An online publication for the staff, faculty, students and friends of Community College of Philadelphia
Volume 15, Number 2 - October 2007

Grant Keeps Higher Education Within Reach for Low-Income Students

Tuition, fees, books, commuting costs—every student faces a daunting list of expenses directly related to pursing a higher education. For low-income students who are also parents, paying for quality child care, which averages $5,000 per year, can be the central issue that keeps them from reaching their academic aspirations. A $1,016,000 four-year grant from the United States Department of Education allows the College to fund up to $500 per month in child care expenses for student parents who meet the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) requirements.

Terry Blunden-Saunders & son
Student Terry Blunden-Saunders with son, Aaron.

“Having quality after school care for my son allows me to study, meet with my teachers and take care of other responsibilities without worrying about his welfare,” said Terry Blunden-Saunders, who is in her second year of Nursing prerequisites at the College. “In addition to the help with child care, through CCAMPIS, I have access to a network of single parents who have similar challenges and issues to manage. That support is invaluable.”

Claudia Curry, director of the College’s Women’s Center, is project manager for CCAMPIS. Stipends can be applied to child care at the College’s Main Campus facility or at accredited centers (or those working toward accreditation) near a student’s home, she said.

“This is a very flexible, yet powerful program that meets a fundamental need for student parents. CCAMPIS covers up to 36 weeks of child care during the academic year and can continue through the summer, depending on availability of funds,” Curry said. “The support is available throughout students’ college career for up to four years. We have 40 ‘slots’ and are serving just 23 student parents for the fall ’07 semester. We would like more student parents to take advantage of these funds. Based on studies and our direct experience with students, we know that assistance with child care costs is critical for low-income families who want to work, attend school, remain self-sufficient and stay off welfare.”

Alumna Desiree LaMarr earned an associate’s degree in December 2006, in part with the help of CCAMPIS stipends. She graduated with a 3.7 GPA and has transferred to Temple University, where she is continuing her studies in Elementary Education.

“My grandmother was the primary child care provider for my five daughters. When she passed, I had to quit school and go back to work full time, though I knew my academic advancement would significantly benefit our family,” LaMarr said. “I heard about CCAMPIS during my final attempt to graduate. It was a saving grace. I could not have completed my associate’s degree without that support.”

For more information or to apply for CCAMPIS, contact Claudia Curry at ccurry@ccp.edu or 215-751-8828.