Access and Success

Connecting Students to the Support They Need

Access and Success offers support and programs to meet the needs of students who are parenting, or any student who is facing a basic needs emergency impacting their ability to access food, housing, medical care, child care, transportation, etc.

All students are welcome to contact the program for questions. Any student who is raising a child is encouraged to meet with a staff social worker to learn more about services specific to students raising children.

Local Resources

Think Small

Think Small is a comprehensive site offering a searchable child care provider database, tips on finding quality childcare and links to some scholarships for preschool aged children. 

Information for Parents and Guardians

Early Learning Scholarships for Preschool-aged Children

Post Secondary Child Care Grant

Post-Secondary Child Care Grant is available through the Financial Aid Office. The Child Care Grant program provides financial assistance to students who have children 12 and under, are not receiving assistance under the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), and who demonstrate financial need for grants, to help pay for child care while pursuing a postsecondary education.

Applicants must:

  • meet state residency requirements.
  • not be recipients of MFIP.
  • be enrolled 6-15 credits per term (undergraduates) or 1-6 credits per term (graduates).
  • be an undergraduate or graduate student who has been enrolled full time less than ten semesters or the equivalent, or have a baccalaureate degree and been enrolled full time less than ten semesters or the equivalent in a graduate or professional degree program. Students who have withdrawn for active military service after December 31, 2002 are given an extra term of eligibility.
  • New for the 2017-18 academic year, eligibility has been extended to five years at both the undergraduate and graduate level.
  • not be in default of any educational loan.
  • be making satisfactory progress.
  • not be receiving tuition reciprocity benefits from another state.

2023-24 Postsecondary Child Care Grant Application

Rec Check

Rec Check is a free after-school program for youth in grades 1–5 provided at the recreation centers listed on their website. Rec Check is open for youth who live or attend school in St. Paul.

The program is held on weekdays between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on days when Saint Paul Public Schools have classes in session. Start times may vary due to varying school release times. Children participate in a variety of structured, supervised activities, including tutoring sessions, craft-making, reading, and more. To promote health and fitness, staff will engage the youth daily in physical activity. A daily snack is also provided.

You need to register your child. All sites have limited enrollment. Registration is taken on a first-come, first-served basis. Some locations allow you to begin the registration process online, but additional registration forms must be completed onsite before a child may attend.

Local Minneapolis Crisis Nursery

Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery works to end child abuse and neglect and create strong, healthy families. The Crisis Nursery supports families in crisis 24 hours a day, 365 days a year through our free, voluntary services:

  • 24-hour Crisis Helpline: 763-591-0100
  • Crisis Counseling
  • Overnight Residential Child Care
  • Parent Education and Parent Support Groups

Potential clients, please call 763-591-0100 to access Crisis Nursery services. All other callers can get additional information by calling 763-591-0400.

Sick, Drop-in/Short-term Childcare

For information on providers of short-term, sick or drop-in childcare services please contact an Access and Success staff person as soon as you are able.

Child Friendly Study Spaces

Access and Success has rooms equipped with computers, a printer, study spaces, and an adjacent playroom for your children in library 066, (lower level).

Lactation Rooms

Quiet and private spaces for expressing milk or nursing your baby are available on campus.

  • Coeur de Catherine 490
  • Whitby 3rd floor, across from room 314
  • Fontbonne 122
  • Library 76.

St. Paul campus wellness room information

The Early Childhood Center and Montessori Program

The Early Childhood Center and Montessori Program is located in the lower level of St. Mary's Hall and provides care to children ages 33 months to 6 years. The Early Childhood Center is a department independent of the Access and Success program.

For further information, contact the Center at 651.690.6608 or visit them at the Early Childhood Center.

National Resources

National Child Care Resource and Referral

Contacting your local Child Care Resource and Referral Organization can help you locate and choose quality child care by providing referrals to local child care providers, information on state licensing requirements, availability of child care subsidies, and other information. To find a Local Child Care Resource and Referral organization visit the:

National Crisis Nurseries

Many metro areas have crisis services available to care for children on a short-term basis. These services are available to parents who are experiencing a crisis, may need to be hospitalized or may just need a break. To locate services in your area contact United Way by calling 211 or 1-800-543-7709.

The National Diaper Bank

The National Diaper Bank works with more than 200 community-based diaper banks across the country that collect, store, and distribute free diapers to struggling families across.

Find a local diaper bank through the National Diaper Bank Network

Students often find that finances are a source of stress when they start or work to complete their education. Access and Success staff can be a source of support and help as you work to make ends meet. Access and Success social workers work with you to find out if you may be eligible for a wide range of public benefits and can help you to connect to other sources of assistance.

If you are a currently enrolled St. Kate's student in need of emergency assistance for a basic need such as housing, food, gas, etc, please complete the Access and Success emergency assistance online application.

Contact Access and Success for more information on emergency loans or grants that might be available to assist you in a financial emergency.

Local Resources


Check out St. Kate's financial aid for scholarship information, or Live Your Dream, which provides educational grants to low income women with dependent children who are the primary financial providers for their families.

Money Management Program

In addition, students can take advantage of the Money Management program at St. Catherine. The Money Management Program provides financial education and resources to students through presentations, workshops, one-on-one counseling and courses.

