The number of students who are also parents is growing exponentially.
According to a study produced by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, the amount of college students who are parents has increased by 58.2 percent in rocky mountain states (Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming) since 2004. With the rapidly rising costs of both tuition and childcare, more needs to be done to assist students in achieving balance between education and resources.
Salt Lake Community College’s Tim and Brenda Huval Child Care Center, located at the South City Campus, is here to help. The center sets itself apart by offering lower cost, scheduling flexibility and a higher accreditation than the average facility.
The center accepts children from six weeks old to 12 years old, though the majority of children in the program are six weeks to five years old. Space in the program is limited to 50 children.
Holly Garcia, child care director at South City Campus, encourages students to sign up as early as possible.
“I do have a wait list,” Garcia says. “It’s unfortunate, but that’s only in infant and toddler [classrooms]. The rest of the classrooms I serve pretty much immediately.”
The center is open year-round, even during Christmas and other school breaks such as the time between semesters.
“We also are willing to take children on flexible class-time slots, which is unheard of in an infant [care] room,” Garcia says.
Most day care facilities have requirements about each child’s attendance. This means that while a parent might need childcare only three times a week, they would be required to pay for a mandated five days of care a week.
SLCC has no such mandates, and even offers half-day services. This flexible scheduling reduces cost for parents. According to Garcia, the average student that uses this program saves around $300 a month in childcare costs.
The cost itself is based on the childcare subsidy rate, which is the rate at which the state would pay for childcare for a person in poverty. It’s a baseline rate across the state that varies depending upon the age of the child.
“We do offer a cheaper cost to people who are affiliated with the college,” Garcia says. “So if you’re a student or professor or staff member, you get a cheaper cost.”
SLCC Child Care and Family Services also offers a voucher to help subsidize the cost of childcare for those that qualify for it. These vouchers work not only on campus, but at other licensed day care facilities across the state, including licensed home providers. Students can receive up to $700 per semester to help with the cost of childcare.
The program has also received accreditation from the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs.
“Most infant and toddler classrooms don’t get accredited … Most childcare centers just have a license,” Garcia says. “A licensed facility just is required to take care of basic — I mean basic — health and safety rules. So, they’re going to make sure you have a fire extinguisher and that your people [staff] aren’t criminals. That accreditation is really what’s best practices for the education of young children, so that’s a really big deal that we do have a curriculum for even our infant and toddler classrooms.”
To add your name to the waiting list, or for inquiries about the childcare voucher program, please contact Child Care and Family Services at 801-957-3070.