Daycare helps curb childcare cost
Childcare in Eau Claire costs parents approximately $165 a week, but UW-Eau Claire’s Children’s Center offers daycare for $100 a week to university students, faculty and staff.
In previous semesters, however, students with children younger than 2-years-old would have to go elsewhere, and pay more, for childcare while they were in class.
On Jan. 23 the Children’s Center opened a new infant and toddler program for students who are parents.
This program allows new parents to continue their education by providing affordable daycare, said Becky Wurzer, director of the Children’s Center.
“A lot of students had to drop out of school for awhile when they had children under age two,” Wurzer said. She added that one goal of the Center is to increase student retention at Eau Claire, particularly that of students who receive Pell grants.
Low-income students, or those who receive federal Pell grants to attend UW-Eau Claire, are given priority by the Children’s Center as well as single parents, full-time students and upperclassmen.
Last year, 20 percent of Eau Claire students received Pell grants, and the graduation rate for recipients was about 51 percent, 7 percent lower than the graduation rate of non-Pell grant recipients.
In addition, Wurzer said, typical childcare requires parents to pay a full-time price, even if they’re part-time students. The Children’s Center saves parents money, she said, by offering part-time rates.
The infant and toddler program is located in Chapel Heights United Methodist Church, 300 E. Hamilton Ave. Wurzer said the location for the program was chosen because of its proximity to campus and also, it had been licensed in the past for infant childcare.
A grant for almost $200,000 from the National Coalition for Campus Children’s Centers made the new program possible, Wurzer said.
The program is licensed to take 15 children, and Wurzer hopes to serve between 16 and 32 students by providing infant and toddler childcare.
“Usually they’re trying to work a little bit, go to school and support a family,” Wurzer said of the student parents who use the Children’s Center. “The purpose (of the program) really is to serve those with the greatest need.”
Eau Claire junior Jessica Ladwig is one of about 100 students who work at the Children’s Center. She said the addition of the infant and toddler program can only benefit students.
“I think it’s a great thing that the university can offer it,” she said.
In addition to the new infant and toddler childcare, the Children’s Center also offers daycare for children ages 2 to 5, as well as after-school programs for children up to age 10 and it also offers night and summer programs.
The Children’s Center has a school-out program that allows students, faculty and staff to bring their children when the public schools are closed, Wurzer said. The student rate for the daycare is $15 a day or $11 for a half day.