Supporting Parenting Students with Course Completion
(June 29, 2022) -It wasn’t easy trying to focus on coursework while caring for two young children. So, having access to high-quality childcare without the financial burden allowed recent Clayton State graduate, Unique Choyce, to graduate recently, even with an increased course load.
Choyce completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology during the Fall 2021 semester to become a pediatric psychiatry physician assistant. She chose Clayton State after graduating from Atlanta Metropolitan State College.
Clayton State was awarded a $600,000 Department of Education grant to expand student access to childcare, and 2022 marks year three of a four-year grant. We secured the highest level of per-student funding for this purpose within the University System of Georgia (USG), even outpacing the University of Georgia. Three institutions are currently grant-funded for Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) and our non-traditional students benefit from being able to take care of their children while ensuring their bandwidth to manage their courses.
Dr. Deborah Deckner-Davis, director of Clayton State’s CCAMPIS program, said that the two-generational model has been very successful through funding from the U.S. Department of Education, “We are ensuring that while the children of students are in childcare, they're getting high-quality care which helps us attend to the needs of both the parents and their children,” she said.
Choyce explained that due to the early phases of COVID-19, her courses were taught virtually and one of her professors often engaged the class in online discussion. She was on maternity leave with a newborn and a two-year-old. Feedings, diaper changes, consoling them, or encouraging them to sleep were not uncommon tasks during class. During a particular virtual session, her two-year-old tried unsuccessfully to console a very irritated infant, which drew the attention of the instructor, Deckner-Davis.
“My professor caught a glimpse of the action in the background…then messaged me asking if she could speak to me after class,” Choyce said. “She informed me of the childcare assistance being offered by the school. The assistance helped me immensely.”
According to the Economic Policy Institute and Center for American Progress, childcare in Georgia can cost more than an average monthly rent, in parts of the state. Participation in our CCAMPIS program allows for parenting students to receive quality caregiving to concentrate on academics.
“We have seen a consistent pattern whereupon entry into our childcare subsidy program, students are able to increase the number of hours they complete on a semester basis, which obviously accelerates the rate at which they obtain their degree,” said Deckner-Davis. “In turn (this) reduces the cost of their degree.”
Our program participants have the necessary supportive childcare services, hold an average GPA of 2.93, and as a result, CCAMPIS yields strong program outcomes each year. The most demonstrated result is seeing our students graduate successfully and start their careers sooner to provide for their families.
“The childcare grant helped me prepare for my career by allowing me to get the alone time I needed to study and focus on my studies so that I remained the honors student I pride myself on being,” Choyce said. “Being able to focus allowed me to gain the knowledge needed to excel in my career.”