AAUW Campus Action Project Grant Leads to $10 Million Federal Grant

Windward Community College (WCC) leveraged a $5,000 Campus Action Project grant awarded by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to successfully apply for a federal grant worth almost $10 million. The Title III grant awarded to WCC this fall will provide for childcare facilities on campus and expand on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics offerings at the campus.

The AAUW CAP grant provided funds in the spring semester for WCC to conduct a childcare survey and resource inventory to quantify the need for childcare services on campus and to existing identified resources available within the community.

“The AAUW survey made it possible to apply for the grant,” said Ardis Eschenberg, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at WCC. “The survey gave us concrete information of the state of need on campus and the specific population we should target. It was clear that our students were having problems finding care for infants and toddlers. For example, the resource inventory found that there were three open facilities in the area that served infants. The only one without a waiting list was very expensive at approximately $1,500 a month.” Eschenberg said.

“I’m in the honors society, I maintain stable grades, but between picking up my daughter and dropping her off, it has become inconvenient to attend the classes I need to graduate,” said Ashley Shankles, a student at WCC. “I’m a single working mom. I have three jobs, both on and off campus and take 21 credit hours, and if I get sick or she gets sick, I can’t afford rent. I need help.”

Marisa Ibrahim, another student at WCC, noted “It is very important for my preschool aged child to be in a steady, safe learning environment to enable me to focus on studying and attending college.”

Approximately $5.2 million of the grant will be allocated to childcare on campus over 5 years. The first two and a half years will be spent renovating an existing building to the specific requirements of caring for infants and toddlers.

Eschenberg emphasized the critical role the AAUW survey played in applying for the grant, “Because I knew the specific needs of our students from the survey, I could look up the building codes, get the specific square footage required for infants and toddlers, estimate staffing costs much more accurately and was able to write a very precise grant all within the space and time limit of the grant.”

After facilities have been renovated and staffed, childcare will be provided to student parents at no charge during the remaining term of the grant. Depending on the mix of childcare services provided, up to 28 children could be served in the new facility.

Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success research report cover

AAUW’s recent research, Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success, found limited access to childcare disrupts the educational path of many mothers. Student parents consistently cite childcare responsibilities as a chief reason for dropping out of community college before completing a degree or certificate.

“It is just hard to attend classes when my children’s school is on break. It does not coincide with WCC breaks,” agreed WCC student Michelle Muromachi.

“We are very excited to be able to provide childcare facilities on campus. Our students have waited long enough – it’s been 42 years!” said Eschenberg.

Windward Community College (WCC) leveraged a $5,000 Campus Action Project grant awarded by the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to successfully apply for a federal grant worth almost $10 million. The Title III grant awarded to WCC this fall will provide for childcare facilities on campus and expand on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics offerings at the campus.

The AAUW CAP grant provided funds in the spring semester for WCC to conduct a childcare survey and resource inventory to quantify the need for childcare services on campus and to existing identified resources available within the community.

“The AAUW survey made it possible to apply for the grant,” said Ardis Eschenberg, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at WCC. “The survey gave us concrete information of the state of need on campus and the specific population we should target. It was clear that our students were having problems finding care for infants and toddlers. For example, the resource inventory found that there were three open facilities in the area that served infants. The only one without a waiting list was very expensive at approximately $1,500 a month.” Eschenberg said.

“I’m in the honors society, I maintain stable grades, but between picking up my daughter and dropping her off, it has become inconvenient to attend the classes I need to graduate,” said Ashley Shankles, a student at WCC. “I’m a single working mom. I have three jobs, both on and off campus and take 21 credit hours, and if I get sick or she gets sick, I can’t afford rent. I need help.”

Marisa Ibrahim, another student at WCC, noted “It is very important for my preschool aged child to be in a steady, safe learning environment to enable me to focus on studying and attending college.”

Approximately $5.2 million of the grant will be allocated to childcare on campus over 5 years. The first two and a half years will be spent renovating an existing building to the specific requirements of caring for infants and toddlers.

Eschenberg emphasized the critical role the AAUW survey played in applying for the grant, “Because I knew the specific needs of our students from the survey, I could look up the building codes, get the specific square footage required for infants and toddlers, estimate staffing costs much more accurately and was able to write a very precise grant all within the space and time limit of the grant.”

After facilities have been renovated and staffed, childcare will be provided to student parents at no charge during the remaining term of the grant. Depending on the mix of childcare services provided, up to 28 children could be served in the new facility.

AAUW’s recent research, Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success, found limited access to childcare disrupts the educational path of many mothers. Student parents consistently cite childcare responsibilities as a chief reason for dropping out of community college before completing a degree or certificate.

“It is just hard to attend classes when my children’s school is on break. It does not coincide with WCC breaks,” agreed WCC student Michelle Muromachi.

“We are very excited to be able to provide childcare facilities on campus. Our students have waited long enough – it’s been 42 years!” said Eschenberg.