(February 9, 2017) – In partnership with Atlanta-based nonprofit Quality Care for Children, Armstrong State University recently launched a program, which provides financial assistance for quality child care to parents who are pursuing a four-year college degree.
“Armstrong has a sizable number of students who are also working parents,” notes Armstrong Interim Associate Provost for Student Engagement and Success Becky da Cruz. “Affordable child care has been a long-term issue for students on our campus.”
Through the Boost program, created by Quality Care for Children, four full-time Armstrong students receive up to $125 weekly to pay tuition for a local Quality Rated child care program, as designated by the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. Participants must be in good academic standing with at least 60 credit hours and have at least one child between the ages of 0 and 4.
“We want the best possible outcomes for our state’s young children, and know that when a parent earns a degree it means more positive results for the child as well,” says Pam Tatum, chief executive officer and president of Quality Care for Children. “By helping these parents afford a safe and quality early learning program for their children through Boost, we are giving them time to be in class and study while their children are participating in learning programs and getting the care they need during their most critical years of development.”
Isabel Marmolejo, a Respiratory Therapy major who expects to graduate in 2019, is one of the four scholarship recipients at Armstrong.
“This means the world to me,” she says. “I am able to attend classes and earn my credits knowing that my daughter is in a safe environment. I am less stressed and able to focus more on my major, thanks to the Boost program, which provides for longer school hours for my daughter.”
Approximately one-third of all college students are parents. However, more than 50 percent of these students leave college without a degree due to the lack of affordable child care and financial assistance to pay for it.
“This program is a blessing to my life,” says Octavia Phillips, a Nursing student who will graduate in December. “It has enabled me to succeed and focus on my studies without having to worry about working extra hours to pay for child care. I am very grateful for this program, as it allows others that I can trust to care for my child's basic needs during the daytime while I further my education.”
In addition to Armstrong, Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga., and Columbus State University in Columbus, Ga., participate in the Boost tuition assistance program. Currently Boost is serving 15 student-parents with another 15 in the application process. Plans are to eventually serve 100 participants at each of the three universities.
“We’re focused on helping parent-students reach that finish line,” says da Cruz. “As a result, response to the opportunity Boost offers has been tremendous.”
To learn more, visit the Boost program website.