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ACCT, NHSA Launch Partnership to Expand Child Care for Student-Parents

The Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) has partnered with the National Head Start Association (NHSA) to provide on-campus childcare classrooms at community colleges.

"Students who are parents face enormous life challenges that compete with their abilities to thrive in college,” said ACCT President and CEO Jee Hang Lee. “Bringing Head Start centers to more community colleges is an elegant solution to address one complexity of the long-standing problem of student persistence and completion."

Yasmina VinciYasmina VinciThe Kids on Campus initiative launched during the 2024 Community College National Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C. ECMC Foundation, Imaginable Futures, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Trellis Foundation, Crimsonbridge Foundation, and Seldin / Haring-Smith Foundation joined together to provide funding for this five-year project expected to help address challenges to college completion.

"Insufficient childcare and early learning opportunities are significant barriers for the 1.7 million parents — mainly moms — in college," said ACCT Board of Directors Chair Jay Nardini. "Nearly all of these students have incomes at or near the poverty line."

Nardini, who also serves as chair of Iowa's Hawkeye Community College board, added that "few community colleges currently offer on-campus childcare, and many centers that did exist permanently closed during the pandemic. Most single parents in college have children under age five and would be eligible for Head Start."

NHSA and ACCT will provide technical assistance to Head Start and Early Head Start programs and community colleges throughout the project.

"Head Start and community colleges are two perfectly matched pieces of a complex puzzle, coming together to complete the picture of what comprehensive education can–and should–look like," said NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci. "Co-locating Head Start's high-quality early childhood education programs on campuses will bring the Head Start model to more families who are working to get ahead. NHSA is thrilled to join this effort to support student parents and, as a result, to unlock the full potential of two generations of learners at once."

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