EC3 Reduces Rates

Published: 2020-09-18

For Immediate Release
CONTACT: Elisabeth Tobia, CEO, 517-485-6825, x.204


LANSING, MICHIGAN, September 17, 2020—Educational Child Care Center is meeting the economic crisis head-on by reducing family-paid tuition, at precisely the time when many are expecting rates to rise.

The nonprofit early learning center, known as EC3, made this remarkable move despite its own revenue shortfall caused by a three-month shutdown and many parents working from home. “The Board of Directors adopted a budget that embraces this moment in history as an opportunity to become the organization it needs and wants to be,” said Board Chair Christopher Jackson. “This year’s budget is designed to serve a larger, more diverse community than ever before. At the same time, we recognize that maintaining the safety of our children and families during this pandemic is paramount.”

EC3’s new fiscal year begins in just two weeks. Normally, its Board of Directors approves a budget at its July meeting, so there is plenty of time to communicate any tuition changes to families; the budget is typically derived through a process of forecasting enrollment based on historical patterns. But this year has been anything but normal, as EC3 closed for three months in the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and enrollment has diminished since reopening in July as families have hunkered down at home. Like every other nonprofit in the nation right now, EC3 is facing unprecedented ambiguity about the future.

Yet rather than imposing a hefty tuition increase on families who are already feeling financial strains, EC3 made the bold move to lower it instead. “Although the rates are still high, they are no longer the highest among high-quality centers in the Lansing area,” said CEO Elisabeth Tobia. “We decided to step more deeply into our mission by setting a target of at least $120,000 in grants, donations, and fundraising revenue to support these new rates without sacrificing quality.” Tobia reported there are no plans for staffing cuts or reductions in employee benefits. Additionally, this fundraising will help support scholarships for low-income families and families of color. “Taking this approach will be a game-changer for accessibility to high-quality care, and will help increase the diversity of the EC3 family—an important goal for the organization” she added.

The tuition rate reduction is between 3% and 13%, bringing them back in line to rates from 2018. Billing at the new rates begins on Monday.


EC3 opened in late 1984, as a pilot program to improve the quality of early education for all young children. It was a collaborative effort between the Michigan Department of Education, the Lansing School District, and local early childhood professionals. EC3 was developed into a model-training site for eleven child care programs occupying space in Lansing School District buildings at that time. Since 1998, EC3 has occupied the Main Street School building in Lansing’s Westside Neighborhood, formerly owned by the Lansing School District. EC3’s model program typically serves over one hundred mid-Michigan families from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds. It is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children and is a four-star center in the Great Start to Quality Initiative. EC3 maintains partnerships with Lansing Community College and Michigan State University to provide a variety of student training opportunities and internships.

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