According to a meeting, hosted by Rowan leaders Corine Brown, Leah Walker and Hannah Kye on Wednesday, Feb. 23, Rowan is trying to help students with children by providing opportunities for potentially free or discounted childcare at the Early Childhood Demonstration Center on campus.
This comes as one of the benefits a part of the Family-Friendly Campus Initiative at Rowan, aiming to “keep Rowan students who are parents in school,” according to their website.
“My role within this program is to support the development of the programs. I work a lot with the college students who are parents in the enrollment as well as some of the support groups,” said Walker while sharing information on her position as the director and lead teacher of the Rowan Early Childhood Demonstration Center where the preschool is located at in James Hall.
The funding comes from a grant called Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS), which also hosts other events for student parents to connect. According to Walker, the funding has covered all the tuition for nine students in the past two years. Otherwise, if only given some assistance, parents are still responsible for paying the rest.
“I’m collecting some data on student parent issues on campus,” Kye, an assistant professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education and the principal investigator for the CCAMPIS grant, said during the meeting.
Kye has worked to identify critical statistics about the student parents present on campus, such as the national 8% bachelor’s degree-completion rate for single mothers. Kye also explained that in New Jersey, as of 2018, 10% of young parents have earned an associate degree or higher.
According to Kye, there are about 900 students at Rowan that have identified themselves on their FAFSA as parents. However, Walker estimates that there are at least a couple hundred more that aren’t reporting this information.
Brown is the Program Coordinator for Elementary Education at Rowan while serving as a Professor in Residence at Johnstone Elementary School, according to her staff page.
“My specific role in this particular initiative is to really help bridge the gaps between a lot of the resources and existing offices we have on campus,” Brown said. “Our mission in the grant is really to help Rowan students on all campuses who are raising children to successfully navigate their learning experience.”
According to Walker, only student parents from the main campus in Glassboro are eligible for tuition assistance when sending their children to the childhood center.
“To be eligible to receive the tuition assistance for their children to attend, [parents] have to be Pell Grant eligible– which would be based on their expected family contribution,” Walker said. “They have to have a current FAFSA on file for the semester that they’re applying for, and they have to be currently enrolled in course credits for a degree program.”
Children between the ages of 3 and 6 are currently eligible, they also need to be potty trained. Parents must reapply each semester for the assistance but the center is currently open for enrollment with no deadline. However, once the classes are full, applicants won’t be accepted.
The Early Childhood Demonstration Center is open 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and evening care is available Monday through Thursday.
“Students are seeking family events on campus. They’re looking for a student group of student parents to connect more than any other resource,” Kye said.
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