ECU awarded federal child care grant

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ADA, OK -- ECU is receiving more than $88,000 to improve their child care services for lower income parents who are enrolled in classes.

Many of them say this will help them stay in school, and hopefully encourage other parents to head back to class.

20-year-old Mary Beth Cox is a full time student at ECU. She is only a few semesters away from getting her degree in Chemistry.

Cox says being a full time student can be difficult, but when there's a child in the mix that makes things even harder.

"It's really difficult being a student and a parent, trying to balance the time between school and your child," Cox said. "Your kid needs you, but education is also important."

Now there's help for ECU student parents who struggle to pay full costs of child care.

The school was awarded a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will fund campus-based childcare services for lower-income parents.

Director of ECU's Child care Development Center, Melissa Malm, says it this will not only benefit the parents, it'll help the entire university.

"What's important to us is that the grant will allow us to expand our services," Malm said. "Due to daycare licensing regulations, we can only serve 40 children during the fall and spring. A family care specialist will meet requirements that we can expand the number of children we take."

Malm says along with hiring a family care specialist, the grant will also allow them to provide childcare for moms and dads who are both enrolled in school at the same time but do not qualify for outside childcare assistance.

Student and parent, Joel Miser, says this will help him finish his degree.Something that's not only important to him, but his family as well.

"For me, I want to be able to provide a life that I didn't get for my children," Miser said. "And so I want to be able to provide any financial needs for their school or whatever they may need in the future."

Malm says the school will also collaborate with ECU's Veterans programs to assist with childcare services those students in the military that have children.

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