A Helping Hand for Student Parents

October 18, 2013 | Borough of Manhattan Community College

A Helping Hand for Student Parents

Getting through two years of college and earning an associate’s degree is an impressive achievement for anyone. But for low-income students with small children to care for, simply making it to class and keeping up with assignments can be a major challenge.

Since 1984, BMCC’s Early Childhood Center (ECC) has given student parents the peace of mind “that comes from knowing their children are in a nurturing and enriched environment,” says the center’s executive director, Cecilia Scott-Croff. “Parents can attend classes and without having to worry about the care of their children.”

Benefiting parents and their children
Now, thanks to a grant of over $1.3 million—$324,558 per year for four years, the CCAMPIS (Childcare Access Means Parents in School) grant from the U.S. Department of Education—the center is positioned to expand its services. The grant will help fund the ECC’s student parent services.

Nationally recognized as a model for on-campus childcare programs, the center serves preschoolers seven days a week and children up to age 12 on the weekends. In addition to childcare, the center provides a varied program of educational and development activities, including music, art, dance and literacy.

Programs are taught by New York State-certified teachers and artists and “supported by a BMCC administrative team that fosters parent involvement and student engagement,” Scott-Croff says.

“All of us at the center are extremely proud to have received this grant—especially in view of how competitive the selection process was,” she adds. All told, more than $9.2 million in CCAMPIS grants were awarded to 58 colleges in 28 states this year. BMCC was one of only six grantees in New York State—and one of only two within CUNY.

Expanded services
“The grant will enable us to continue offering a diverse and enriched curriculum for children,” says Scott-Croff. “It will also allow us to provide additional parent-training sessions for students.”

The writing of the grant was a collaboration among several BMCC offices and departments, including tremendous support from the Student Affairs Office, the Admissions Office, the Registrar’s Office, the Financial Aid Office, and the Office of Grants and Development.

“Everyone pulled together and invested an enormous amount of energy and time,” Scott-Croff says. “Needless to say, we’re delighted.”