Financial Assistance for Child Care

Child care can be expensive. At Harvard, we work with you to find ways to ease the burden. If you’re a benefits-eligible employee, you can set up a Dependent Care Flexible Spending Account that allows you to set aside up to $5,000 each year on a pretax basis to pay for eligible child care expenses - saving you money in taxes while helping you pay costs.

Child Care Scholarships

Harvard offers child care scholarships, based on need, to eligible faculty, staff and postdocs that help defray the cost of child care. Scholarship awards vary from family to family and year to year, and payments are made on a reimbursement basis. Applications are accepted once per year and current recipients need to re-apply each year.

To apply to any of these programs, you must be eligible for full active benefits AND a faculty, staff member, postdoctoral fellow, or member of one of Harvard’s staff unions AND on a Harvard payroll AND working at least half-time (FTE >=0.5). Note: Support staff in postions covered by HUCTW should apply through their program (see link below). Application procedures and schedules may vary by job type. For details, please consult the information below, based on your employee group (if you are unsure of your group, please contact your local human resources office to find out).

Special Application Period: Faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows: 2/1 - 2/15/2021

For those who did not apply over the summer of 2020, we are holding a special application period for those who missed the summer application window, are new to the University, or whose circumstances have changed and they may now be eligible.

The next open application for the 2020-2021 cycle will be for ladder and teaching faculty, other academics, those staff in administrative/professional or non-union, non-exempt support positions, service and trade union staff, and postdoctoral fellows. It will be open in PeopleSoft Monday February 1 through Monday February 15, 2021. Please look for the announcement email just beforehand. Remote application support is available.

2020-2021 Child Care Scholarship Cycle

Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, administrative/professional staff, non-union support staff, and Service & Trade Union employees

The application period for the 2020-2021 cycle will be open online in PeopleSoft Monday February 1 through Monday February 15, 2021. Please email if you would like to schedule an online or telephone appointment.

Reimbursements will be made on a more frequent schedule between January and June, 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ease the financial burden on families with child care scholarships from the University-wide program. For those who have claimed their child care expenses online in PeopleSoft, reimbursements will now be made in February, April, and June, 2021. Those on the weekly and bi-weekly paycycles will see it added to the last available paycheck of that month.

Addition Information about Harvard’s Child Care Scholarships

View a presentation on the Child Care Scholarships (11 minutes)

Frequently Asked Questions

Completing the Child Care Scholarship Online Claim Form (5 minute video)

To learn more about financial aid for child care in Massachusetts, visit Child Care Choices of Boston.

Assistance Paying for Back-up Care

The SOURCE Program (Subsidy for Occasional, Unplanned, and Respite Care Expenses) helps eligible employees get to work when regular child or elder care falls through. If you are eligible, this service can help you cover some of your costs by reimbursing you up to $350 of back-up care expenses paid to an eligible provider - including care provided by a friend, neighbor, relative, other in-home provider, or licensed child/elder care center.

Paying for Adoption

If your family is exploring adoption, you may wish to consider the Harvard Adoption Assistance Plan, which provides up to $5,000 to assist with adoption costs.