Duckworth, Murray Lead 18 Senators in Urging Education Department to Swiftly Implement Funding Increase to Affordable Child Care Program
Senators ask Education Department to expand CCAMPIS program after Congress increased its funding by 233%
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Patty Murray (D-WA), the ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, along with 16 of their colleagues sent a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to urge her department to use funding Congress recently allocated to help thousands of student parents access affordable child care. Congress recently passed a significant funding increase for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, which provides affordable child care support to college students with children, after Duckworth and 13 of her fellow Senators requested a funding increase in the FY2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill. The Senators urged the Department of Education to rapidly expand the number of college campuses and students that receive support through the CCAMPIS program and to prioritize student parents with the least financial means, particularly first-generation college students, low-income students, students of color, and those pursuing their first college degree or credential.
“Student parents struggle to pay for 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,” the Senators wrote. “To help address these challenges, we urge you to move swiftly to expand the number of college campuses and students that receive support through the (CCAMPIS) program.”
4.8 million students pursuing higher education – or 1 out of 4 college students – have dependent children and 1.4 million Pell Grant recipients have children under the age of five. The CCAMPIS program makes it easier for those students to complete their education. Duckworth led 19 of her Senate colleagues last month in requesting additional funding for the CCAMPIS program in the FY2019 appropriations bill to build upon the progress made in the FY2018 omnibus. Senators Duckworth, Murray, Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) also introduced legislation in August, 2017 to expand the CCAMPIS program to help even more student parents manage the steep costs of child care.
In addition to Duckworth and Murray, 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), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Doug Jones (D-AL), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Bill Nelson (D-FL), 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:
The Honorable Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202
Dear Secretary DeVos:
As the U.S. Department of Education (“Department”) moves forward to implement the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 (P.L. 115-141), we urge you to take steps to reduce the significant number of student parents in higher education that do not have access to affordable child care and should benefit from this legislation’s $34.9 million increase for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program.
The CCAMPIS program helps to meet the urgent needs of student parents enrolled in higher education who are working to attain a college degree or workforce training that will provide economic security for themselves and for their children. Approximately 1.4 million Pell Grant recipients today have children under the age of five, and 4.8 million students in higher education have dependent children. These astounding numbers reveal that nearly one-quarter of all college students nationwide are raising a dependent child.
Student parents struggle to pay for 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, helping to support intergenerational economic mobility. However, for the past 15 years, funding for the CCAMPIS program remained largely level and was only able to meet a tiny fraction of the student demand for affordable and high-quality on-campus child care. This year, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018 provided more than a 233 percent increase to CCAMPIS funding, taking a step in the right direction to meeting more of the vast unmet demand for on-campus child care from millions of student parents.
Therefore, we urge you to move swiftly to open a new grant competition for CCAMPIS that will expand the number of college campuses and students that receive support through the program. Additionally, consistent with the program’s longstanding targeting toward student parents who are low-income, we ask that you ensure this grant competition continues to prioritize applications that will create or expand support services for student parents with the least financial means, particularly first-generation students, low-income students, students of color, and those pursuing their first college degree or credential. Given that federal funds were appropriated more than five months into Fiscal Year 2018, it is important that the Department move rapidly to assist students. Taking action to open this grant competition as soon as possible will help to ensure that campuses have adequate time to plan for the child care support services they will be able to offer in the upcoming 2018-19 academic year. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
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