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 generally accepted once per year and current recipients need to re-apply each year. See the detailed FAQ (pdf) which includes the updated approved enhancements to the programs including increases in the household income cap.

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 the HUCTW program.

2022-2023 Application Period: Faculty, staff, and postdoctoral fellows: July 13 through August 10, 2022

The child care scholarships programs were recently enhanced by raising the household income cap to include more families and increasing the level of funding overall to support the additional families and award tiers. More information on all eligibility criteria and program timelines can be found in the detailed FAQ (pdf).

The next application for the 2022-2023 cycle is 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 from 7/13 - 8/10/2022. Please look for the announcement email just beforehand. Remote application support is available. There will be a smaller round for new hires from 8/31-9/14/22. 

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).

2022-2023 Child Care Scholarship Cycle: Reimbursements

Reimbursements will be made up to four times during the academic/fiscal year between October, 2022 and June, 2023 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 by the relevant deadlines, reimbursements will be made in the paycheck in October and December, 2022 and March and June, 2023. Paycheck dates can be viewed in the online claim form in PeopleSoft (according to paycycle) or in the FAQ (pdf).

Addition Information about Harvard’s Child Care Scholarships

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

Frequently Asked Questions (pdf)

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 (<$75K Harvard salary FTE), 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.