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Child Care Subsidy: Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Brown University Child Care Subsidy?
Brown University’s child care subsidy helps you pay for your child’s care expenses by granting awards of up to $5,000 a year, per child (up to 3 children),  per household. The subsidy covers child care for dependents between the ages of 0 to 6. This subsidy helps you explore options and find creative solutions to some of the child care challenges you may face.

How do I know if I am eligible for the Child Care Subsidy?
You are eligible if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a graduate student enrolled in a degree program at least half-time.
  • You are unmarried or, have a spouse who is:
    a) Employed at least part-time or
    b) A full-time student or
    c) Considered legally disabled or
    d) Unemployed but actively seeking employment. Your spouse must have legal work authorization to work in the United States. If applicable or in some circumstances, a work visa is required and must be attached as documentation.
  • You have a total household adjusted gross income of less than or equal to $100,000 per year as shown on your previous year’s 1040.
  • You have a child between the ages of 0 to 6 who is your legal dependent (as defined by IRS regulations), and for whom you are financially responsible in the upcoming year

If both parents are employees and/or students at Brown University, can they both apply?
If both parents are employees or students at Brown, only one parent can submit for a subsidy award. 

Why must my spouse be employed, a full-time student, disabled, or actively seeking employment for us to be eligible for the subsidy?
Incurred child care expenses are considered eligible expenses if they allow you and your spouse to work or look for work. If your spouse is unemployed at the time you expect to receive the subsidy, you will be required to provide a projection of income for the upcoming year if they are actively seeking employment. This amount can be based on the previous year’s tax return or an estimation of salary of their given profession. Spouses who are looking for work must have legal work authorization to work in the United States. If your spouse remains unemployed throughout the year, and doesn’t meet one of the other exceptions/conditions (is disabled or a full-time student), you will be ineligible for the subsidy funds.

How do I apply for the subsidy?
Graduate students with dependents are asked to complete and submit a child care subsidy application and supporting documentation by the October deadline. Applications after this date will still be reviewed on a rolling basis. Students are strongly encouraged to submit complete applications by October to allow time for application review and award processing.

Applications are not complete until all required documentation is included with your application and the package is submitted to University Human Resources at [email protected] (please send securely via Virtu). Incomplete applications, including any with missing documentation, will not be considered for the subsidy.

I will not have finalized the adoption of my child, or will not have given birth until after the October application deadline for this year. Can I still apply?
Graduate students who become parents after the October call for subsidy applications and meet the subsidy eligibility criteria should apply as soon as their child is enrolled in child care.

Can I apply before the birth or adoption of my child?
No. The child must be born or adopted, as well as enrolled in child care at the time of application. 

 What documentation do I need to provide?

  • The first two pages of your IRS form 1040 from the prior year and the first two pages of form 1040 for your spouse if filed separately.
  • A copy of a birth certificate or certificate of adoption for the child receiving the subsidy.
  • Work visa, if applicable, for a spouse who is unemployed but actively seeking employment. 

How do I estimate the cost of care?
To estimate your cost of care for the award year, review the child care expenses you had over the last 12 months. If you anticipate a change in the amount or type of care you used, adjust your estimates accordingly. If you anticipate a change in day care costs as a result of a rate increase/decrease and/or a change in your child care provider, adjust your estimates accordingly. 

How is the decision made on who will receive the subsidy?
Once an application has been received, it is then reviewed to ensure that the applicant, co-applicant and child meet the eligibility criteria.

Should I expect the same amount of subsidy money each year?
Students whose household income is less than or equal to $100,000 may receive up to $5,000 per child (up to 3 children),  yearly, if they meet the eligibility criteria each year. Graduate students must reapply for a subsidy award each year they are eligible. Subsidy amounts may also differ yearly if:

  • the eligible student experiences changes in household income or spousal employment status that would then make them ineligible.
  • the eligible student’s child’s age is such that they are no longer eligible for subsidy. (Support is for children 0 to 6).
  • the eligible student applies for a subsidy award after the new calendar year has begun (January-December) because the student became a parent and/or enrolled their dependent in child care at that time. In this case, the award amount may be reduced based on the time the complete application was received.
  • the graduate student completes degree requirements and is no longer enrolled as a student. For example, graduate students who have completed degree requirements mid-Spring semester and are conferred their degrees at May Commencement should only expect to receive the January installment. They will not receive the subsequent September installment. 

Is there a maximum total amount I might receive?
Yes. The maximum amount of subsidy funding that any household may receive is $5,000 per year, per child (up to 3 children).

How will I be notified about whether I’ll receive an award?
An email will be sent to the email address provided on your application. 

Can the subsidy be paid directly to my daycare provider?
No, awards will be issued directly to graduate students.

How will I receive the subsidy?
You will receive a taxable check in January and September. Your award will be added to your January and September paychecks. If you do not receive a paycheck, a check will be mailed to your campus box. If you are unsure about your campus box, please contact Payroll at 863-2361.

Does the subsidy amount show anywhere on my W-2 form and/or is it considered taxable income?
Taxes will be withheld from your check and reported on your W-2.

What should I do if I know I will not use all the subsidy money or if I leave Brown University this year?
Any balance you have left in award money that was received, must be paid back to Brown University. 

Where can I find out more about the subsidy or get help with the application?
Please contact Brown University Human Resources at 401-863-2009 or email [email protected] with any questions about the child care subsidy.