Wyden, Merkeley on College Student Childcare

Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, Oregon’s U.S.

Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden, Oregon’s U.S. Senators, announced that Oregon State University, Lane Community College, OSU-Cascades, and Central Oregon Community College would take part in the Child Care Access Means Parents In School (CCAMPIS) program, receiving between them a total of $400,000 to assist parents as they complete their education. 

“Completing a degree program is challenging under most circumstances, but can be especially difficult when trying to navigate child care,” Wyden said. “I am gratified that we have earned the dollars to support Oregon student parents in their educational endeavors.” 

“I am grateful this grant will allow colleges across Oregon to provide quality child care service to low-income families and encourage participation with entities of higher learning,” Merkley added. “The need for child care should not be a barrier to obtaining a college degree and I will support any parent who aspires to achieve that milestone 

CCAMPIS grants subsidize before- and after-school services. The money will go to: 

Oregon State: $220,000 

OSU-Cascades: $30,000 

Central Oregon Community College: $60,675 

Lane Community College: $114,061 

Kelly Sparks, Associate Vice President for Finance and Strategic Planning at Oregon State University-Cascades, was especially pleased with the grants, telling a member of Senator Wyden’s staff, “Oregon State University-Cascades is located within a childcare desert…[where] parents lack sufficient quality child care options. With this U.S. Department of Education grant, we will be able to better address the critical needs of our student parents and their children with access to an on-campus child care and early learning center led by early childhood experts.” 

Cheryl Henderson, Lane Community College Child and Family Education Manager, echoed Sparks’ praise, saying, “We are thrilled to once again to be a recipient and applaud Senators Wyden and Merkley for their continued support of the CCAMPIS program. We know that child care can be a barrier for many people who would like to go to college, so having safe, high-quality, and affordable early-childhood care and education right here on campus can help these students succeed and create brighter futures for their whole families.” 

Words of gratitude came also from Central Oregon Community College, where Dr. Laurie Chesley, their President, said, “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted low-income families. We also know that there is a chronic lack of affordable, reliable childcare for these same families across Central Oregon. Funding from…[CCAMPIS] will help these same communities complete their education and workforce training without having to worry about the cost and quality of their children’s care. COCC thanks Senators Merkley and Wyden for this transformative investment in Central Oregonians’ access to higher education and affordable childcare. Workforce and economic development begins with supporting Oregon families, and COCC is proud to partner in this work.” 

Quality child care is far more than just babysitting. Early childhood education is vital to the robust development of a young mind. The child care centers created by these grants will not only help to ensure the graduation of Oregon State’s Class of 2025, but also its class of 2045. 

By John M. Burt