WSU Children’s Center under-recognized, needs more support

Student parents struggle through school, WSU should do all it can to provide for these cases



Though the exact number is undisclosed, there are many students at WSU with families of their own to support. This is evident from the wait list for the Children’s Care Center and more room is needed to include these families.

LORIELL LOUANGAMATH, Evergreen columnist

The rate of parents who attend traditional four-year colleges continues to rise, and just like other students they push toward further education.

Unlike most students, they take on this burden while having the responsibility of others to look after.

Student parents manage a stable income, keeping up with classes and building a family all at the same time.

WSU’s Pullman campus offers student parents access to the Children’s Center, special financial services and resources offering guidance to present and future parents.

While it benefits its recipients, these programs are limited in the number they can support.

The WSU Children’s Center application process unfortunately has a waiting list like any other childcare service.

“Sometimes parents could be waiting for a while if the timing is such that they don’t have open space for the age they need,” said Brenda Boyd, executive director of WSU Children’s Center.

The Children’s Center offers services to WSU students, staff and faculty. Though not often recognized, the staff they have work tirelessly to care for as many children as they can.

But even as a respected facility and program, it is hard to offer services to every family who applies.

Simply allocating more classrooms will allow space for more children into the program. But to do this, they’ll need more funding to cover the additional staff and supplies.

Washington State University recently re-qualified for the Child Care Access Means Parents in School grant (CCAMPIS). This federal grant is specifically designed to subsidize the cost of student-parent tuition for 200 other programs nationally for the next four years.

This grant substantially helped The Children’s Center at WSU and will continue to offer their services and funding as long as WSU gets re-qualified.

But WSU’s access to this grant is not always guaranteed, having lost it just last year.

It is a very competitive grant that colleges nationwide apply for. Having it back to our campus is greatly appreciated by the community and families affected.

The Students Services and Activities Committee funding gives student-parents a 20 percent reduction. With the CCAMPIS grant it allows another 30 percent reduction, having student-parents pay 50 percent less for these facilities, Boyd said.

While WSU should do all it can to meet the criteria for these grants and show the university as a strong applicant, these grants can only can do so much.

“With the grants, it is still very expensive if you have more than one child,” Boyd said.

The biggest obstacles a student faces are fees and coursework.

Parenting while trying to manage school is a difficult process, no matter how much support you’re given. In today’s society, not a lot of parents are motivated to go back to school, instead dedicating all their time to working and providing for their family. By offering more support for cases like these, WSU can support the part of its community that’s under some of the greatest stress.

With more funding, classroom sizes and the number of staff can increase. This could shorten the wait list period and provide more families with the help they need in this stressful time.

The Children’s Center was founded to better ensure the environment of the children and parents on campus. They work hard and do well with what they have, but there’s only so much that can be done without more financial support of WSU.