When NIU graduate student JoAnn LoSavio has to choose between paying rent and paying for child care for her 2-year-old daughter, the choice is obvious.
“I have to pay rent first,” LoSavio, a doctoral student in the Department of History, said. “This then means that I have to find other ways to get child care, and the time and energy I should be devoting to finishing my degree is diverted.”
The Child Development and Family Center at NIU was recently awarded more than $1 million for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. Funded through the U.S. Department of Education and paid over a four-year period, the CCAMPIS program is intended to support NIU student-parents who need child care assistance in order to remain in school and graduate with a college degree. The program provides support for up to 100 percent of the cost of child care for students with small children.
LoSavio was accepted into NIU’s CCAMPIS program and as a result, her daughter will be able to attend NIU’s Child Development and Family Center full time, something she hasn’t been able to do.
“I can’t afford to pay for her to go full time; I can barely afford for her to go part time,” LoSavio said. “But now, with CCAMPIS paying for her full-time daycare, I’ll have more time to work on my dissertation, work on finishing my degree and I won’t have to worry about money as much as I do now.”
LoSavio said the CCAMPIS program is important to her and many fellow Huskies who are non-traditional students.
“We have families and children and we need programs like this to make the pursuit of a higher education degree financially feasible,” LoSavio said. “We have to provide not only for ourselves but also for our families; since we have finite amounts of money and time, the needs of our families come first before the completion of our degrees.”
Like many students, LoSavio moved to DeKalb to attend NIU, leaving behind relatives and a network of people who could lend a hand with child care. Things will be different now, thanks to the CCAMPIS program.
“Being able to use campus day care – and more importantly being able to afford it – makes a huge difference in my life,” LoSavio said. “This alleviates an enormous amount of stress on me.”
And she’s not alone.
NIU student Tiffany Morton was recently accepted into the CCAMPIS program. The mother of a 2-year-old daughter said unlike a scholarship – an award tied to grades – the grant is something she can count on.
“CCAMPIS is a blessing for parents who aren’t always straight-A students,” Morton, who is studying Family Social Services, said. “I won’t have to worry that my grades are the reason why my daughter can’t go to day care.”
Thomas Pavkov, department chair, NIU’s Family and Consumer Sciences, said the university is focused on facilitating student retention and completion for its students, and the program complements that mission.
“This program is going to allow some people to stay in school, some people to start school and some people to complete the degree that they otherwise would not be able to complete,” Pavkov said. “We are in a nice position to support them by providing award-winning child care at the Child Development and Family Center.”
Along with access to affordable, high quality child care, participants receive additional support through the Child Development and Family Center coordinator, Dahlia Roman.
“CCAMPIS is so very important in the lives of our student-parents,” Roman, who oversees the program, said. “Having been able to process these applications for this grant is not just about awarding money – which is a critical part – but it has afforded parents additional time to study more time with their children and supports they did not anticipate.”
Since the funds became available during the 2018-2019 academic year, Roman has seen firsthand the positive impact the program is having on Huskies students.
“The result of this has been a parent not having to work four jobs or another parent being able to process stressors and work on identifying personal goals that will enable them to be successful,” Roman said. “I absolutely love my role as a family coordinator because I have an opportunity to provide full support to the entire family.”
For more information or to apply to the CCAMPIS program, visit here.