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.

2020-21 Application cycle: August 10 - September 18, 2020.   

*Please read the program details carefully as some changes have been made.*

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 2020-2021 application will open August 10, the deadline to apply is September 18, 2020. The application cycle has been moved up to expedite processing and disbursement time. Direct all questions to Jessica Bolker, jessal@upenn.edu.

Grant Timeline: 

  • Applications open August 10 and close on September 18, 2020.
  • Awards are announced in mid October.
  • Awards are disbursed in November. 

PhD Grant Application

Eligibility

Eligible doctoral students must:

  • Have a dependent child or children under the age of 18 or disabled living with them. In order to be considered, children must be born/adopted by the end of the fall semester.
  • Be currently registered in a Penn PhD program and in good academic standing during the period covered by the grant cycle. Students on leave (except family and medical leave) during either semester are not eligible. Only PhD doctoral students can apply.
  • Due to disruptions to the spring semester affecting student graduation dates, we are extending eligibility during the 2020-21 academic year to include students who will graduate in December 2020. 
  • Be enrolled in years 1-8. Students in year nine or beyond are not eligible.

Documentation

Below are the required documentation* items that must be submitted via the online application. Students will be prompted to upload the documents directly into the application after the initial information has entered. If you are uploading multiple documents per section, you should compress your files into a zip file. Have all of your documents ready when you begin the application. If you are unable to provide a required document you must provide a written explanation of its absence. 

  • Copies of the 2019 U.S. tax returns for student and spouse (if filing separately)
  • 2019 W2s for student and spouse/partner. (Penn W2s for 2019 can be accessed here.)
  • Copies of the most recent two pay stubs for all working adults in the household. (Stipend and campus employment pay stubs can be found in Workday.
  • If applicable, proof of childcare expenses for dependents, in the form of daycare/childcare invoices, cancelled checks, and/or money transfer receipts 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.

Grant Considerations

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. Do note, due to the economic impact of COVID-19, we are anticipating a larger pool of high-need applicants, as a result, families with higher household incomes may not receive awards as they have in previous grant cycles. 
  • Grants are awarded in the range of $500-$10,000.
    •  $5,000 for one child, $2,500 for each additional child with a $10,000 maximum per family.
  • 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 October, the funds will be disbursed in November 2020.
  • 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 currently borrowing federal student loans (particularly Direct Loans) this grant could reduce your loan amount for this academic year.  Students should contact 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 in addition to the grant.
  • Applicant funding status and fellowship stipend amounts will be verified with graduate groups and school finance administrators. You are responsible for notifying us if your funding status changes during the period covered by the grant. 
  • If you do not remain in good academic standing during the spring 2021 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.

How to Apply 

  • Complete the online application 
  • Submit required documents, see above. 

Please have digital copies of all relevant documentation ready before you begin this application.  Failure to provide all necessary documentation will result in delays reviewing your application or rejection of application. You may be asked to provide additional documentation or information needed to evaluate your application. 

*We are 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. 

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 2020-2021 application will open August 10, the deadline to apply is September 18, 2020. The application cycle has been moved up to expedite processing and disbursement time. Direct all questions to Jessica Bolker, jessal@upenn.edu.

Grant Timeline: 

  • Applications open August 10 and close in September 18, 2020
  • Awards are announced mid October.
  • Awards are disbursed in November.

PhD Grant Application

Eligibility

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 period covered by the grant cycle. Students on leave (except family and medical leave) during either semester are not eligible. Only PhD doctoral students can apply.
  • Be enrolled in years 1-8. Students in year nine 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.

Documentation

Below are the required documentation* items that must be submitted via the online application. Students will be prompted to upload the documents directly into the application after the initial information has entered. If you are uploading multiple documents per section, you should compress your files into a zip file. Have all of your documents ready when you begin the application. If you are unable to provide a required document you must provide a written explanation of its absence. 

  • Copies of the 2019 U.S. tax returns for student and spouse (if filing separately)
  • 2019 W2s for student and spouse/partner. (Penn W2s for 2019 can be accessed here.)
  • Copies of the most recent two pay stubs for all working adults in the household. (Stipend and campus employment pay stubs can be found in Workday.)
  • Proof that you have purchased health insurance for your dependents/spouse. Document must include the amount paid for the insurance, this can be an invoice and must list the names of the family members enrolled in the plan. Dental and Vision insurance not included in this program. 
  • A benefits summary for the health insurance plan, unless it is PSIP. Benefit summary must outline what the insurance plan covers so we can verify it meets our insurance requirements. Dental and vision insurance plans are not included in this grant program.

*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.

Grant Considerations

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, they 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 October, the funds will be disbursed in November 2020.
  • 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 currently borrowing federal student loans (particularly Direct Loans) this grant could reduce your loan amount for this academic year.  Students should contact 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 in addition to the grant.
  • Applicant funding status and fellowship stipend amounts will be verified with graduate groups and school finance administrators. You are responsible for notifying us if your funding status changes during the period covered by the grant. If you do not remain in good academic standing during the spring 2021 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.

How to Apply 

  • Complete the online application 
  • Submit required documents within the online application, see above. 

Please have digital copies of all relevant documentation ready before you begin this application.  Failure to provide all necessary documentation will result in delays reviewing your application or rejection of application. You may be asked to provide additional documentation or information needed to evaluate your application. 

*We are 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. 

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.