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Innovation and Incubator Grants from the University System of Georgia

Child Care and Postsecondary Education: An Idea Exchange To Improve College Completion

Columbus State University


Grant Type: 
Project Lead: 
Dr. Tina Butcher
Associate Provost
Other team members: 

Dr. Barbara Hunt, Project Manager, CCG
Provost’s Office           

Ms. Lisa Shaw, Director
Academic Center for Excellence

Mr. David Mitchell, Director
Enterprise Development

Mr. Dustin Worsley, Assistant Director
Academic Center for Excellence

Ms. Jean Partridge, Director
Student Advising and Field Experiences

Project Overview: 

Many student parents stop their education due to child care issues, thereby affecting greatly the outcome of the 15-to-Finish initiative and overall retention, progression, and graduation (RPG) rates. Approximately 24 of the 29 schools in USG do not offer child care, child care vouchers, or referral services. Our symposium will explore three approaches that institutions can take: Self-operated Child Care Centers, On-campus Contracted Child Care Centers, or Child Care Resource and Referral Services. Audience members will participate in a survey, hear presentations, attend a panel discussion, ask questions, assess the symposium’s effectiveness, and write a brief report on their action plan for improving 15-to-Finish and college completion for student parents. 

Potential Impact of Capacity Symposium Results:

If Georgia is serious about increasing the number of college graduates, USG institutions must not only acknowledge the problem, but also create action plans to ameliorate the situation to increase RPG. This symposium will educate attendees and provide an opportunity for the development of action plans.

Project Description: 

Why Child Care Matters

While many students attending USG institutions are traditional age, many are admitted as adult learners. At CSU, the number of adult learners (age 28+) varies from 30-40%, depending on the semester. Of these, many have children and are faced with a financial quandary: with child care often exceeding the cost of college tuition, how can student parents pay for both? The answer for many is to drop out of college and, in some cases, never return. This result runs counter to the goals of CCG, which aims to improve college completion rates.

Goals of the Symposium

The goals of the symposium are to 1) educate institutional leaders on the need for supporting student parents with childcare options in order to achieve the goal of increasing postsecondary graduation rates within Georgia, 2) increase awareness of successful support programs that already exist within Georgia in order to replicate and expand the number of such programs, 3) explore financial assistance options for low-income parents to help them achieve their postsecondary credentials, and 4) provide the opportunity for participating institutions to create action plans that address childcare issues for their students.

Collaborating Institutions

CSU has contacted the presidents or provosts of five Georgia institutions, each of whom agreed to send representatives (up to 10) to this symposium on childcare for student parents:

  • Bainbridge State College
  • Clayton State University
  • Columbus Technical College
  • Georgia Southwestern State University
  • University of West Georgia

Because we feel this topic is so important not only to CSU but to the entire system, we also plan on opening the symposium to others in the USG system until the maximum capacity of 80 is reached.

Target Audience

While the target audience is principally administrators and staff of USG institutions, CSU would like to see representation of student parents from each collaborating institution as well.

Approximate Date and Time Span of Symposium

Mid to late September 2016; 10:00 am to 3:00 pm with working lunch

Symposium structure (tentative)

10:00-10:15 Opening remarks (in ballroom of Cunningham Center) on the relevance of child          care to college completion

10:15-10:45 One or two speakers on Approach #1: Self-operated Child Care Centers  

            Pros and cons of having a self-operated center

            Ways to finance/how to charge fees

            Liability issues

            Opportunities for student employment, field experience, volunteerism

10:45-11:00 Question and Answer

11:00-11:30 One or two speakers on Approach #2: On-campus Contracted Child Care Centers

Pros and cons of a contracted child care center on campus

Ways to finance/how to charge fees, etc.

11:30-11:45 Question and Answer

11:45-12:00 Break

12:00-12:30 One or two speakers on Approach #3: Child Care Resource and Referral Service

Pros and cons of having a resource and referral service         

            Negotiating vouchers for off-campus child care

            Creating a support center for student parents, including a food and clothing bank

            Creating the ideal web site for a Child Care Resource and Referral Service

12:30-12:45 Question and Answer

12:45-1:30 Lunch in ballroom with panel presenters on “Funding Opportunities for Low-Income Student Parents” (Quality Care for Children, CCAMPIS, Head Start, etc.)

1:30-1:45 Break

1:45-2:30 Drafting of action plans for each institution. (Smaller break-out rooms)

2:30-2:45 Preliminary oral reports to other institutions on their action plans and discussions with team members. (Return to ballroom)

2:45-3:00 Wrap up and assessment of symposium

●Final action plans (1 to 3 pages) from participating institutions will be due one week after the symposium.

Area of Need per CCG Goals

According to, “By 2025, it is projected that over 60 percent of jobs in Georgia will require some form of a college education, whether a certificate, associate’s degree, or bachelor’s degree. Today, only 45.3 percent of the state’s young adults, its burgeoning workforce, qualify.” One way to improve the level of attainment of credentials is to remove impediments to success, such as student parents’ access to child care. Thus, the proposed symposium on childcare issues addresses three of the nine goals of CCG:

  • Goal 1:  Increase in the number of undergraduate degrees awarded by USG institutions.
  • Goal 2:  Increase the number of degrees that are earned “on time” (associate degrees in 2 years, bachelor’s degrees in 4 years).
  • Goal 9: Increase Access for underserved and/or priority communities.

Potential Impact on Student Success and College Completion

If participating institutions can help students stay in school, enroll in more credit hours (credit intensity), and/or finish their degrees more quickly (15-to-Finish), everyone benefits—the State of Georgia, the institutions, the student parents, and the children. Ideally, the impact would be to improve retention of student parents by 5% or more as a result of actions taken by institutions.

Outcomes and Potential Lessons Learned from the Symposium

CSU will assemble a final symposium report consisting of a summary of the gathering (with attendance sheet), an assessment of the symposium by attendees, the action plans of the  participating institutions, and an online template for a Child Care Resource and Referral Service that can be scaled for use by many institutions.