Indiana University of Pennsylvania has received $149,998 from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to continue its work to support undergraduate parenting students.

The funding is part of Governor Shapiro’s Parent Pathways Grant Program, which provides funding to institutions to directly support the persistence of parenting students in the form of tuition assistance, emergency funding, and wrap-around service support. The funding will be used for programming for the 2024–25 academic year.

Kalani Palmer, a professor in IUP’s Department of Professional Studies in Education and director of IUP’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, authored the grant application.

The CCAMPIS program has been in place at IUP since 2017. It provides parenting support, financial support with childcare costs, social support, and referrals to beneficial resources for parenting students at IUP. The university has maintained CCAMPIS funding, provided through the Department of Education, each year since 2017. The current funding is in place to continue the program through 2025.

Since 2017, IUP’s CCAMPIS program has supported 50 parenting students; 30 have graduated and 16 are currently enrolled in classes.

“This is a great success rate, and our parenting students tell us that CCAMPIS has been instrumental in helping them persist at IUP,” Palmer said. “We are very grateful for this new funding and for the assistance it will provide to our students.”

IUP has a long tradition of supporting early care and education for employees and for students; since 1926, IUP has supported and maintained a childcare facility on campus. The current campus-based childcare program, operated by an independent entity, receives financial support from the university in exchange for the reservation of childcare spaces for IUP staff, faculty, and parenting students.

In addition to guaranteed spots for IUP parenting students for this on-site childcare and education facility, IUP has several resources in place that are supportive of parenting students, including support through the IUP Office of Social Equity for parenting students who need specific accommodations, and a social worker that assists students with identifying, applying for, and receiving supportive services.

“Recently IUP created a nontraditional student orientation that is being piloted with CCAMPIS parents in the upcoming academic year,” Palmer said. “The orientation gives an overview of resources that target nontraditional students both in the community and through IUP, and offers opportunities to connect with other parenting students,” she said.  

“This Parent Pathways Grant Program will allow us to expand our existing services offered through CCAMPIS, including providing support to all undergraduate parenting students with low financial resources to increase the likelihood of their success in higher education,” Palmer said.

CCAMPIS, authorized by the Higher Education Act, provides up to 50 hours of childcare (including before and after-school care) at nationally accredited childcare centers, covering 40 to 90 percent of childcare costs. To be eligible, parenting students must be enrolled in at least six credits of study, be Pell Grant eligible, or have an annual family income at or below 250 percent of the federal poverty guideline. The program is open to parenting students enrolled in undergraduate courses or in master’s coursework.

“The Parent Pathways Grant program funds allows all undergraduate parenting students—including parenting students in certificate programs or who are enrolled in less than six credits of study—to receive support for childcare, school supplies, cost of attendance, social support, or emergency funding—all that have been shown to increase the likelihood of parenting student success in higher education,” she said.

In addition to childcare financial support, CCAMPIS provides mentoring—including review of academic progress—and coaching to parenting students. The program team helps participants connect with university and community resources and works with parenting students to monitor their child’s development. Parenting students also attend workshops that support parenting. Funding in the Parent Pathways Grant will be used to continue that mentoring and support.