DECATUR—Georgia State University’s Perimeter College has been awarded a $851,464 U.S. Department of Education grant to provide free childcare for low-income students with young children. The four-year Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) federal grant also will provide in-classroom field observation experiences needed by Perimeter College teacher education students to complete their degrees.
Dr. Ursula Thomas, an associate professor of education and Perimeter College associate chair of the Cultural and Behavioral Sciences, Online and at Clarkston Campus, is the principal investigator for the project. Partnering with the YMCA of Metro Atlanta Head Start childcare services and the college’s TRIO Student Support Services, the project aims to help the neediest student-parents.
Forty-eight percent of enrolled students at Perimeter College are eligible for Pell grants and qualify for Medicaid and SNAP services, Thomas said.
“We have decades of data that shows that by supporting college students with families—especially the high needs students we serve—those students are more academically successful,” Thomas said. “We also know that when a parent participates in post-secondary education and has appropriate childcare that there are better outcomes for their children as well.”
The Head Start program, located at the South DeKalb Family YMCA Early Learning Center on Snapfinger Road in Decatur, serves children ages 2 ½ years to pre-kindergarten. The childcare facility is near public transportation and is within walking distance to the Decatur campus.
In addition to helping students with childcare, the grant also will provide a high- quality field placement site for Perimeter education pathway students, Thomas said.
Associate Professor of Education
Cultural and Behavioral Sciences
Dr. Ursula Thomas is an associate chair of Cultural and Behavioral Science-Online and Clarkston Campus at Perimeter College, and an associate professor of education. She previously served as the director of Field Experience and Assessment for Teacher Education at Perimeter College. A former reading specialist, Dr. Thomas serves as a consultant throughout the country advising school districts on diversity and inclusion, and teaching and curriculum development in public schools.