Skip to main content

WCU Stories

Triple E in the WHEE provides childcare assistance to students

Western Carolina University’s College of Education and Allied Professions is providing affordable childcare for student parents.

WCU students with children five and younger who are currently Pell Grant eligible and need help with childcare in order to attend classes at WCU, and will be enrolled full time (12 credit hours) in an undergraduate program at WCU (distance or residential) are eligible to participate in the Expanding Early Education in Cullowhee program, or Triple E in the WHEE.

“The whole aim is to get students through their degrees and graduated on time,” said Cathy Grist, a professor in CEAP’s Human Services department.

Funding for Triple E in the WHEE is provided through a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education for $170,832 annually. The program will enter its third year under the grant this fall, Grist said.

The program is only available to Pell Grant eligible students and is offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Students will be accepted throughout the year based on space availability and will begin receiving subsidized childcare tuition costs once accepted.

WCU has partnered with Pam’s Child Development Center in Sylva as a placement for children of WCU students in Cullowhee. It has also paid for distance students utilizing Emmanuel Lutheran Preschool in Brevard and All Star Learning Center in New London.

The first year of the program saw 13 students participate. Last year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that number dropped to nine. Grist is hoping to see more students take advantage of the available assistance this fall.

“We can take more than 13,” said Grist, who was a co-principal investigator on the grant along with assistant professor Derek Becker. “We have the funds available.”

For more information, contact assistant grant coordinator Annie McCord at or 828-283-0704.

Office of Web Services