Ferris State University's Tot's Place Child Development Center received a four-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education totaling more than $400,000.
The "Child Care Access Means Parents in School" grant, awarded in October, assist students with childcare costs. The center will receive approximately $108,000 a year, over a span of four years, totaling $436,000.
Ferris was one of six institutions in Michigan, and one of 58 nationally, to receive the grant. The process to secure the funding took more than a month and was highly competitive according to Lori Johnson, manager of Tot's Place. Johnson believes that the effort was well worth it for Ferris students with children.
"This is a great opportunity because it is hard for mothers and fathers to get back into school while having to pay for childcare, too," she said. "With the elimination of the Pell Grant for the summer, our hope is that this grant will allow students to continue their education year-round."
Students who have kids already enrolled at Tot's Place, are taking 12 credits a semester and are in good academic standing will be eligible to receive funding to pay for childcare costs. Eligible students can have 70 to 100 percent of their childcare costs paid for depending on grade point average, military involvement and other factors.
"The greatest benefit of the grant is that it will give needed financial assistance to Ferris students who are already responsible for the expense of their own education," Johnson said. "This will also allow students an opportunity to have high-quality educational programs for their children."
Tot's Place provides quality childcare for Ferris students, faculty, staff and community members and serves as a laboratory for academic programs by providing hands-on experiences for students. Tot's Place primarily works with the university's School of Education to provide observation rooms.