Access to Child Care Excellence, Services, and Support
What is the ACCESS Program?
The ACCESS Program is an initiative to help tenured, tenure-track, and senior non-ladder faculty meet their family care-giving needs while succeeding in their academic careers. The program is open to parents of children under age 6 who are benefits-eligible faculty on a regular Harvard payroll in the following ranks: Assistant, Associate, and full Professors, Assistant, Associate, and full Professors in/of Practice, Assistant and full Clinical Professors of Law, Senior Lecturers, Associate Senior Lecturers, and Senior Preceptors .
The ACCESS program has two components:
Priority enrollment component. All ACCESS-eligible faculty are prioritized for enrollment at campus child care centers. Faculty can apply to campus child care centers through any one of the child care center websites. During the application process, ACCESS-eligible families are considered Tier 1A for enrollment. These faculty categories have preference for half of the slots in the child care centers operating on Harvard’s Cambridge and Allston campuses. Other members of Harvard’s community are also eligible for enrollment according to a tier system. If you have questions about this process, please contact the Office of Work/Life.
Scholarship program component. Subsidies ranging from $4,000 to $24,000 (subject to required tax withholding) are available to ACCESS-eligible faculty and who, in addition, have a gross household income of less than $200,000. These scholarships are portable and do not have to be used in conjunction with campus child care centers. A complete list of family income eligibility, eligible ranks and job codes can be found by using the links below and through the ACCESS FAQ: Rules & Eligibility Guidelines.
Child Care Scholarship Component
The ACCESS Scholarship component provides means-tested childcare scholarship awards. It is open to faculty who:
- Are in the following ranks: Assistant, Associate and full Professors, Assistant, Associate, and full Professors in/of Practice, Assistant and full Clinical Professors of Law, Senior Lecturers, Associate Senior Lecturers, and Senior Preceptors (among Harvard Medical and Dental School Faculty, only those based in the Quad's basic and social science departments and on a tenure clock are eligible. Faculty based in the Harvard Medical School-affiliated hospitals and research centers are not eligible),
- Have at least one child under the age of 6 in childcare (born on or after July 1, 2014), and
- Are on a regular Harvard payroll, and
- Have a gross household income of less than $200,000 for a single-child family (adjustments are made by the Office of Work/Life for single-parent households (including dual-career household arrangements) and for households with additional children aged under 13 years after the first child aged under 6 years)
Any awarded funds and the childcare itself must occur during the Harvard faculty member’s active appointment in an eligible rank.
Further eligibility requirements and answers to common questions can be found in the ACCESS FAQ: Rules & Eligibility Guidelines.
The program uses a sliding scale based on family income to determine awards ($4,000 to $24,000, subject to required tax withholding). The application therefore asks you for information on your family’s anticipated income from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021 (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.
Due to COVID-19 campus de-densification, supporting documents can only be submitted electronically or via fax. Please included a document coversheet.
To submit these documents electronically please use this link to access the secure email transfer program URL for your School, address it to the ACCESS Program Manager, and attach the documents.
- Do not use regular email to send these confidential documents.
- The secure digital fax machine can be reached at 617-495-4124 (it is stored digitally on a secure Harvard network).
- Your document packet must be received by 5pm, Monday, February 15, 2021.
- Copies of spouse/partner paystubs from their two most recent pay periods, if married or partnered (self-employment or other formal occupations - student, formal intern/volunteer/unpaid 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, 2020 through June 30, 2021. This includes speaker's honoraria, royalties, consultancies etc.
- Completed, signed copies of your 2019 US federal income tax return (Form 1040 pages 1 and 2 and the Schedule 1); OR, if your financial documents originate in a country other than the U.S., comparable documentation to demonstrate income. See here for an example of income documentation.
- If you or your spouse/partner had any non-salary income (e.g., honoraria, royalties, consultancy), or if your spouse is self-employed, a copy of IRS Schedule C from the 2019 1040 form and/or if you have non-zero entries on line 3 of the Schedule 1 you will need to submit this additional tax form. See here for an example of non-salary income documentation.
- If you or your spouse/partner had any rental or corporation income a copy of IRS Schedule E from the 2019 1040 form and/or if you have non-zero entries on line 5 of the Schedule 1 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 next application cycle for the ACCESS child care scholarship program will be available online via PeopleSoft February 1 – 15, 2021 for currently employed eligible faculty who expect to have child care expenses before June 30, 2021. Look for an announcement email from the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Development and Diversity.
The application is online via PeopleSoft (you will need to login with your HarvardKey). Applying for the ACCESS program using the link below is simple:
- Please review the ACCESS FAQ: Rules & Eligibility Guidelines before you begin applying.
- Once you have reviewed this, you can locate the application through your ‘Self-Service’ section of PeopleSoft. Click on the “My Benefits” tile, click on the “Child Care Scholarships” drop-down menu on the left-hand side, and select “Application” (see link below). You will need to login with your HarvardKey.
- Assemble copies of the necessary documents and paperwork.
- Complete the online application and hit the 'submit' button (due 11:59PM February 15, 2021).
- Please refer to the section above entitled “Required Documentation” for detailed instructions on submitting your supporting documents via secure email or fax. Documents should be submitted by 5:00PM Monday, February 15, 2021.
- Receive award notification and instructions for claiming the funds.
APPLY NOW! through PeopleSoft (go to “My Benefits” -> “Childcare Scholarship” -> “Application”)
If you have more questions, please see the FAQs contained within the ACCESS 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/furloughed or looking for work? And much more.
The 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 ACCESS FAQ: Rules and Eligibility Guidelines. Please note that reimbursements will be made on a more frequent schedule between January and June of 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and to ease the financial burden on families with child care scholarships from the ACCESS program. For those who have claimed their child care expenses online in PeopleSoft, reimbursements will now be made in February, April, and June of 2021.
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, is approximately $3,000 in your paycheck. 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.