Two North Carolina institutions are among 34 colleges and universities receiving federal grants to support or establish campus-based child care programs for low income students, the U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday.

UNC-Greensboro received $224,102 under the grant program and Carteret Community College in Morehead City received $105,000.

“I am a big believer in campus child care programs because I’ve seen how they break down barriers to upskilling and attaining postsecondary education for parents with young children —bringing the American Dream within reach for families across America,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement on the grants.

“Today’s grants will help 34 colleges and universities raise the bar for how they support student parents as they work to earn degrees and credentials that will advance their careers and boost their earning potential,” Cardona said. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to building an inclusive higher education system that’s accessible to students from all walks of life, including parents who dream of better futures for themselves and their families.”

More than one in five students are parents and 42% of all student parents attend community colleges, according to the federal Department of Education.

With its beginnings as the nation’s first state supported women’s college, UNCG has a long history of attracting traditionally marginalized and underserved populations. Recently ranked the state’s top university in the state for social mobility by U.S. News and World Report, 46 percent of its undergraduates receive federal Pell grants for financial need. Fifty percent of the university’s students are the first generation of their family to attend college. Fifty-three percent of its students are people of color and is ranked first in the UNC system for Hispanic/Latinx student enrollment.

As Newsline recently reported, this years’s enrollment at UNCG shows increases in first-time college students after budget cuts and declines in student numbers that have threatened programs and positions across the regional university. This fall’s total of 17,743 students includes an increase of 11.5 percent in first-time college students.

The number of readmitted students at UNCG — those who took a break from pursuing their degrees — was up 8.8% from last fall. Transfer students, including those from community colleges with which UNCG has worked to improve partnerships, were up 8.9% over the same period. That’s welcome news for a campus that still proudly wears its working-class identity and tries to appeal to older students, students working their way through school, and those raising families as they pursue their degrees.

Carteret Community College, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2023, is one of 58 schools in the state community college system. In addition to offering assistance to students with child care needs, the school maintains a certificate program in early childhood education.