OCTOBER 9, 2020 — UTSA’s Child Development Center is aiming to further student success by ensuring students who are parents reach their goal of graduation through affordable child care.
The Child Development Center recently received a Child Care Access Means Parents in School grant of $315,000 from the U.S. Department of Education to support its new initiative, the Aim High Childcare Project.
“This award allows institutions in higher education to create innovative projects that offer flexibility and affordability in child care as well as provide subsidized tuition for the children of student parents to receive care at the institution,” said Pamela Ray, director of the center.
Through the Aim High Childcare Project, the center’s first goal is to recruit, select and enroll children of student parents who are trying to complete their education at UTSA, Ray said.
“This will allow us to extend our child care hours into some evenings, for example, during the week before finals.”
“Our second goal is for us to provide extended services for parents. This will allow us to extend our child care hours into some evenings, for example, during the week before finals,” she said. “That would allow them additional study time and prep for research or whatever it is they’re working on. We want to provide them support for success because the end goal is for them to graduate.”
Besides extended child care hours, the grant will allow the program to provide a subsidized portion of the child care tuition.
“The grant is available to undergraduate and graduate students who are full time in the spring and summer,” Ray said. “They must maintain a specified GPA—undergraduates need a 3.0 and graduates need 3.5. They also need to meet our income eligibility guidelines.”
The center provides child care to student parents, faculty and staff on campus. Its program is meant to enhance “emotional, social, creative, physical, language and cognitive development through creative learning experiences.”
Ray says she’s seen the benefits of the grant at her previous institution.
“While it really helped us with retention, our goal was to see the students graduate,” Ray said. “They wear a lot of hats: They are a student, they are a parent, they are working and trying to balance everything and be able to have affordable child care.”
Research shows that when student parents have access to quality, affordable child care, they are very productive in their goals, Ray continued.
“They become productive workers, parents and students,” she said. “It will just give them that opportunity to know that they’re closer to graduation without worrying about all of the other things that come with life as a student parent.”
UTSA is currently the only four-year institution in San Antonio to have the grant, Ray said.
⇒ Learn more about the Child Development Center at UTSA.
“We want to thank President Taylor Eighmy, PreK4Sa, Mayor Nirenberg, Texas Association for the Education of Young Children and Region 20 for all writing us letters of support,” Ray said. “The grant speaks to one of our main destinations of student success. Here at the Child Development Center we strive from good to great, so that’s why we are very excited to provide an opportunity to our UTSA students, and even just bringing it to San Antonio.”