Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City has received nearly $160,000 in grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education to help assist with childcare costs and develop a support program for the school’s student parents.

The $159,556 grant is part of the department’s Child Care Access Means Parents in School Program. The funds will be split over four years and Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC) will have $38,889 to utilize each year.

In addition to offsetting childcare costs for students, grant funds will be used to establish the Student Parent Support Program at OSU-OKC. School officials estimate more than 3,000 students at the university are parents.

“These funds will be a game-changer for many parents who are struggling to enter or stay in school while bearing the burden of childcare costs,” OSU-OKC President Brad Williams said. “Helping students who are parents enter college and navigate the path to degree completion is critical in transforming their lives, and the lives of their children.” 

As part of the Student Parent Support Program, OSU-OKC will hire a part-time student-parent support navigator. This position will provide support and guidance on degree completion and workforce integration to student parents.

Funds to help assist with the cost of childcare will be made available beginning in the spring semester in January. Assistance will be awarded on a semester-by-semester basis on a sliding scale, contingent on number of hours enrolled and other criteria. Qualified students may receive assistance with up to 60 percent of costs that are not covered by other childcare assistance programs.

OSU-OKC student Amanda Neal is a parent and also the president of the school’s Single Parent Association. Neal said any assistance made possible by the grant would be greatly appreciated by her and her fellow classmates.

“Balancing the demands of parenthood with our studies is an ongoing challenge,” Neal said. “Knowing that our school will support us not only financially, but emotionally as well, really means a lot.”

Students who wish to apply for grant assistance or learn more about OSU-OKC’s Student Parent Support Program should contact Christina Young, enrollment management coordinator, at (405) 945-9151 or chriyou@osuokc.edu.