New Program at CSU Makes Child Care More Affordable

COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Columbus State University has partnered with the University System of Georgia and a Georgia non-profit to provide students with financial assistance for quality child care, helping reduce a major barrier to college completion.

Columbus State University is one of three institutions participating in Boost, a child care subsidy plan for undergraduate students in their junior or senior years. Created by Quality Care for Children, the program pays up to $125 weekly for child care tuition for children enrolled in Quality Rated day care programs.

“The Boost program is a great opportunity for CSU to better serve our students,” said Lisa Shaw, director of CSU’s Academic Center for Excellence. “I am thrilled and honored to connect students with this program.”

Four student-families and five children benefitted from Boost last semester at the program’s inception. Five additional subsidies were awarded to students this semester. All qualifying students were emailed at the beginning of both semesters and applications were awarded on a first-come, first-served basis.

“The Boost Program took a big financial burden off my family,” said Sasha Hernandaz, a CSU nursing student. “With the help of this grant, I can focus on nursing school like I had originally wanted and not have to worry about working extra hours just to afford day care.”

Boost is a collaborative program between the USG and Quality Care for Children, an Atlanta-based non-profit organization that provides leadership training and resources for child care facilities while also assisting parents in finding affordable, Quality Rated child care.

Quality Rated is Georgia’s system to determine, improve, and communicate the quality of early education and school-age care programs. Similar to rating systems for restaurants and hotels, Quality Rated assigns one, two or three stars to programs that meet or exceed the minimum state requirements.

“We hope to address a need for temporary child care as well, so that students may pursue internships, travel abroad or student teach,” said Shaw. “Ultimately, we want to set these students and their families up for success in and out of the classroom.”

Fall applications for Boost at CSU will open in August. Qualifying students must be Pell Grant-eligible, have completed 60 or more credit hours, are enrolled full-time (12 or more credit hours), and have a grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher.

Boost is also available at Clayton State University and Armstrong State University.