Many K-State graduate students juggle studies with being a parent. For them, affordable child care is one more hurdle on the way to getting their degree.
Thanks to alumni, faculty and staff who came together to support K-State grad students on Giving Tuesday, a new scholarship is knocking down this hurdle. The inaugural campaign raised $5,000, which was matched with a contribution from the K-State Graduate Student Council.
In total, $10,000 was awarded to 13 recipients who demonstrated need for this assistance. Graduate students received awards ranging from $500 to $1,000 to put toward child care expenses, supporting their ability to focus on their academics without added financial pressures.
Addressing the growing need
Although the Graduate Student Child Care Scholarship has relieved significant financial burdens, the need for these funds remains critical.
“The need for child care support among graduate students is much greater than we are currently able to address,” said Dr. Megan Miller, student success coordinator for the K-State Graduate School.
In this first year of funding, 49 graduate students applied for the scholarship, but only a quarter of the applicants could be supported with the funds available. Additionally, the need for this support spans across the institution.
“Applications were received from both full- and part-time master’s and doctoral students representing 22 fields of study from six academic colleges,” Megan said.
Boosting mental health
Beyond child care, a lack of financial resources can interfere with students’ academic advancements and take a toll on their mental health.
“Several applicants noted that their mental health was suffering from either not having the financial resources to take care of their family’s basic needs or from the struggle of balancing multiple responsibilities,” Megan said.
Pressures of working numerous jobs, completing schoolwork and caring for children has become an overwhelming reality for many graduate students. But these scholarships make graduate school what it’s supposed to be: a fulfilling and enriching experience. “Students are better able to succeed academically when they have their basic needs met and when their well-being is thriving,” said Megan.
Caring for students
Scholarships, such as this one, are essential to the all-around success of K-State students.
“Offering this form of support shows current and prospective graduate students that K-State is interested in more than just their academic progress,” Megan said. “We care about our students as people, and we support their holistic well-being.”
“When our graduate school alumni reflect on their student experience, we want them to remember this time of their life not only as time for building careers,” she said, “but a time when they built happy lives.”