Biden Administration Awards $88M to Improve Education Access to Underserved College Students

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The U.S. Department of Education has approved $88 million in grant funding to enhance higher education access for student-parents, students from low-income households, and learners at Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institutions (AANAPISI).

The award includes $13 million in funding for 34 colleges and universities to establish or strengthen on-campus child care programs for low-income student-parents. Award amounts range from $65,700 to $500,000 among the recipient schools. This support is crucial as student-parents make up one in five college students, according to the department.

Community colleges also account for nearly one-third of the awardee institutions, an important inclusion given that 42 percent of community college students are parents, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a news release.

“I am a big believer in campus child care programs because I’ve seen how they break down barriers to upskilling and attaining postsecondary education for parents with young children—bringing the American Dream within reach for families across America,” Cardona said. “Today’s grants will help 34 colleges and universities raise the bar for how they support student parents as they work to earn degrees and credentials that will advance their careers and boost their earning potential.”

Additionally, the department approved a combined $69 million for two programs that expand education access to low-income students: the GEAR UP state grant program and the Strengthening Institutions Program (SIP). GEAR UP allocates $23 million to six states to help low-income students prepare for postsecondary education. SIP awards $46 million to 107 institutions to improve their capacity to serve low-income students by bolstering academic quality, institutional management, and fiscal stability.

More than $6 million was also allocated for the AANAPISI Part A grant program, which provides funding to 16 AANAPISIs to enhance their ability to serve Asian American, Native American Pacific Islander, and low-income students.