Removing Barriers Promotes Access and Retention

Guest Correspondence

Photo courtesy SCF.

From experience and research, we know that, given the opportunity, most individuals would consider pursuing a higher education. However, financial, family and other barriers make it more difficult. For example, childcare costs today are nearing an average of $1,000 to $1,200 a month, with variables such as the location, number and age of children significantly impacting the range.

In 2022, State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota received a grant under the Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program from the U.S. Department of Education. The funding is designated to alleviate the financial burden on parents with young children who are pursuing a college degree, improving their likelihood of academic success. The grant is co-administered by SCF and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. 

SCF also supports the recipients with its full complement of student support services, including college and career success coaches, assistance navigating the financial aid process and referrals to additional community and government resources. To date, we have assisted over 30 students, many of whom have successfully completed their degrees and are now pursuing rewarding careers. These success stories include men and women ranging in age with the majority being returning older adults living in Sarasota and Manatee counties. 

SCF student and single mother Jessica lives 45 minutes from campus and can only return to school because of the CCAMPIS program. A certified nursing assistant for 20 years, she’s worked two jobs and always wanted to return to school and grow her career opportunities. Passionate about occupational therapy, Jessica attended an open house to learn more about the program and was surprised to learn of the available childcare funding. With the assistance, she can attend school and place her 10-year-old daughter in before and after care while completing SCF’s Occupational Therapy Assistance degree program. She says, “I not only receive support as a student but as a parent. Tips for studying, parenting books, and flexibility create a supportive and welcoming environment.”

Enrollment in the CCAMPIS program at SCF is ongoing while funds are available. SCF also offers scholarships and college and career coaching to guide and provide open access to anyone interested in pursuing career growth, a certificate, or a degree.

For more information or to enroll, visit SCF.edu/CCAMPIS.

Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld is President of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota.

Photo courtesy SCF.

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