Last week, the Department of Education (ED) released a Federal Register Notice inviting applications for new awards for FY2023 for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program. CCAMPIS is a competitive grant program administered by ED that supports the participation of parents with low incomes in postsecondary education by making child care more accessible.
Attending higher education while raising young children is no easy feat, and yet 1 in 5 college students are parents. Lack of access to affordable, reliable child care can be a key barrier standing in the way of parents’ ability to graduate. Investing in campus-based child care benefits both the student and their child by giving children the benefits of high-quality early learning experiences and improving family’s economic stability in the long-run.
Institutions of higher education (IHEs) can use CCAMPIS funds to support on-campus child care centers or contract with off-campus providers in the community, including home-based care. Grants can also be used for before- and after-school services. IHEs must receive at least $250,000 in Pell Grants to apply and grants last four years.
As outlined in the notice inviting applications, ED’s priorities include projects that leverage significant local or institutional resources and use a sliding fee scale for child care in order to support a high number of low-income student parents. ED encourages applicants to coordinate across federal, state, and local programs to best serve students. The notice also includes three invitational priorities. Consistent with last year, ED is interested in applications focused on supporting single parents and providing wrap-around services to low-income student parents. ED has replaced last year’s priority to increase child care access to student parents with infants and toddlers with a new priority focused on improving the quality of campus-based child care.
Unfortunately, there is a long way to go before CCAMPIS meets the needs of all student parents. CCAMPIS has received funding increases in recent years, but it remains a relatively small program. The program’s FY 2023 funding level is $75 million, which is $10 million over FY 2022. And the awards are usually small in size— last year ED gave 301 awards and the average award was only $273,338. To allow more student parents to benefit, the Consolidated Appropriations Act 2022 lifted the previous maximum for CCAMPIS awards from 1% of Pell awarded funding to 3% and tripled the minimum of $30,000 to $90,000. According to ED, the maximum award amount for FY 2023 will be “$500,000 or the amount equivalent to the product of $100 multiplied by the institution’s total number of Pell Grant recipients in FY 2022, whichever amount is greater.”
At current funding and award levels, the program is only able to support a very small fraction of the student parents who need child care. However, Democrats have expressed interest in expanding the program in recent years. President Biden’s FY2024 budget requested $95 million for CCAMPIS. And in the 117th Congress, Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) introduced a bill that would permanently reauthorize CCAMPIS and set funding at $500 million per year. This bill would have also made changes to the program to improve access for students and make it easier for institutions to participate.
Applications for the FY2023 CCAMPIS awards are due July 31, 2023. Find more CCAMPIS award and eligibility information here. Learn more about CCAMPIS and the Higher Education Act (HEA) and FFYF’s recommendations for HEA reauthorization.