Cornell’s Student Child Care Grant Program was granted a $100,000 increase in its annual budget and has increased the number of students eligible for funding.
The Student Child Care Grant Program subsidizes some of the costs associated with eligible childcare, according to the program website. These subsidies include tax-free awards of up to $5,000 per year for Cornell students with children. Last year, the program awarded 54 grants, according to The Cornell Chronicle.
According to Mary Beth Grant, senior associate dean of students, funding was increased from $250,000 to $350,000, a 40% increase, and will go into effect later this year.
“The Students with Families Advisory Committee looks at a lot of different things about how to make life for students with families better,” Grant said. “In the last couple of years, they’ve been examining the Student Child Care Grant and trying to make sure that the money is being used for as many students with children as are eligible.”
One change in eligibility requirements was an increase in the maximum income threshold to qualify, which came into effect in fall 2017. Student households must have a family adjusted gross income of less than the threshold in order to receive funding. Last year, the maximum was raised from $70,000 to $120,000, according to The Cornell Chronicle.
“If there are funds to be spent for that purpose there’s no reason to be held back,” Grant said. “We want anybody who is eligible to apply and receive their grant.”
Students often critiqued the income eligibility requirements of the grant program, according to surveys the advisory conducted. The administration attempted to address those concerns with the increased funding for the grant.
“It’s overall about trying to think expansively about who should be eligible and providing support to students with child care costs,” Grant said.
According to Grant, there is also an appeals process that students can go through if they feel they did not receive appropriate funding.
“[The appeals process] is a piece that seems really important to me,” she said. “When we’re trying to make this fair, we want to make sure that everyone really is heard in a way that is meaningful.”
Amended eligibility requirements are detailed on the program website, and Grant encourages students to apply for the 2018 year.
“There’s a finalized grant application posted with a deadline in mid-March,” Grant said. “People might have been unaware about the grant in the fall or maybe their circumstances have changed. They really should feel they can apply now, and I hope that they do.”