Press Release from Association of Community College Trustees
New five-year initiative will support student parents by bringing more Head Start centers to community college campuses throughout the country.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT), along with partner National Head Start Association (NHSA), announce the launch of the Kids on Campus initiative to bring more Head Start programs to community college campuses. The launch takes place during the 2024 Community College National Legislative Summit at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C. Six foundations have joined together to provide funding for this five-year project.
For the next five years, NHSA and ACCT will provide technical assistance to Head Start and Early Head Start programs and community colleges. The associations will identify interested organizations, introduce those prepared to partner, and provide technical assistance from introductions to negotiations and through the first few months of their active partnership after the doors have opened.
“Insufficient child care 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: “few community colleges currently offer on-campus child care and many centers that did exist closed permanently during the pandemic. Most single parents in college have children under age five and would be eligible for Head Start.”
“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 Yasmina Vinci, executive director for the National Head Start Association. “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.”
The joint project offers a practical, commonsense approach to solving challenges in both sectors:
Qualifying student parents receive free, high quality child care and early education for their families from the Head Start program.
Colleges obtain an expert partner to operate on-site child care from Head Start, which also has the ability to apply funding to retrofit buildings on campus.
Head Start programs are located near their target populations and receive free or drastically reduced rent, which can be used as an in kind donation toward their required 20% match of federal funds – which many programs struggle to do.
Head Start families have an option to enroll in the college and may even receive support from Head Start to do so, if receiving a GED or credential is part of their family goals.
ECMC Foundation, Imaginable Futures, Casey Foundation, Trellis Foundation, Crimsonbridge Foundation, and Seldin / Haring-Smith Foundation all have joined together to support NHSA and ACCT in facilitating and supporting new contracts between campuses and Head Start operators.
To learn more, visit https://www.acct.org/center-for-policy-practice/kids-on-campus.
ACCT is a partner of Crimsonbridge's College Success program.