March 30, 2023

Student Parent Resource Center Receives $1 Million Grant, Renewable Through 2026

The Student Parent Resource Center recently received a $1 million grant from the US Department of Education to facilitate better resources and support for student parents at Michigan State University. The grant is called Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) and is meant to help student parents have access to childcare while they’re attending classes or study groups and generally focusing on academic work. Its aim is to be applied toward anything that will help student parents make progress toward their degree. The Center received the grant in October of 2022, which can be renewed for $1 million a year until 2026.

Kimberly Steed-Page, director of the Student Parent Resource Center, and Laraine Walton, administrative assistant at the center work to make the MSU community and space an equitable and accessible one for student-parents at MSU. They’re excited for the grant adding to their ability to facilitate and offer more and higher quality support to student parents at MSU.

The grant supports high quality childcare and early childhood education. For kids in full-time care, between the ages of 0 and 5, education is especially important. 85% of the grant is to be applied to direct service provisions. The center enters contracts with area child-care providers, both daycare centers and home-based family daycare centers that are licensed and nationally accredited to help low-income students who qualify through Pell eligibility. Undergraduate students are eligible automatically if they receive Pell or even if they're just eligible for Pell. Graduate students, both domestic and international, are eligible through income-based qualification.

Each approved parent receives up to 1,200 hours of childcare per year per child, which amounts to about two full semesters if used for full-time care. The university enters into a contract with the provider, then the students and the provider track their hours of usage each week, submitting them to the university at the end of the month.
The grant allows the center to partner with high quality daycares that are nationally accredited, either through the National Association for Family Child Care Centers or the National Association for Early Young Childhood Education. This accreditation works to show that these providers are going the extra step to provide the highest quality of care for students. 

“The idea is that no matter how much income your family brings in or what your socioeconomic status is, all children deserve access to quality education and care, and student parents need to be able to feel that their child or children are reasonably safe while they're studying,” says Steed-Page. She acknowledges it can be difficult to study and make progress on your degree as a student parent while also balancing concerns about your child’s well-being. She says ensuring the children of student parents are well cared for is a vital piece of helping a student parent be successful.

Steed-Page calls the approach a “two-generational approach,” as it’s rooted in the belief that when student parents succeed, in this case by making progress toward their degree, their children succeed. The persistence and retention shown by student parents in their efforts at the university result in the future success of their children as well. She says that data shows that children who have at least one parent or caregiver who has earned a bachelor's degree are ten times more likely to go on to study at a two-year or four-year institution. Whether vocational or trade, their education results in higher quality careers for these children later in life. “It's really about setting that family up for success,” says Steed-Page. She adds that helping the parents complete their degrees leads to higher paying, higher earning careers over their lifetime, which in turn leads to an increased and improved quality of life for their children as well.

Since the grant is renewable for four years, Steed-Page is also excited about the long-term plans the center has with this grant. She hopes to be able to use these funds to increase knowledge about the needs of student parents. Some student parents don’t start at the university with children; some start their families while attending. The grant will allow the center to work with the students and learn more about their needs and how the university can best support and serve their families while here. “Funding is just one part of it in childcare,” says Steed-Page. Often, students have additional needs, including basic needs like housing and transportation.

Steed-Page shares, “One of our goals really is to capture information on who our student parents are. They come from all walks of life, from different areas of campus, all degrees, all majors, all levels, and we just want to get a better picture.” The second aim of the center with the grant is to increase a sense of belonging on campus within student families and student caregivers, helping make student families feel like the campus is a place for them and that they’re welcome on campus with all that they bring to the Spartan community. 

“We want them to be able to bring their whole self into into the classroom and into activities,” says Steed-Page. The center hence wants to work to increase opportunities for families and students to be engaged in life at MSU.

The overall mission of the Student Parent Resource Center is to be a place of support and provide access and information to resources both on and off campus to student parents and student caregivers. A number of students on campus serve in caregiver capacity, have children in their care through being siblings or other relatives. Students care for biological children, adopted children, foster children, as well as for an aging parent. The office's goal is to support student caregivers to graduation and beyond. It believes in a holistic approach, and wants students who come to MSU with their multiple identities to develop a sense of belonging and find their identity as a student on campus.

“We want our student families, our student parents to be involved in the life of MSU the way they want to,” says Steed-Page. “We want them to know that having a family is not a limitation; that they're not missing out or have less access or opportunities just because they also have a family.”

The center also works to make sure faculty and students know about the portion of Title IX that speaks to the rights of pregnant and parenting students, so they can help empower students to be advocates for the rights afforded to them under the law. There also exists a registered student organization called Student Parents on a Mission (SPOM). The office works with SPOM to host a monthly program with fun and educational activities for student families and caregivers. For example, SPOM and the center offer a program on financial literacy specifically for parents while also helping expose children at an early age to thinking about savings and financial literacy.

Steed-Page talks about the importance of reminding people there are many different ways to define diversity and that those at the university must think more broadly to ensure inclusivity of all different groups. “Students hold multiple identities, and one of those identities is that of a student parent or a caregiver, and they're kind of a hidden population. But we know that they're here and there are resources to support them.” 

She stresses the importance of bringing about awareness of the Student Parents Resource Center and the work done by the office. If faculty and staff know about the office, they’ll be able to direct people who could benefit from the office’s resources to us,” she says. “We're a two-person office and we're a team. We're small but mighty, and we’re committed to supporting student parents.”

Contact the center at or by calling 517-432-3745. Students can email to get an application, to apply for the funds for high quality daycare, applying for state benefits and more.

Recommended Resources for Student Parents

  • The Institute for Women's Policy Research ( conducts research on the role of women in higher education and how to better support all parents, but mothers especially.
  • National Student Success Student Parent Success Collaborative is a consortium of different colleges and universities around the country with student parent programs. It holds a conference every year open to student parents and anyone interested in learning more about supporting student families on their campus.
  • Student Parent Resource Center website:

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