Texas A&M University-San Antonio offers free childcare to help students reach finish line

There are 17 children enrolled in the program with the ability to enroll up to 68

San Antonio – In January, Texas A&M University-San Antonio launched the Young Jaguars Program, which meant free childcare for students who are Pell Grant eligible or are single parents.

On Wednesday, the program will officially host its ribbon cutting. There are 17 children enrolled in the program with the ability to enroll up to 68.

Catherine O’Brien, Director of Campus Childcare, says this type of program can provide a generational impact for families in that community, “It’s the impact that it has on the greater economy and society,” O’Brien said. “If we’ve got, you know, somebody who can’t get childcare, then they can’t work. And so that makes an impact on the overall economic crisis that we’re having.”

But supporting those families with free childcare while they finish their degrees can help them get better jobs in the long run, O’Brien explained.

Efforts to provide this service started when O’Brien and other educators noticed students were struggling to juggle childcare access, “We started seeing students come to class and having to bring their children to class with them or bringing, not being able to come to class because they didn’t have childcare for their child. That really was kind of a red flag for us,” O’Brien said.

The program is made possible thanks to a $1.75 million grant from the Department of Education. The university sits in what’s known as a daycare desert.

The goal is to eventually expand the program to include more students and staff.

About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.

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