Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today announced legislation that would help expand access to high-quality child care services at no cost to student parents enrolled in community colleges and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). This comes after a report revealed that one in five college students are raising a child under the age of five while in school, and that many of these parents have trouble finding affordable and high-quality child care. The Preparing and Resourcing Our Student Parents and Early Childhood Teachers Act (PROSPECT Act), would help address this by funding $9 billion in new grant programs to provide high-quality infant and toddler care at no cost to low-income parents attending community colleges and MSIs.
“Parents shouldn’t have to choose between getting a college degree and affording child care. However, many student parents have trouble finding and affording high-quality child care services, particularly for infants and toddlers,” said Senator Gillibrand. “That’s why I am pleased to cosponsor the Preparing and Resourcing Our Student Parents and Early Childhood Teachers Act, which would create $9 billion in new grant programs to increase access to child care for low-income student parents at community colleges and minority-serving institutions. I urge my colleagues to support this bill and help provide child care to student parents.”
Specifically, the PROSPECT Act would do the following:
Invest $9 billion over five years in three, new, competitive grant programs to:
- Help community colleges and MSIs provide free, high-quality child care to up to 500,000 children under the age of three with a parent enrolled in the institution
- Provide funding and technical support to infant and toddler care programs near community colleges and MSIs
- Improve and increase the child care workforce by supporting early childhood education programs at these institutions to create a pipeline of infant and toddler care providers in the community
- Expand the eligibility requirements for the Child Care and Development Block Grants (CCDBG) childcare subsidy to low-income parents enrolled in an accredited institution of higher education;
- Increase federal government and state investment in the CCDBG program by increasing the federal match rate for childcare services for infants and toddlers to 90 percent;
- Require institutions of higher education to share with students information on the Dependent Care Allowance, which can provide many student parents with an additional $3,000 in subsidized federal student loans per year.
The PROSPECT Act is sponsored in the Senate by U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) and was introduced in the House of Representatives by Congresswoman Jahana Hayes (D-CT-5). The legislation is endorsed by the American Federation of Teachers (AFT), Child Care Aware NJ (CCANJ), Child Care Aware America, CLASP, New Jersey Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators (CITE), Early Care & Learning Council, Education Reform Now – Advocacy, Generation Hope, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), National Black Child Development Institute, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC), Public Advocacy for Kids, UNCF, UnidosUS, and Zero to Three.
The full text of the legislation may be found here.