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. 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).

Service & Trade Union staff: 4/15 - 5/13/2020

The next open application for the 2020-2021 cycle will be for those in the Service & Trade Unions. It will open in PeopleSoft Wednesday April 15 through May 13, 2020. All other faculty, non-union staff, and postdoc applications will be open mid-July through mid-August, 2020.

2020-2021 Child Care Scholarship Cycle

Service and Trade Union employees:

The application period for the 2020-2021 cycle will be open Wednesday April 15 through May 13, 2020. Please email if you would like to schedule an online appointment. 

Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, administrative/professional staff, and non-union support staff

The application period for the 2020-2021 cycle will be open in PeopleSoft over the summer, mid-July thorugh mid-August. A smaller open period for new hires (start date after 8/1/2020) will be open late-August through mid-September, 2020. 

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.