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Federal Grants Available to Support Young Student Parents and their Children in Minnesota




Competitive Grant Funds for Minnesota's Institutions of Higher Education: Minnesota Department of Health announces funds available to support pregnant and parenting young students enrolled in post-secondary education institutions

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) is seeking grant applications from institutions of higher education for Minnesota's Young Student Parent Support Initiative. This Initiative will address the needs of college age pregnant and parenting young people, age 25 years and under. The purpose of this grant program is to enable institutions of higher education to establish, maintain, or operate pregnant and parenting student services.

MDH applied for and received these funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). DHHS is responsible for the Pregnancy Assistance Fund, which was authorized by Sections 10211-10214 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (The Act), Public Law 111-148.

The Initiative has two goals: Pregnant and parenting teens, young women and men will accomplish their higher education/post-secondary education goals; and, pregnant and parenting young students will maintain positive health and well-being for themselves and their children. These goals will be achieved by expanding current services to young parenting students on campus, and starting new student parent centers at colleges, universities, community and technical schools. The DHHS Funding Opportunity Announcement defines eligible institution of higher education as: "&an institution of higher education (as such term is defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 {20 U.S.C. 1001}) that has established and operates, or agrees to establish and operate upon the receipt of a grant under this part, a pregnant and parenting student services office." Additional information about Section 101 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 is available at

The application materials are available beginning April 4, 2011 on the MDH's website:

Two separate Requests for Proposals (RFPs) are available. RFP-Option 1 for Program Expansion Grants, will award two grants for $120,000 each, per year, for existing student parent help centers at institutions of higher education that demonstrate well-established and comprehensive services for pregnant and parenting teens and young families that have existed for at least 5 years.

RFP-Option 2 for Program Start-Up Grants anticipates awarding up to eight grants, for $140,000 each, per year, to start new student parent help centers. Grant applicants may have in place a few basic student parent support components, such as financial aid, child care referral and/or assistance, academic counseling, referrals for housing, outreach activities and other related services but wish to add or enhance components, including maternal-child health services (required) and/or increase the numbers served; Or, they may start a brand new student parent help center where one has not yet existed.

Completed applications will be due to the Minnesota Department of Health on May 24, 2011. MDH anticipates it will enter into grant agreements with the grantees from the period of July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2013. Funding is contingent upon future federal legislative approval.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, among students who began at 2-year post-secondary institutions, 61% of those who have children after enrolling fail to finish their degree, compared to 37% of those who never had children. Research also reports that college students who are single parents, having family responsibilities, including the pressures to provide income and care for their children, make it difficult to attend and complete school.i

The MDH Division of Community and Family Health is responsible for this Initiative, along with several other initiatives that support the health and well-being of women, adolescents, and young children.

i MDRC, Executive Summary, Opening Doors: Students' Perspectives on Juggling Work, Family and College. 2002.

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