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The College of Eastern Idaho received a $120,000 grant from the Department of Education to help students pay for child care costs while attending the school.

The grant from the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools program will be divided into $30,000 chunks that will be made available annually for the next four years. Students who are full-time or part-time can apply for the grant, though priority will be given to full-time students and those who are low-income and have the highest need for support.

Dean of Students Mike Walker said this was the first federal grant that CEI had ever received, but the college had been trying to address the issues of child care for years prior. Earlier this year, the college received a Community Development Block Grant from the city of Idaho Falls to provide students with child care vouchers.

“We know there’s a huge need for students who can’t afford childcare in order to go back to school. That’s why this is a grant that schools across the country compete for,” Walker said.

Walker estimated the grant could cover a year of child care for 20 full-time students and more through partial assistance for part-time students.

Students can apply for the funds beginning Oct. 12 through the college’s Center for New Directions. Funds should start being sent out of local child care providers by the end of the month for the first applicants

Brennen is the main education reporter for the Post Register. Contact him with news tips at 208-542-6711.