Applications are now open for a pilot program at Northern Arizona University with more than $11 million in state funds to provide child care assistance for student-parents enrolled at the university.
The Higher Education Child Care Project (HECCP), a pilot project started in 2022 to reimburse eligible student-parents at NAU for the cost of approved child care incurred while they are earning degrees, is accepting applications for spring and summer 2023 and for each term students were actively enrolled dating back to Oct. 1, 2021, for retroactive reimbursement consideration.
Learn if you’re eligible for the program and submit your application on the HECCP website.
The HECCP is an important part of NAU’s mission to ensure all students have the opportunity for success in and out of the classroom. New eligibility requirements from the Arizona Department of Economic Security will allow more students to take advantage of this funding and get financial assistance while balancing family, work and educational priorities.
“The goal of the HECCP is to provide qualified child care assistance to eligible student-parents to help them achieve their academic aspirations and reach their full potential,” program manager Stephanie Del Giorgio said. “We are excited to offer this extraordinary support opportunity to a wider student-parent population to generate momentum toward achieving our vision of being a vehicle of economic mobility for all Arizonans.”
The new requirements include increasing the maximum household-adjusted income level to 85 percent of the state median income, which is a much higher income than the previous eligibility. Students in any major, including those listed as undeclared, graduate and undergraduate students and full-time and part-time students with evidence of employment who meet the income requirements are all eligible. Children must be 12 years old or younger and get child care from a qualified provider.
Since its inception, the program has reimbursed more than $81,000 in child care costs and has enrolled 26 NAU student-parents, supporting 35 children. One of those parents is Melissa, a nursing student who graduates in December. She has two children and said she likely couldn’t have gone to school without this benefit; she is unable to get private loans and does not make enough to afford child care.
The process to apply and get reimbursed is easy and straightforward, said Melissa, whose last name is being withheld for privacy. She’s hoping the doors opened through earning a nursing degree will mean a better life for her and her children.
“I’ll have a secure career field and be able to work anywhere, anytime with flexible schedules to be able to meet my family’s needs, too,” she said. “Additionally, it’s a well-paying field that will allow me to also save money for retirement and to pay for a house.”