By Marisol Villarreal
EDINBURG, Texas – Student parents attending The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley will have some much-needed help when it comes to child care services for their little ones thanks to a nearly $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education.
Low-income, Pell-eligible student parents will be able to take advantage of the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant, which was announced by Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28) on Oct. 14 at the UTRGV Starr County Campus.
“Because of this program, many young South Texans who would have otherwise dropped out of school, will now have the opportunity to graduate from college,” Cuellar said. “CCAMPIS allows parents to put their education first without putting their child second.”
Dr. Raquenel Sanchez, director of the UTRGV Child Development Center and CCAMPIS project director, said the grant helps further the initiative to help educate the community and build a better future for UTRGV student parents and their families.
“I’m excited for this,” Sanchez said. “This grant is much different than the last one we received in 2018. Not only will we be able to help full-time students, but part-time students as well by providing services throughout the entire Rio Grande Valley.”
The grant will help student parents pay for full-time child care at the UTRGV Child Development Center (CDC) on the Edinburg Campus as well as contracted local community child care centers throughout the Rio Grande Valley.
The funds will be allocated to UTRGV at $997,997 annually over the next four years, providing year-round child care services for children of Pell-eligible student parents in Cameron, Hidalgo, Starr and Willacy counties.
Children 3 months to 5 years of age are eligible for child care services through UTRGV’s Child Development Center, while partnered child care centers age restrictions may vary.
Approximately 130 children of CCAMPIS participants will be served by the CDC during each fall and spring academic terms while 60 children will receive CDC care during the summer terms.
“I am a UTPA alumna, so this is home to me. I as well had my children during my master’s and doctorate program,” Sanchez said. “So being able to see this come full circle with students not needing to worry about their financial situation or if their child is safe is great.”
For more information on the program and how applicants can apply, contact the UTRGV Child Development Center at email@example.com or call 956-665-2469.