Duckworth Leads 19 Senators in Calling for More Childcare Support for Student Parents
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) led 18 of her colleagues in writing to Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA) to request significant new funding for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) Program in the FY2019 appropriations bill. The CCAMPIS Program makes it easier for college students with children of their own to complete their education by providing them with access to affordable child care programs.
“Student parents struggle to pay for the ever-increasing price of child care services on top of tuition, fees, and other costs,” the Senators wrote. “Unfortunately, most students are not able to access existing child care programs, their options are often unaffordable, and child care centers located on campus are rare or have substantial wait lists. The CCAMPIS program helps to meet the urgent needs of student parents working to attain a college degree or workforce training to provide economic security for themselves and for their children.”
The Senators highlighted how the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill included the first increase in funding for the CCAMPIS program in fifteen years. Duckworth had led a group of 13 Senators in requesting significant new funding for the CCAMPIS program in that Omnibus bill. Senators Duckworth, Murray, Gillibrand, Casey and Durbin also introduced legislation in August, 2017 to expand the CCAMPIS program to help even more student parents manage the steep costs of child care. Access to affordable on-campus child care services has dropped dramatically since 2003 for the 1 in 4 college students who are also parents, a number that has grown 30 percent since 2004.
In addition to Duckworth, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Doug Jones (D-AL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
A full copy of the letter is available here and below:
Dear Chairman Blunt and Ranking Member Murray:
Thank you for supporting the needs of student parents enrolled in higher education through your recent strengthening of the federal investment in the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. We applaud this increase as a critical first step toward putting college within reach for millions of students nationwide, more than one in four of which are raising a dependent child. As you work to draft the Fiscal Year 2019 appropriations bill, we request that you provide $67 million for the CCAMPIS program. The CCAMPIS program helps to meet the urgent needs of student parents working to attain a college degree or workforce training to provide economic security for themselves and for their children.
Approximately 1.4 million Pell Grant recipients today have children under the age of 5, and 4.8 million students in higher education have dependent children. Student parents struggle to pay for the ever-increasing price of child care services on top of tuition, fees, and other costs. Unfortunately, most students are not able to access existing child care programs, their options are often unaffordable, and child care centers located on campus are rare or have substantial wait lists. To help address these challenges, the CCAMPIS program supports campus-based child care programs primarily serving the needs of low-income students.
For fifteen years before the passage of the recent FY 2018 omnibus, funding for the CCAMPIS program did not increase and was only able to meet a tiny fraction of the student demand for affordable and high-quality on-campus child care. The recent agreement to raise overall spending caps provided an additional $2 billion in both FY 2018 and again in FY 2019 for “student-centered programs that aid college completion and affordability,” which paved the way for the recent increase to the CCAMPIS funding level.
This new investment will provide a historic opportunity to address some of the vast unmet demand for on-campus child care from millions of students who are parents—but we can and must do more. Even under recent increased funding levels, campus child care wait lists will remain extraordinarily long and far too few students in need of affordable, high-quality child care will be able to access it. We therefore urge you to prioritize funding for the child care for student parents and use some of the funding provided by the $2 billion college affordability set-aside to increase the overall investment in CCAMPIS to $67 million as part of the FY 2019 appropriations measure.
Providing adequate child care resources to student parents will help to improve both college completion and affordability. Additionally, it will immediately address the vast unmet needs of millions of student parents focused on getting an education in order provide a better future for their families. Thank you for your consideration.
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