Georgia Southern University has been awarded a $1.6 million grant to help provide childcare subsidies for eligible student-parents over the next four years through the Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) program.
Written on behalf of the Office of Inclusive Excellence by Corine Ackerson-Jones, director of TRIO Student Support Services (SSS) on the Armstrong Campus in Savannah, the CCAMPIS grant will serve no less than 30 student-parents per year on the Armstrong Campus and the Liberty Campus in Hinesville by providing a maximum amount of $150 per week for childcare services to be paid directly to the childcare provider.
The grant, a first of its kind at Georgia Southern, is fully funded by the Department of Education and will work with centers licensed and accredited through the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. To apply for CCAMPIS assistance student-parents must be PELL eligible.
“According to recent data, the annual price of childcare can exceed the annual cost of in-state tuition at a public four-year university,” said Ackerson-Jones. “Without financial assistance, it is next to impossible for economically challenged student-parents to attend school and pay for quality, affordable childcare.”
Amanda Brandmire, a student-parent studying natural resource and wildlife conservation on the Armstrong Campus, said balancing her role as a parent and a student can be challenging emotionally and financially, especially when it comes to childcare.
“There have been several times where my husband and I had to get very creative with our funds to make it because of our childcare costs,” she said. “My husband and I may skip meals or go a week at a time without food because childcare is a necessity for us to work and go to school. In addition, I have to give up study time or time with my kids to go pickup a shift delivering for DoorDash just to get by. Right now we don’t have an income and we are a week behind on childcare expenses, but thankfully our daycare is working with us.”
A subsidy for childcare would change the trajectory of Brandmire’s education.
“For me this would be an amazing opportunity,” Brandmire said. “I am so close to finishing my undergraduate degree and plan on applying to grad school in March. Being a first-generation college student, my education is extremely important and this would help me make graduation a reality.”
Brandmire feels this resource would appeal greatly to other student-parents in the greater Savannah area.
“This is also a huge selling point for potential students and moms like me who want something better but can’t get over the childcare hurdle,” Brandmire said. “I appreciate Georgia Southern for taking the time to reach out and serve their non-traditional students.”
Ackerson-Jones has worked on the Armstrong Campus for 17 years and assists low-income, first-generation students, and students with disabilities through the TRIO SSS program which is also funded 100% by the Department of Education. Through her role, she saw a need for student-parents like Brandmire and sought ways to make a difference in their educational journeys.
“It has been evidenced in the data that the four-year graduation rate for Armstrong and Liberty campus PELL recipients falls below that of non-PELL recipients,” Ackerson-Jones said. “It has been my experience that a great number of these students are not graduating sooner due to financial hardship. They must work more hours, so oftentimes they cannot maintain a full course load. Taking less classes prolongs graduation. It was my goal to find some financial relief for these students because the threat of unaffordable childcare was a threat to them remaining in school.
“There has never been a child care facility on either of these campuses nor has there been any access to financial support for student-parents to help pay for child care,” she continued. “The time seemed right to try to rectify this.”
The objective of the program is that student-parents will
“I am excited about the addition of the CCAMPIS grant to the array of programs that serve underrepresented students, this one serving Pell-eligible students who are also parents, which complements our work in the Inclusive Excellence cluster,” said Dominique A. Quarles, Ph.D., associate vice president for Inclusive Excellence and chief diversity officer at Georgia Southern.
“Mrs. Jones went beyond what’s required of her to respond to a need she saw on campus, which resulted in securing $1.6 million in grant funds to serve students in a way that will have a real and immediate impact on their ability to enroll and complete their degree at Georgia Southern.”
The grant will be disbursed at $401,128.00 a year for four years for a total of $1,604,512.
More information on student eligibility and the application process will be available soon. To learn more, contact the Office of Inclusive Excellence by emailing email@example.com.