TLES professor awarded DOE grant renewal for $961,392

Oct. 13, 2021

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Dr. Regena Nelson, Professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies and Director of the Urban Teacher Residency Program was recently awarded a U.S. Department of Education Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) grant for $961,392. The grant renews the College Assistance for Parenting and Education (CAPE) project (2017-2021) for an additional four years (2021-2025).

Dr. Regena Nelson

CAPE aims to increase student-parents’ degree completion rates by providing child care tuition assistance for birth through school-age children at 3 partner, high quality, child care centers in the community using a sliding fee scale. The sliding fee scale is based on marital status. Single-parent families will receive 100% tuition assistance after all state subsidies have been applied. Two-parent families will receive 50% child care tuition assistance after all subsidies have been applied. The child care tuition assistance payments will be sent to the child care centers.

Western Michigan University student-parents also receive academic, social and career transition support and resources to remove barriers to graduation. Student-parents in the CAPE program receive social support at the family dinner meetings held each semester on campus. The CAPE Family Resource Specialist has monthly meetings with each student-parent to develop and monitor parenting, academic and career transition goals. The Family Resource Specialist provides referrals to services in the community and on campus to address any barriers toward these goals.

The mutually beneficial partnerships between the College of Education and Human Development and the 3 child care centers provides internship sites for early childhood majors at the child care centers, which allows the centers to increase staffing capacity to expand enrollment to address the child care shortage in our community.

The CCAMPIS grant funds will also be used to provide accreditation consultation and assistance to the child care centers. The child care centers lack the staff support to prepare the accreditation documents required for the accreditation site visit while they are making improvements to meet accreditation guidelines.

In June 2019 WMU closed its child campus child care center due insufficient income based on space limitations that did not allow the center to expand enrollment to increase revenue. The first CCAMPIS grant that was received in 2017 allowed Western Michigan University to continue to provide low cost child care to student-parents who qualify for Pell grants. Since 2019 WMU has been able to provide child care with 5 partner centers for 35 students who applied for child care tuition assistance.