Grants for PhD Students with Families

The University has created 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 2019 Grant Program will open August 27, 2019. 

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 for one child, $2,500 for each additional child with a $10,000 maximum per family. The 2019 application will open August 27, the deadline to apply is October 11, 2019. Direct all questions to Jessica Bolker, jessal@upenn.edu.

Grant Timeline: 

  • Applications open the first day of the fall semester, August 17 and close on October 11, 2019
  • Awards are announced mid November
  • Awards are disbursed in December

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 2019.
  • Be currently registered in a Penn PhD program and in good academic standing during both fall 2019 and spring 2020 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 2018 U.S. tax returns and 2018 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 as a student account refund through Penn.Pay. This is a separate system from payroll, students need to set up direct deposit in Penn.Pay or they will receive a paper check in the mail. If you have an outstanding student account balance, the grant will be applied to your bill.
  • Grant recipients will be notified in mid November, the funds will be disbursed in December 2019.
  • 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 (particularly Direct Loans) this grant could reduce your loan amount.  If you are receiving loans and receive a grant you are responsible for contacting Student Financial Services for a budget re-evaluation, students can submit a request for a budget increase if they wish to receive their full loan amount and the grant. 
  • If you do not remain in good academic standing during the spring 2020 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.

Read how Penn respects and protects your data. 

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 2019 application will open August 27, 2019, the deadline to apply is October 11, 2019. Direct all questions to Jessica Bolker, jessal@upenn.edu.

Grant Timeline: 

  • Applications open at the beginning of the fall semester, August 27 and close in October 11, 2019
  • Awards are announced mid November
  • Awards are disbursed in December

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 2019 and spring 2020 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 2018 U.S. tax returns and 2018 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 as a student account refund through Penn.Pay. This is a separate system from payroll, students need to set up direct deposit in Penn.Pay or they will receive a paper check in the mail. If you have an outstanding student account balance, the grant will be applied to your bill.
  • Grant recipients will be notified in mid November, the funds will be disbursed in December 2019.
  • 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 (particularly Direct Loans) this grant could reduce your loan amount.  If you are receiving loans and receive a grant you are responsible for contacting Student Financial Services for a budget re-evaluation, students can submit a request for a budget increase if they wish to receive their full loan amount and the grant. 
  • If you do not remain in good academic standing during the spring 2020 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.

Read how Penn respects and protects your data. 

Grants for Students with Financial Need
Penn offers a number of funding sources to support individual students with financial need. These include:

  • Insurance Grants for PhD Students
    The University offers two grant programs for PhD students to help offset the cost of health insurance and dental insurance. These grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Graduate Student Center and the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services.

  • Trustees’ Council of Penn Women Emergency Grant
    The Trustees' Council of Penn Women will offer grants to students who have special financial needs. Special consideration will be given to women students. Grants will be for sudden, compelling, and unanticipated need due to changed financial circumstances. Examples include the death or unemployment of a parent or illness. These students would be unable to continue their studies without special financial assistance. Students should demonstrate resourcefulness and self-reliance in their quest for a Penn education, and their qualities should identify them as role models for other University students.
     
  • VPUL & SFS Emergency & Opportunity Funding
    Unexpected financial circumstances can cause undergraduate, graduate, and professional students stress and impact their ability to achieve and thrive. The Division of the Vice Provost for University Life's Access and Retention Fund provides one-time Emergency Funds or Opportunity Grants to help low-income and/or first-generation students participate in experiences they otherwise cannot afford.

  • Career Services summer funding for internships
    Many summer internships, particularly in certain fields, provide only a small stipend or do not pay at all. Frequently the internships are located in cities with a high cost of living. This means that many students are unable to take advantage of excellent positions, which are sometimes the first step on a career in a given field. Other students wish to participate in not for profit or NGO work abroad, or to do a research project, but the travel costs to get there are prohibitive.

  • Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Support Award ​​​​​
    The Patsy Takemoto Mink Education Foundation will offer five Education Support Awards of up to $5000 each to assist low-income women with children who are pursuing education or training. Awardees will be selected based on: Financial need, personal circumstance, educational path, vocational or occupational goals, and service or activist or civic goals.