Reimbursement program helps student parents
To help lessen the burden of being a student parent, the university now offers those who are eligible the opportunity to be partially reimbursed for their child care expenses while they are in school.
The Child Care Partial Reimbursement Program is overseen by Rosalyn Amenta, the director of special projects and a women’s studies professor.
She said entering the program requires filling out an application and for students to fulfill certain criteria.
If they do, they are given a check to use however they see fit. “It’s for children of… full time students on financial aid who need help paying their way through university through giving them a modest reimbursement for child care expenses given to them…at the end of the semester,” said Amenta.
She said understands that being a parent is a demanding job. She said she hopes this program helps ease their worries about child care and allows them to pay more attention to their studies and work toward getting their degree. Having been involved with child care for students on campus for a few decades, she said she has been committed to seeing how she can find a way to even the playing field for student parents.
“Parenthood is something that is so precious and so demanding, so overwhelming and so rewarding in many ways, and to try to be the best parent you can be while trying to be the best student you can be, can be a challenge,” said Amenta.
Michele Vancour, a public health professor, said the Office of Student Life has done a good job creating new flyers for the program and putting them around campus to spread awareness about the program.
“I’m about to launch a child care study with students,” said Vancour. “We’re going to do a survey in the next couple weeks and that will ask students if they are aware that there is this program, so it will give us an understanding of how many student parents do know that we have been offering this now for several years.”
Depending on the number of people that sign up for the program, Vancour said parents can be reimbursed up to $500 a semester, but she is hoping more can be done.
“I’m hoping in the near future we can find resources to increase that amount, and we’re also doing a lot of other things to try to bring more child care to and near campus to support students,” said Vancour.
Yi-Chun Tricia Lin, director of the Women’s Studies Program, said she wishes there was on campus child care services, but she still thinks the partial reimbursement is a great thing to have.
“I dream of that one day we have an on campus daycare, so the community members don’t actually have to take their kids outside somewhere before coming to work, that means students, that means staff, that means faculty,” said Lin.
Lin said she thinks a lot about how school work is compromised because of demands of everyday life, making it especially difficult for parents, but she said that is not always the case.
“When they’re parents it’s really very hard, but I would also say something that I have seen some of the parents, as parent students, perform really to the fullest of their ability because they feel they want to set themselves an example, as a model for the kids,” said Lin.
Amenta said the deadline to apply for the program is currently set for April 12, and that more information about the program can be found on the Dean of Student Affairs’ website as well. It includes additional resources for students parents.