers. local guard on capacity, prices, availability and partnership opportunities with the University. Students include Andrea Neloms, Cassie Jo Gehring, Heather Reed, and Jenifer Tindle. Dr Rice and Gehring wrote the final proposal and are co-principal investigators for the grant.

“Being a parent myself when I was a student, I thought about how difficult it must be for those without resources or support to progress to higher education,” said Gehring, director advancement services associate at UA Little Rock. “As a student at UA Little Rock, I have been involved in many service learning projects. I have been inspired to think that the research I do as a student and my connections in my personal and professional life can come together to bring about real-world change that will have real impact for students looking to improve. their lives themselves and their children.

UA Little Rock previously had a daycare center that closed in 1993. A 2020 survey of UA Little Rock students, faculty and staff found that 46% said they had primary responsibility for a child. under the age of 18. There is a current and expected demand for childcare, especially for children five and under. One-third of respondents (33%) currently need after-school care for a child aged 5 to 12.

Student respondents indicated that child care issues had a direct impact on classes and class attendance. More than a third of respondents said they had to drop out or drop out of a class due to childcare issues.

In addition to funding for child care, students accepted into the program will also have access to student success resources at the Office of Student Retention Initiatives, including success coaching, peer mentoring and a licensed social worker.

“It’s not often that a person’s educational career and professional career intersect,” said Heather Reed, director of student retention initiatives and MPA student who helped draft the grant. “This is an occasion where the research team of the MPA Course in Social Entrepreneurship with Dr Leach has enabled the university to receive a grant which will be implemented directly to support the students. It is a rewarding experience as a graduate student and professional to see theory in practice in action with the end result helping to promote student success.

Childcare funding will be available to students at UA Little Rock starting in the spring semester of 2022. A full-time director will be hired to manage the program in the Office of Student Retention Initiatives. All students eligible for the program will receive an email with more information later this semester. Students can also fill in this form Where visit this site for more information.

If you would like to donate to help support UA Little Rock students with child care needs, please donate via this link.

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