Access to Child Care Excellence, Services, and Support
The Ladder ACCESS Program is an initiative for ladder faculty designed to help tenured and tenure-track faculty meet their family care-giving needs while succeeding throughout their academic careers. It makes awards (ranging from $5,000 to $20,000, subject to required tax withholding) available to ladder faculty parents of children under the age of 6. The amount of the award depends on household income and claimed child care expenses are reimbursed three times a year. The program is administered through Harvard University’s Office of Work/Life.
Harvard offers separate child care scholarship programs for different employee groups. This program, developed for ladder faculty at Harvard applies to: Assistant and Associate Professors, full Professors (including HMS WLT tenured faculty), Assistant, Associate, and full Professors in Practice (GSD), Benjamin Peirce Fellows, and Convertible Instructors.
The next application cycle for the Ladder ACCESS child care scholarship will be available online via PeopleSoft Wednesday, February 1 through Wednesday, February 15, 2017 for currently employed tenured and tenure-track faculty who expect to have child care expenses before June 30, 2017. Look for an announcement email from the Senior Vice Provost, Judy Singer. Those who already applied over the summer of 2016 do not need to re-apply to this round.
Eligibility - The Ladder Access program is a childcare scholarship program open to faculty who:
- Are ladder faculty – Assistant and Associate Professors, full Professors (including HMS WLT tenured faculty), Assistant, Associate, and full Professors in Practice (GSD), Benjamin Peirce Fellows, and Convertible Instructors, and
- Have at least one child under the age of 6 in childcare (born on or after July 1, 2010), and
- Are on a regular Harvard payroll, and
- Have a gross household income of less than $175,000 for a single-child family (adjustments by the Office of Work/Life are made for single-parent households (less $10K) and for households with additional children aged under 13 years after the first child aged under 6 years (less $10K – up to three additional children)
Further eligibility requirements and answers to common questions can be found in the Ladder ACCESS FAQ: Rules & Eligibility Guidelines.
Required Documentation – before you begin:
The program uses a sliding scale based on family income to determine awards ($5,000 to $20,000, subject to required tax withholding). The application therefore asks you for information on your family’s anticipated income from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017 (Harvard's fiscal year). Before you begin the application, you may want to assemble the following documents for your reference. You will also be asked to submit copies of these documents after you complete the online application.
Paperwork can be dropped off or sent via U.S. mail and must be postmarked by Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Mailing/Delivery address: Ladder ACCESS program, Office of Work/Life, 114 Mount Auburn Street 4th Floor, Cambridge, MA 02138.
- Copies of spouse/partner paystubs from their two most recent pay periods, if married or partnered (self-employment or other formal occupations - student, formal volunteer position or caring for a disabled person, see below).
- Paystubs/documentation or estimations of income from any other paid work you and/or your spouse/partner will do from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017. This includes speaker's honoraria, royalties, etc.
- Completed, signed copies of your 2015 US federal income tax return (form 1040 or 1040A) (front and back - pages 1 and 2); OR, if your financial documents originate in a country other than the U.S., comparable documentation to demonstrate income. See here for example.
- If you or your spouse/partner had any non-salary income (e.g., honoraria, royalties), or if your spouse is self-employed, a copy of IRS Schedule C from the 2015 1040 form and/or if you have a non-zero entry on line 12 of the 1040 you will need to submit this additional tax form. See here for an example.
- If you or your spouse/partner had any rental or corporation income a copy of IRS Schedule E from the 2015 1040 form and/or if you have a non-zero entry on line 17 of the 1040 you will need to submit this additional tax form. See here for an example.
- If your spouse/partner is working but not paid, an affidavit of unpaid employment from the employer.
- If your spouse/partner is a student, verification of student status from his/her school’s registrar or other formal enrollment documentation.
- If your spouse is caring for a disabled person (or is disabled themselves), please indicate this in the "Special Circumstances" section of the online application. Only general health information should be given for confidentiality reasons.
How to apply:
The application is online via PeopleSoft (you will need your HarvardKey). Applying for the ACCESS program using the link below is simple:
- Please review the FAQ: Rules & Eligibility Guidelines before you begin applying.
- Once you have reviewed this, you can access the application by going to the ‘Self Service’ section of PeopleSoft and clicking on "Childcare Scholarship App" link (see link below).
- Assemble copies of the necessary documents and paperwork.
- Complete the online application and hit the 'submit' button (due by 11:59pm Wednesday, February 15, 2017).
- Submit supporting documents. Print the document checklist found within the application as your cover sheet. Paperwork packets can be dropped off in person or mailed (postmarked by Wednesday, February 15, 2017). Remember this is sensitive and confidential information, so if mailing we recommend using certified mail.
- Receive award notification and instructions for claiming funds.
APPLY NOW! through PeopleSoft (go to Self-Service -> Childcare Scholarship App)
If you have more questions, please see the FAQs contained within the FAQ: Rules & Eligibility Guidelines. You will find answers to question such as: Am I eligible? How much can I expect to receive? When can I expect to receive funds? What if my spouse/partner is unemployed? And much more.
A note on reimbursement payments:
The Ladder ACCESS child care scholarship is a reimbursement program – you will only be reimbursed up to your award amount OR your total costs if these are less than your award.
Once you have paid for your child care and submitted an online claim form for these child care expenses, funds are paid to you via your paycheck according to the reimbursement schedule outlined in #18 of the FAQ: Rules and Eligibility Guidelines.
Program reimbursement payments are considered additional compensation. This addition to your regular wages will be taxed at a higher percentage and represents amounts withheld for federal income taxes, FICA and FICA-HI, and Massachusetts state income taxes.
These awards are not “grossed-up” for tax purposes. Please see the following generalized examples:
Your award is $10,000 and you submit one online claim expense of $11,000 by the final deadline. It is approved and a payment of $10,000 is sent to payroll for processing. Your net amount, provided after required supplemental tax withholding will be approximately $6,000 in your paycheck.
Your award is $10,000 and you submit one online claim expense of $7,500 by the final deadline. It is approved and a payment of $7,500 is sent to payroll for processing. Your net amount, provided after required supplemental tax withholding will be approximately $4,500 in your paycheck. No more funds are reimbursed to you – you forfeit the unclaimed funds.
Your award is $10,000 and you submit one online claim expense of $5,000 by the first deadline. It is approved and a payment of $5,000 is sent to payroll for processing. Your net amount, provided after required supplemental tax withholding in the first paycheck is approximately $3,000. You do not submit any more child care expense claims. No more funds are reimbursed to you – you forfeit the unclaimed funds.
For planning purposes, it is helpful to understand the implications of supplemental tax withholding on these awards and reimbursements. Earnings reflect the gross amount awarded and paid. The net amount reflects the gross amount of the award less the legally required supplemental tax withholding. For additional information or questions, please contact Mary Christakis, Associate Director for Planning and Program Management, 617-495-2785.
The program is administered by the Office of Work/Life; feel free to email email@example.com or call 617-495-5933 with any questions.
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