Posted: November 19, 1997

Contact: Doug Anderson,, 651-201-1426

Students at several state colleges will have access to infant child care serviceson campus for the first time thanks to action expected to be taken today by the board of trustees of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Ridgewater College-Hutchinson, St. Cloud Technical College, and Itasca Community College, Grand Rapids, would each receive $50,000 grants to help establish or expand child care programs for students with infants. The one-time grants will be used to develop exemplary pilot programs that can pave the way for more infant care at the other 26 two-year public institutions where need for such care is growing. Today many of Minnesota's state colleges offer child care services for toddlers and preschoolers but the higher costs of providing care for infants have prohibited nearly all institutions from offering care for children under 16 months.

"Students attending Minnesota's two-year institutions are typically older and are more likely to have children. Many students will also soon be adversely affected by federal welfare cuts," Morrie Anderson, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities said. "By increasing the capacity and flexibility of child care services, we hope to remove some critical barriers to success for this growing number of non-traditional students."

Ridgewater College, which has campuses in Willmar and Hutchinson, will establish a child care program for the first time on its Hutchinson campus sharing the operational costs with two major employers, 3M and Hutchinson Technologies. The center will also tap an area seniors residence for volunteer helpers.

St. Cloud Technical College currently contracts with a private vendor for campus child care and offers full- or part-time care until 10 p.m. daily. Their center will double its existing capacity for infants to 15, and utilize student workers from St. Cloud Technical College's child care development program to further reduce the adult to child ratio.

Itasca Community College contracts with a public agency, Kootaska Community Action Inc., to provide child care on campus from 5:30 a.m. to midnight. Services are integrated with other family services including Head Start. The grant will enable them to open their doors to infants for the first time.

Funding for the pilot program was included in the 1997 state appropriation. Seven institutions submitted applications for grants, which were awarded based on the quality of existing child care programs, student demand at the institutions, and the ability of the communities and institutions to sustain a new or expanded infant care program.