Discounted rates at early childhood center help keep parents in school

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Teacher aide and administrative volunteer opportunities available.

By Jackie Muralles

The early childhood center at this college will consider applications April through July for the fall semester, but student parents are encouraged to turn in applications any time throughout the semester.

Parents will be notified of their child’s acceptance into the program at the beginning of August, Claudia Gonzalez, early childhood center coordinator, said in an interview Feb. 15.

There are only 43 slots available to students here and 10 spots available for parents in the community. Faculty, staff and students at district colleges have priority.

This makes a total of 53 spots open for child care, which fill up fast, Gonzalez said.

Parents who do not get a spot in the center will be put on a waiting list.

The center accepts children between 12 months and 5 years of age.

Student parents at this college are eligible for discounted child care at the center.

The discounted fee of $15 or $20 per week is based on the income of the parent.

The discounted weekly rate for qualified students comes from the Child Care Access Means Parents in School grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

While the grant covers most of the weekly rate, the student is responsible for the full $40 registration fee each semester.

Parents who are not covered by the grant-funded program have to pay the full price depending on the age of their child.

For each child 12-24 months, the cost is $191 per week, 24-36 months is $186 per week and children 3-5 years-old the cost is $179 per week.

To get a child into the program, parents must complete the online application at

Students must meet a few requirements before submitting their applications.

These include being registered for nine credit hours with this college as their home campus.

Students must qualify for federal aid such as a Pell Grant, Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Lone Star Card, Women Infants and Children Nutrition Service or Medicaid.

Students must provide documentation of federal aid, their course schedule for the fall, an account summary, a copy of their most recent tax return, a degree plan and financial aid information or receipt of payment for the fall semester.

Once these steps are completed, students must fill out and print the Child Care and Education Assistance Application for Reduced Tuition.

Parents must also print, initial, sign and date the Grant Information and Student Consent form found below the application.

The above forms must be attached to the completed and printed application.

The applicant must submit the forms in-person 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. at the early childhood center on the second floor.

According to the rubric, student parents have the best chance if they have a signed degree plan, are single parents, have three or more children, are enrolled in at least 13 credit hours and have at least a 3.0 GPA with no dropped courses.

Once parents are accepted into the program, they are required to attend three parenting workshops, have a parent-teacher conference each semester, complete at least four volunteer hours and maintain enrollment in nine credit hours.

All student parents must have a minimum overall GPA of 2.0 and be in good academic standing at the end of the fall semester to reapply for spring 2020.

“We want the parents to be able to graduate and finish their degree and transfer to another university to get their bachelor’s then master’s,” Gonzalez said.

Children are expected to attend child care a minimum of 30 hours per week.

The center is open for child care only during the spring and fall semesters, and parents must enroll their child for each new semester.

Child care hours for parent students are 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

For community parents, child care hours are 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

During child care hours children are provided with breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack delivered by Selrico Services, the district’s catering company.

The catering company follows the Child and Adult Care Food Program regulated by the Department of Agriculture.

The center also offers volunteer opportunities for students to help teachers with projects as well as provide administrative duties.

Students must apply in person and undergo a state-regulated background check.

Students must also complete an orientation.

“I usually work around the schedule with the student because it’s pretty hard to get two or three students on a different schedule together,” Gonzalez said.

For more information, call the center at 210-486-0526 or visit them online at


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