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Sorry college students, this scholarship program is for babies only

Dustin Dwyer

 About 200 Michiganders will benefit from a new scholarship program announced today. 

But if you want to be one of the lucky recipients, there's a catch: you can't be any older than two. 

The state's Early Childhood Investment Corporation announced today that it's partnering with the Women's Caring Program on a new $700,000 program to help low income families afford child care. 

Judy Samuelson is CEO of the ECIC. She says the child care "scholarships" will be available to families who make too much to qualify for federal child care assistance, but too little to afford child care on their own. She that means the money will go to families making as little as $28,416 per year for a family of four. 

"So I’m sure that we can all imagine the challenges faced by families of four at that income level who would just be trying to meet basic needs," Samuelson says. "When one works, child care is a basic need."

The money for the scholarships comes from existing state funds, but it will be administered through the Women's Caring Program. The program already provides scholarships to more than 1,000 infants and toddlers. Those scholarships are paid for with private money, says WCP board chair Rachele Downs. 

She adds that the scholarships will help the economy by allowing parents to work without worrying about child care. And, she says, high-quality child care will better prepare the next generation of workers. 

"Education is the foundation of economic development," she says. "And early childhood education is the strongest investment we can make in education to support workforce development."

To apply for an Early Start scholarship, click here

Dustin Dwyer reports enterprise and long-form stories from Michigan Public’s West Michigan bureau. He was a fellow in the class of 2018 at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard. He’s been with Michigan Public since 2004, when he started as an intern in the newsroom.
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