PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia State University will soon offer on-campus housing for students who are parents to young children.

The university’s new student-parent housing program provides housing options for six student-parents and their children. VSU has also made changing tables available inside male and female restrooms, added family study rooms in the university library and created an on-campus nursing mothers station.

In addition, VSU is currently developing special parking for expecting mothers, with the goal of having dedicated spots at each academic building.

The changes were able to come to fruition after the U.S. Department of Education awarded the university $1.45 million in September 2022 to provide student parents with childcare funding for four years through the Child Care Access Means Parents in School grant.

The grant was applied for by VSU Assistant Vice President of Student Success and Engagement Regina Barnett-Tyler.

“We did a survey to determine what services student parents needed, and affordable childcare was the top response,” said Barnett-Tyler. “Since we’ve received the grant, it has just been a blessing for students, particularly low-income students, who don’t have the resources to further their education.”

The university said that as of Nov. 11, 13 student parents were receiving funds to pay for childcare so they could focus on graduating.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the new housing occurred at the University Apartments at Ettrick on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 1:45 p.m.

At the ribbon-cutting, VSU met with Generation Hope, a nonprofit that supports student parents, to discuss current and future initiatives on campus.