University of Minnesota faces area day care funding losses

University of Minnesota student-parents and area day care center directors are working to find alternative ways to fund childcare services after centers face losses from student service fees next school year.

The Council of Graduate Students general assembly passed a resolution March 20 criticizing a university childcare grant and calling for greater support for the day cares from the university, the Minnesota Daily reported.

The Como Early Learning Center and Community Child Care Center have each received about $85,000 from student service fees in past years, but a new cap set for groups will allow each center to be eligible for a maximum of only $55,000.

Day care directors and student-parents say the funding drop could result in cutting a sliding scale that discounts day care services based on parents' income.

The university is trying to alleviate decreased funding by offering a grant for student-parents, but advocates say the grant is less effective at helping individual parents than the sliding scale. University officials have said the grant has a funding pool of at least $100,000.

Daycare leaders have met with administrators and the Office of Student Affairs to continue to voice their concerns about the changes to student service fees. Como Early Learning Center director Katie Johnson said there has been little indication that the university will increase funding for the centers.

The university didn't make Vice Provost for Student Affairs Danita Brown Young available for comment. Instead, it sent a copy of a letter the office sent to day care advocates, which is signed by Brown Young.

The letter said the university is working to respond to concerns about the rising cost of the student service fee and has made efforts to rein in these fees.