Starting in the Spring 2023 semester, Dallas College will launch a drop-in child-care option for students attending its El Centro campus thanks to a $100,000 grant to Dallas College Foundation from The Dallas Foundation.
The Dallas College Young Scholars Program will lessen the expense of child care as a barrier to parents attending college and meeting their educational goals. Seed funding from Dallas College Foundation’s new Dallas Foundation Community Impact Grant will help launch the program in January 2023.
“We are excited to partner with Dallas College to provide students at Dallas College’s El Centro campus with free and reliable child care. Everyone deserves an equitable opportunity to unlock economic potential, and this project ensures that student-parents get that opportunity. The Dallas Foundation is proud to be a part of this initiative and looks forward to supporting Dallas College in this much-needed work,” said Drexell Owusu, chief impact officer for The Dallas Foundation.
Low-income parents often spend over one-quarter of their annual income to afford center-based child care, according to a Brandeis University study. One group of parents disproportionately affected by the cost of child care is college students. Following the COVID-19 pandemic, many student-parents opted not to return to the classroom because they needed to tend to their parental and caretaking responsibilities given daycare closures and the rising costs of reliable child care.
“These funds will enable us to provide student-parents attending classes at El Centro with free and reliable drop-in child care. More importantly, this project eliminates another barrier to post-secondary access by ensuring that student-parents get an honest chance at enhancing their journeys at Dallas College,” said Dr. Carlos Cruz, associate vice chancellor of student well-being and social support at Dallas College.
Accessible and reliable no-cost drop-in child care will be provided through a partnership with the T. Boone Pickens YMCA facility in downtown Dallas. The facility will promote early childhood development and provide enhanced learning experiences for children of Dallas College students. This initial implementation will accommodate up to 38 children at one time, with an estimated 75 children participating in the program over the course of the initial Spring semester.
“We are deeply grateful for this game-changing grant from The Dallas Foundation. The Dallas Foundation is a leader in advancing equity and opportunity in our community. We are honored to be counted among the winners of their Community Impact Grant competition and to help Dallas College remove a major barrier to student success,” said Josh Skolnick, executive director, Dallas College Foundation.
Dallas College intends to scale the Young Scholars Program to other campuses in a financially sustainable manner. Through this new program, Dallas College will effectively increase persistence and completion rates of student-parents at Dallas College.
Dallas College, formerly the Dallas County Community College District, was founded in 1965, and consists of seven campuses: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. Dallas College offers online learning and serves more than 125,000 credit and continuing education students during the fall and spring semesters.
Dallas College also offers dual credit for students in partner high schools and early college high schools throughout Dallas County. Students benefit from partnerships with local business leaders, school districts and four-year universities, and Dallas College offers associate degree and career/technical certificate programs in more than 100 areas of study, as well as a bachelor’s degree in education. Based on annual enrollment, it is the largest community college in Texas.