NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Heartland Community College is expanding its child care services to include evenings thanks to a $375,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The new Nighthawk Program will offer child care for students Monday through Thursday nights at the Child Development Lab on HCC’s Normal campus.

“We hear every semester about students who have child care needs that either fall through or they can no longer afford,” said Amy Pawlik, associate vice president of enrollment and student services at Heartland Community College.

Pawlik said child care can be a barrier for non-traditional students.

“We’re hoping this will allow our adult learners, our non-traditional students who are coming back for a degree or credentials to be able to complete that with reliable safe child care. That will help not only with their persistence and their completion, but also giving them a leg up and time to do extra studying,” she said.

Pawlik said the program can accommodate up to 100 families. The facility can hold about 30 children at a time. Approximately 75 families, including students, faculty and staff, already participate in the daytime child care program.

She said they also hope to extend the program to their Pontiac and Lincoln campuses.