NIH has recognized how the high cost of childcare can create roadblocks for graduate students and postdocs on the way to completing their training. The agency recently announced (NT-OD-21-074) that effective April 8, 2021, those that hold a NRSA fellowship may request up to $2,500 annually to defray childcare costs.

ELIGIBILITY

An NRSA fellow is eligible to receive $2,500 per budget period for costs for childcare provided by a licensed childcare provider. If both parents are NRSA fellows, each parent is eligible to receive $2,500. (The amount is per fellow, not per child; no matter how many children you have, you get the same amount.) Per the announcement, the costs are allowed for dependent children under 13 living in the parent’s home, or disabled children under 18. The funds will not apply to costs for eldercare or for care of non-dependent children.

POLICY DETAILS

The fellow must keep, and provide to NIH if requested, all documentation of related expenses and proof that the childcare provider is licensed. These costs are not tied to payback obligations.

HOW TO APPLY

So how do you request these funds? It depends on whether you’re requesting the funds through a new application, renewal (progress report), or administrative supplement. Below are highlighted instructions for each. And don’t fret. If the jargon overwhelms you, reach out to your institutional grant administrator. They will be able to make sense of it and provide you with guidance.

New Applications

Request via field 28b on the PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form for the first year using the information below.

  • Enter $2,500 for the Amount
  • Enter 12 for the Number of Months
  • Enter ‘Childcare Costs’ (without quotation marks) as the Type
  • Enter NIH as the Source.

For additional years, applicants should request the funds by including an “Other Attachment” document titled “Childcare_Cost_Request.pdf” (without quotation marks) on the R&R Other Project Information Form. The attachment must indicate the numbers of years and childcare cost amounts being requested. Applicants are not required to submit supporting documentation.

 Renewal

Current fellows may request childcare costs for future years via the Research Performance Progress Report (RPPR). In Section G.1 of the RPPR, fellows should upload a PDF titled “Childcare_Cost_Request.pdf” (without quotation marks). The attachment must indicate the numbers of years and childcare cost amounts being requested. Applicants are not required to submit supporting documentation.

Administrative Supplements

Does a fellow have to wait until their RPPR is due to submit a request for childcare cost support? No. Notice of Special Interest NOT-OD-21-070 allows current fellows to request an administrative supplement using the forms package with the Competition ID containing “ADMINSUPP-FELLOWSHIP”. The process follows the same instructions as a new application.

The request for the first year is made by entering the information below in field 28b on the PHS Fellowship Supplemental Form.

  • Enter $2,500 for the Amount
  • Enter 12 for the Number of Months
  • Enter ‘Childcare Costs’ (without quotation marks) as the Type
  • Enter NIH as the Source.

For additional years, applicants should request the funds by including an “Other Attachment” document titled “Childcare_Cost_Request.pdf” (without quotation marks) on the R&R Other Project Information Form. The attachment must indicate the numbers of years and childcare cost amounts being requested. Applicants are not required to submit supporting documentation.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT

The NIH anticipates a Phase 2 of this initiative in early FY 2022 that will allow for a similar support to be provided for NRSA-supported trainees (those appointed to training grants). So be on the lookout for additional information in the near future.

FAQs

For additional information on this new opportunity, visit the NIH’s Frequently Asked Questions website on this topic.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

What the F? An Introduction to the NRSA Fellowship

What the F? When to Submit a NRSA Fellowship

What the F? Reference Letter vs Letter of Support

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