Childcare on campus: know your options

One of the kids in the child care center holds up his creation he built out of blocks.

Weber State University’s Nontraditional Student Center has created an affordable child care option for nontraditional students on campus.

Nontraditional students are students who are over 25, have a spouse or committed partner, are divorced, widowed and/or have children. According to Nontrad, 56% of WSU students are nontraditional.

WSU’s child care costs about $3.50 per hour, with a non-refundable one-time $15 application fee, while the average childcare cost in the state of Utah averages out to be about $16 per hour, according to

“Being a parent who is a student also is one of the biggest challenges a nontraditional student may face while going to school,” Jared Tenney, an advisor at the Nontraditional Student Center, said. “Parents can use our childcare center while they go to class. While offering this service, we help break down those barriers for these parents.”

WSU’s hourly childcare center cares for children ages 2-9, and all children enrolled in the childcare center must be fully potty-trained and able to communicate through American Sign Language or verbal communication.

“Because of the desperate need for infant and toddler care, we are hoping to expand soon and open a classroom for infants, toddlers and twos who are not potty-trained,” Megan Jolley, WSU’s childcare supervisor, said.

WSU’s childcare is very limited right now. There are 25 parents with 31 children utilizing the on-campus childcare center, as well as a long waiting list.

“We are full currently for this semester and have a waiting list, but we always encourage parents to reach out and check availability as it can change throughout the semester,” Jolley said. “Parents can always sign up for back-up care.”

Having affordable child care on campus can help many students be more successful in school and can help them further their journey to a degree. WSU’s child care center also values enriching their students, so the children can gain something from being on campus as well.

“Children who attend our center receive high quality learning and experiences just like their parents that are attending school,” Jolley said. “Our curriculum focuses on a play-based learning approach. Our teachers design lesson plans that include play activities with specific learning goals in mind. Teachers seek out opportunities for learning that occur naturally throughout the day during play and daily routines.”

Because of their goal to teach the children while their parents learn, WSU’s child care center aims for a low teacher-child ratio. With three teachers, as well as three substitutes, the center keeps well below the Utah maximum of 20 students per teacher, according to

The children get to experience creative art, science, fine motor/math, block play, story/time, dramatic play, sensory and outdoor time.

“Everything that we plan and do for the children’s growth and development is based on the relationships that the teachers create with the children,” Jolley said.

WSU’s child care center is working to close the child care gap in Weber County. As of right now, the county has the fourth largest child care gap in the state of Utah, and the center is working hard to combat that through affordable child care and trying to expand their services to more students.

“Weber understands the needs of their students and the barriers they encounter to fulfilling their educational goal,” Jolley said. “One of the biggest barriers for student parents is the need for child care — especially child care that is not full-time care and is flexible. Weber has been a pioneer in recognizing this barrier by creating and supporting the Nontraditional Student Hourly Child Care center to meet the needs of student parents.”

WSU has worked to provide opportunities for students that wouldn’t be able to attend university otherwise and has tried to break down barriers for those students who feel that something is stopping them from continuing their education.

“Our goal as a center is to help nontraditional students navigate any barriers and challenges they may be faced with when pursuing their education here at Weber,” Tenney said. “We work with many departments on campus to help educate these nontraditional students about the various departmental resources that are available to them.”

Though the child care center may be at capacity right now, the center urges to continue to check in with the center throughout the semester, as spots open up as time goes on.

The Nontraditional Student Center urges students to visit to find resources, even if the child care center is something that doesn’t work for you, for one reason or another. WSU’s Non-Traditional Student Center is located on the main campus in the Sheppard Union room 322 and on the Davis campus in building D2 room 307.

The child care center is located in the office on the Ogden campus and is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. through 5 p.m. All parents interested in the program must apply each semester, though returning students are given priority deadlines for part of the semester. The center is open through finals week of each semester, but closed on breaks and holidays.

Students who use the childcare center must prepay before each week, but are refunded for any time their child was not in the center. All WSU child care center teachers are given background checks, CPR and first-aid training and continuous child care training.

“We are a hidden gem at Weber,” Jolley said. “Use us. Don’t put your education on hold because of the challenge of not having care for your children.”