The Student Services Finance Committee convened Thursday evening to hold a budget hearing for the Child Care Tuition Assistance Program.

CCTAP provides financial aid to qualifying University of Wisconsin student parents. Cigdem Unal, director of UW Office of Child Care and Family Resources, elaborated on the goals of CCTAP at Thursday’s meeting.

CCTAP’s goals, Unal said, include encouraging the integration of student parents into the campus community, reducing the stress of student parenting and providing student parents with a support system and a better chance to focus on their education.

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Unal said CCTAP is successful at achieving its goals of helping UW’s student parents graduate at similar time rates to non-parent students.

“[UW Madison CCTAP’s] persistent rate is excellent, with over 95 percent graduating in the same time frame as non-parent student peers,” Unal said.

Unal said UW’s CCTAP also boasts other programs, such as the Odyssey Project, which provides increased evening hours of child care for the student parents who need extra time to study. CCTAP also offers a music and movement class for students and parents and one-on-one consultations for student parents who need additional support.

Concerns were raised by SSFC representatives with regards to CCTAP’s request for a budget increase and volunteer opportunities through CCTAP’s partnership with the School of Education.

SSFC vice chair Kristi Parsons questioned CCTAP’s need for increased funding.

“Is there more demand than there are grants? Have you had to turn people away?” Parsons asked.

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Unal explained to the council that while CCTAP has always had the appropriate amount of funds and has never had to turn down a student parent seeking aid, the costs of child care have been on the rise. CCTAP anticipates a yearly budget increase of about 2-3 percent.

Regarding CCTAP’s partnership with the School of Education, SSFC members suggested increasing the number of volunteer opportunities for SOE students interested in working with preschool-aged children.

Unal and Jen Dittrich, a parent resource specialist and CCTAP program coordinator, reiterated the program is structured to serve as many people as it can.

Unal thanked SSFC for its long-standing support, saying the funding provided for CCTAP helps UW student parents graduate and provide their young children with care.

“CCTAP is a national model and we are fortunate to have such long-standing support,” Unal said. “We thank you very much on behalf of the families and children who have been influenced by CCTAP.”

A budget decision for CCTAP will be made on Feb. 5.