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CCAMPIS grant helps to provide free childcare for 50 CLC students

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Nov 02, 2021

College of Lake County (CLC) ensures students from any background have the same access to quality education through numerous student supports, including on-campus childcare. Thanks to the U.S. Department of Education’s Childcare Access Mean Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant worth $352,200, CLC can continue to provide a subsidy for the cost of childcare for 50 low-income student-parents a year at the Grayslake and Lakeshore Campuses over four years.

“Not all students on campus are traditional students,” said Carlotta Conley, director of CLC’s Children’s Learning Center. “Some students are parents with children, and they may also have a job outside of the home.”

Photo of Elizabeth Cassidy dropping her children off at the Children's Learning Center at the Grayslake CampusAllowing parents an inclusive and affordable way to put their children in childcare breaks down a barrier hindering their ability to pursue an education, helping with student retention and graduation rate.

Photo: Elizabeth Cassidy, right, dropping her children off at the Children's Learning Center at the Grayslake Campus.

Having it on campus means parents know their children are in good hands and allows them to spend more time on campus and participate in campus life.

“CLC is a one stop shop for the parents,” Conley said. “Parents come in and drop off their children and know it’s a safe and secure environment where students are learning and cared for. Without childcare, they may not be able to stay on campus longer. It gives them safety and security to continue in and complete classes, have uninterrupted study time and participate in campus life and other activities.”

To qualify for the grant, students must meet certain economic requirements. “Affordable childcare helps to provide some financial security because they can work and get out of a cycle of poverty,” Conley said. “Just offering free childcare to 50 students elevates their chance at accomplishing their dreams while in school.”

Here’s what CCAMPIS grant recipients have said:

“The CCAMPIS grant has been crucial to my success at CLC,” Brittany Jenson said. “Before the grant, I was working 40+ hours to be able to afford school and childcare, attending class and studying 40+ hours and spending little time with my children in pursuit of my goals of giving us a better life. Since being awarded the CCAMPIS grant, I can be just as productive at work in less time, spend more quality time with my children, and effectively attend to my studies to maintain a high GPA. This program has not only improved our present quality of life, but it is also helping us build a successful future."

“I’m actually able to go to school now,” Elizabeth Cassidy said. “I have two kids at home, and there was no room for anything else. When I decided to go back to school, childcare was my number one concern. Because of the grant, I’ve made the honor roll because I didn’t have to worry about my kids.”

“The CCAMPIS grant has allowed me to return to school and stay enrolled,” Kathryn Bloniarz said. “It has also provided me the ability to establish consistency and structure within my children's daily routines. I would not have the financial means to do any of this without the benefits of the CCAMPIS grant.”

The grant covers childcare for five days a week, and since some students may not need the full five days, the grant can serve up to 80 students, Conley said. Students can still use childcare services on days they aren’t in class.

The Children’s Learning Center provides children with an early education in a high-quality environment. During the school year, the center accepts children aged 2-5 and all school-age children during the summer.

About College of Lake County

College of Lake County is a comprehensive community college committed to equitable high-quality education, cultural enrichment and partnerships to advance the diverse communities it serves in northeastern Illinois. Offered at three campuses in Grayslake, Vernon Hills and Waukegan or online, college classes are affordable and accessible to help each student achieve academic, career and personal goals. More than 70,000 students graduated with degrees and certificates since the college opened in 1969. College of Lake County is the only higher-education institution ranked among the top 15 best places to work in Illinois by Forbes and is a national leader in many areas, including sustainability and conservation.