Family Resource Center

Grant Programs for PhD Students with Families

In spring 2017, the University announced the creation of two grant programs for PhD students to help offset the cost of childcare and family expenses, and health insurance for dependents. These grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Family Resource Center and the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services.

The application for the 2017 Grant Program has closed.

Family Grant

The Family Grant helps to offset the cost of childcare and other expenses for PhD students with children. Eligible PhD students may receive up to $5,000 per child. Applications and supporting documents must be submitted electronically by October 6, 2017. Direct all questions to kids@gsc.upenn.edu

Eligible doctoral students must:

  • Have a dependent child or children under the age of 12 living with them. In order to be considered, children must be born/adopted by the first disbursement of the grant in December 2017.
  • Be currently registered in a Penn PhD program and in good academic standing during both fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters. Students graduating in December are not eligible. Students who deposit dissertations in fall semester are not eligible. Students on leave (except family leave) during either semester are not eligible.
  • Be enrolled in years 1-7. Students in year eight or beyond are not eligible.

Below are the required documentation* items that must be submitted through Secure Share to Jessica Bolker (jessal@upenn.edu):

  • Copy of completed application form.
  • Copies of the 2016 U.S. tax returns and 2016 W2s for student and spouse/partner.
  • Copies of the most recent two pay stubs for all working adults in the household. (Stipend pay stubs can be found in Penn Portal under "My Pay.")
  • If applicable, proof of childcare expenses for dependents, in the form of daycare/childcare invoices or cancelled checks to caregivers.
    Documentation is required only if a daycare expense is listed on the application.
  • Documentation that you have child(ren). This documentation can include one of the following:
    • -your tax returns if you've claimed the child(ren) as dependents;
    • a copy of the child(ren)'s birth certificate(s) or U.S. passport(s);
    • copy of the Dependent I-20 or DS2019 forms;
    • health insurance documents.
    • *All documentation will be handled in accordance with the University's privacy policies.

Before you apply, you should know:

  • Grants are not guaranteed. Grants are disbursed as funding allows, with priority given to the students who demonstrate the highest financial need.
  • Grants are awarded in the range of $500-$5,000 per child.
  • Married and/or partnered PhD students should submit only one application.
  • Grants are awarded annually, and you must reapply each year.

If you are approved to receive a grant, you should know:

  • Funds will be processed through your student account. You will receive a direct deposit (if you do not have direct deposit, the funds will be applied to your TotalPay Card). If you have an outstanding balance, the grant will be applied to your bill.
  • You will be notified if you received the grant in late November. Half of the funds will be disbursed in December 2017 and the other half in the beginning of the spring 2018 semester.
  • Grants are taxable. You are responsible for reporting the grant income and paying applicable taxes. Depending on your tax status, taxes may be withheld prior to the grant disbursement.
  • If you are receiving federal loans, this grant could reduce your loan amount. You are responsible for contacting Student Financial Services for a budget re-evaluation if you receive the grant.
  • If you do not remain in good academic standing during the spring 2018 semester, some or all of the grant funds may be rescinded.
  • If you have falsified information or supporting documentation on the grant application form, the grant funds will be rescinded, and you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

Dependent Health Insurance Grant

This grant helps to offset the cost of dependent health insurance for PhD students with children and/or spouses. Eligible students may receive grant funds up to $1,000 per dependent. The online application is now open, applications and supporting documents must be submitted electronically by October 6, 2017. Direct all questions to kids@gsc.upenn.edu

Eligible doctoral students must:

  • Have a dependent child or children under the age of 26 or disabled living with them at least part of the time and/or have a spouse.
  • Have purchased a current health insurance policy for their dependents/spouse. The policy does not have to be PSIP, but the policy must meet the criteria listed below.
  • Be currently registered in a Penn PhD program and in good academic standing during both fall 2017 and spring 2018 semesters. Students graduating in December are not eligible. Students who deposit dissertations in fall semester are not eligible. Students on leave (except family leave) during either semester are not eligible.
  • Be enrolled in years 1-7. Students in year eight or beyond are not eligible.
  • Preference will be given to students with an annual household income of:
    • $58,000 or less for household of 3 or more
    • $38,000 or less for household of 2
    Students at other income levels may still apply.

Below are the required documentation* items that must be submitted through Secure Share to Jessica Bolker (jessal@upenn.edu):

  • Copy of completed application form.
  • Copies of the 2016 U.S. tax returns and 2016 W2s for student and spouse/partner.
  • Copies of the most recent two pay stubs for all working adults in the household. (Stipend pay stubs can be found in Penn Portal under "My Pay.")
  • Proof that you have purchased health insurance for your dependents/spouse.
  • A benefits summary for the insurance plan, unless it is PSIP.
  • *Our office is committed to ensuring the security of your information. We have put in place reasonable physical, technical, and administrative safeguards designed to prevent unauthorized access to, or use of, the information collected online.

Before you apply, you should know:

  • Grants are not guaranteed. Grants are disbursed as funding allows, with priority given to the students who demonstrate the highest financial need.
  • Grants are awarded in the range of $500-$1,000.
  • If you are applying for an insurance grant for a spouse who is also a Penn PhD student, he/she should apply directly for the health insurance program for PhD students.
  • Grants are awarded annually, and you must reapply each year.

If you are approved to receive a grant, you should know:

  • Funds will be processed through your student account. You will receive a direct deposit (if you do not have direct deposit, the funds will be applied to your TotalPay Card). If you have an outstanding balance, the grant will be applied to your bill.
  • You will be notified if you received the grant in late November. Half of the funds will be disbursed in December 2017 and the other half in the beginning of the spring 2018 semester.
  • Grants are taxable. You are responsible for reporting the grant income and paying applicable taxes. Depending on your tax status, taxes may be withheld prior to the grant disbursement.
  • If you are receiving federal loans, this grant could reduce your loan amount. You are responsible for contacting Student Financial Services for a budget re-evaluation if you receive the grant.
  • If you do not remain in good academic standing during the spring 2018 semester, some or all of the grant funds may be rescinded.
  • If you have falsified information or supporting documentation on the grant application form, the grant funds will be rescinded, and you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

Criteria for insurance plans for dependents/spouse:

  1. The insurance plan must be provided by a company licensed to do business in the United States, with a U.S. claims payment office and a U.S. telephone number. The company must have a process to remit payments to providers within the U.S. However, if you and/or your family will be living outside of the United States the insurance plan must cover your dependents in the area where you/they reside.
  2. The insurance plan must provide coverage for pre-existing conditions, or have been in effect long enough that any waiting period has passed.
  3. Your insurance plan must provide coverage for both in-patient and out-patient medical care in the area of your residence, including routine office visits, specialist office visits, diagnostic testing, imaging and physical therapy. A policy that provides only emergency or urgent medical care in this area does not meet this requirement.

You will be asked to provide a benefits summary for the insurance plan when you apply unless it is PSIP, and we will audit the plans. In addition, you will be required to sign an attestation that your plan meets these criteria. If during the audit, we find that your plan does not meet these criteria, any grant funds will be rescinded.