Public Benefits Calculator

Students often find that their income is reduced while they are completing their education. Contact an Access and Success staff person if you live in Minnesota and would like the staff to work with you to screen you to see if you and your family might be eligible for any public benefits that could ease your financial stress.

Free Assistance Preparing Your Taxes

Prepare + Prosper provides free tax and financial services and volunteer-based financial coaching.

National Resources

IRS Tax Preparation Service

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to people who generally make $54,000 or less, persons with disabilities and limited English speaking taxpayers who need assistance in preparing their own tax returns. IRS-certified volunteers provide free basic income tax return preparation with electronic filing to qualified individuals.


If you are unemployed and need support while you complete your education you may want to see if you qualify for the Dislocated Worker Program. This national site can connect you with programs in your area.

Need additional financial help? Contact Access and Success for more information.

Local Resources

St. Kate's Food Shelf

Good nutrition is necessary for productive learning, and we strive to help students maintain a healthy diet. To support students who may be facing food insecurity, the CSSJ has partners with faculty and staff from across the University to run a food shelf for the St. Kate's community. The food shelf is open on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 12–4 p.m. and is located in the Carondelet Center on the CSJ campus across from the O'Shaughnessy. Any student is welcome to create a bag of groceries that services their needs. We offer fresh fruits and vegetables, breads, and an assortment of other foods that will provide a balanced diet. If you have any questions, please contact us or email

Katies End Hunger

Students can also access emergency meal vouchers through the CSSJ initiative Katies End Hunger. Through our partnership with Sodexo, students facing food insecurity can use these vouchers for a drink, entree, and side in the Dining Room (Coeur de Catherine). The vouchers are available at the following offices:

  • Access and Success
  • Student Affairs
  • Center for Spirituality and Social Justice
  • Residence Life
  • MIPS

Students, faculty, staff, and anyone in the St. Kate’s community can donate by asking the cashiers at the Dining Room check-out registers. Donors can contribute points from their existing meal plan, or purchase points on-the-spot to donate. Katies End Hunger is a great opportunity to utilize leftover meal points, which disappear at the end of each semester. (Student point donations are good for one year. Faculty and staff point donations do not expire.

Help out a Katie with a nutritious meal! Email the Food Shelf at with questions.

Finding a Food Shelf

The Twin Cities is served by a network of agencies, which maintain emergency food shelves to assist people who temporarily are not able to meet their food needs. Generally you must provide proof that you live in the agency's service area. Food Shelves can provide up to a week of free food. Check out Hunger Solutions for a food shelf in your area.

Fare for All

Save money on groceries by using Fare for All to help stretch your food dollars.

If you would like to be screened for eligibility for public benefits program such as WIC (Women Infants and Children) or SNAP (Supplemental Food Assistance Program) please contact an Access and Success staff person who can confidentially screen you for eligibility.

National Resources

Supplemental Nutrition Programs

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) works with low-income, nutritionally at risk women who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or non-breastfeeding postpartum women (up to 6 months after the birth of an infant or pregnancy ends), infants, and children up to age 5. WIC provides supplemental nutritious foods, education, and referrals to WIC participants.

Apply for WIC (Women, Infant, and Children) benefits

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of needy families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.

Apply for SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits

Most communities offer food assistance programs.

  • Feeding America helps locate services and resources near you.
  • 2-1-1 will help you find food resources available to you in your community.

Additional Resources

Eat Well on $4 per Day, Good and Cheap is a New York Times best seller, this cookbook is designed for those on a strict budget who still want to eat healthily. Check out these great, easy recipes.

Local Resources

Finding affordable and safe housing is essential. is a helpful resource for researching available housing off campus.

Contact Access and Success to learn more about the housing resources available on and off campus, including subsidized housing and housing crisis help.

National Resources

Learn about renting and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rental assistance programs.

Find support and local information

Access and Success recommends these options for saving money on transportation:

College Go-To Pass (Metro Bus Pass)

The College Go-To Passes for fall semester are available at the Information Center on the St. Paul campus. These passes are good for one semester and allows you to use public transportation at a reduced rate.

Order a bus pass


United Way 2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember, three-digit number that families and individuals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin can call to obtain free and confidential information on health and human services. 2-1-1 call centers are staffed 24/7 by trained Information and Referral Specialists who quickly assess needs and refer callers to the help that they seek.

For more resources, try 2-1-1. Cell phone users can call 651.291.0211. Toll free: 1.800.543.7709. Multilingual lines are available.

Find additional services near you through State Health and Human Services

Find low-income energy assistance programs near you through State Low-Income Energy Assistance or call 1-866-367-6228 for energy assistance referral.

Access and Success staff provides support to students who are pregnant.  Staff can assist students with communicating with instructors, navigating Title IX pregnancy accommodations, and connecting with resources on and off campus.

St. Catherine University Pregnancy and Parenting Policy

Pregnancy and Parenting Resources

FamilyU Generation Hope National Seal Logo
Generation Hope's FamilyU Recipient

St. Catherine University has been chosen as an inaugural recipient of Generation Hope’s FamilyU Seal, a national certification recognizing higher education institutions and nonprofit organizations for their work supporting student parents. The FamilyU Seal program celebrates institutions serving parenting students and aims to inspire others to invest in student parent success.