Front Range Community College is receiving a $1.45 million grant to help students pay for child care, the college announced Friday.
The U.S. Department of Education grant will fund the college’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School program. Qualifying parents who are attending college can receive the subsidies, which cover up to 60% of monthly child care expenses, said Tammy Carson, the program’s director.
“We can serve up to 50 students a semester right now,” Carson said. “Many of those students carry over from semester to semester as long as they continue to stay enrolled and meet the program requirements.”
The $1.45 million grant is expected to last four years and serve more than 150 students, she said.
Students don’t need to put money up front for the program — the state-licensed child care providers receive the payment directly from the Front Range Community College.
“It’s another hurdle we can eliminate for student parents,” Carson said. “Many of our students would not be able to afford to take classes if they had to cover the cost of childcare up front and then wait for a reimbursement. This allows them the opportunity to be in school and to have the additional money available to support their own family’s basic needs without waiting on a reimbursement.”
The childcare program, which was created in 2018, has helped an average of 30 students each academic year and strengthened their families, Carson said.
“The children who are able to attend childcare are benefiting from a safe, supportive, educational environment where they can learn important social, emotional and academic skills that will prepare them for their future,” she said.
“The parents are able to get higher paying jobs by completing their academic programs. It provides so many future opportunities for the health and benefit of these families through educational opportunity, more secure finances, and the parenting support and resources offered through both childcare and our CCAMPIS program.”
Erika Martinez, a mother of two young boys, is working full time while taking Accounting classes at the college. She said the child care program has helped her family.
"CCAMPIS is truly what is allowing me to complete my degree with a big weight lifted off my shoulders that I am still able to financially contribute to my family," Martinez said. "In short, I don’t think I would have stayed encouraged to pursue the rest of my degree if it wasn’t for CCAMPIS."
Applying to the child care program was easy, she said.
"FRCC’s CCAMPIS staff is patient and kind — I never feel judged nor belittled by them," she explained. "They really go out of their way, and you can tell they strive to help us parents succeed in school."
After each semester, the child care program conducts surveys to assess whether it’s meeting students’ needs.
“Without this funding I wouldn't be able to afford after school care for my daughter,” one student wrote in their survey. “It has allowed me to continue my nursing education and I am forever grateful.”
Many students said they would not be able to attend college without the program.
“This financial assistance has helped so much,” another student wrote in their survey. “I am able to continue my education through FRCC and work towards my degree and it helps keep my child educated and in a well taken care of environment while I am gone.”