Subsidy Program FAQs

The Student Parent Child Care Subsidy program is funded by The Pennsylvania State University and helps qualifying, low-income student parents sustain their educational efforts by paying a portion of their child care costs and encouraging them to select high quality child care.

How do I know if I am eligible?

Subsidy may be available to any undergraduate or graduate student-parent whose taxable income does not exceed 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines. We have calculated the 200% current year cutoffs below:

Federal Poverty Guidelines
Household Size Gross Annual Income
2 $32,480
3 $40,840
4 $49,200
5 $57,560
6 $65,920
7 $74,280
8 $82,640

Other eligibility requirements include:

  • Student-parents must be enrolled in a degree program and attending one of the 19 of Penn State’s undergraduate campuses (currently, World Campus students are not eligible).
  • Pell grant recipients, Veterans and 1st generation college students are granted funding priority.
  • If not enrolled in school, student-parent’s spouse/ partner must be working at least 20 hours a week (work waivers are available upon request for situations of spouse disability or not legally eligible to work. Please contact for work waiver).
  • Student-parents must be paying the Student Activity Fees as UPAC provides funding to support the program.

Can I submit my application anytime?

No. Applications must be submitted prior to each academic term. Please refer to the application timeline on our homepage.

What documents need to be included for application?

Please provide copies of the following documents. Applications will not be processed until all documents are received.

  • Previous year tax return (if not required to file, please contact our office for necessary documentation)
  • Course schedule
  • Tuition Bill (for the semester you are applying)
  • Financial Aid Report (if applicable)
  • 1 month of paycheck stubs for working spouse/ partner
  • Graduate Assistantship Letter (if applicable)
  • Current Application

Note: If you have applied for/received subsidy in the past, you will need to submit a new application and documents every semester for consideration.

What types of child care services are covered?

Student-parents may use subsidy to assist with the cost of full-time child care, part-time child care, before and after school care, and summer term care.

How many of my children will be covered by my award?

A student-parent is only permitted to receive one award for up to two children even if two parents are enrolled at Penn State.

Can I use any child care provider?

You may use any child care provider that meets the following requirements:

  1. They must have a Child Care Provider Agreement on file.
  2. They must be licensed by the PA Department of Public Welfare
  3. They must be accredited. If they are not accredited,  the child care provider must be a participant of the Keystone Stars program with a star rating of at least 2, and have a plan to obtain NAEYC accreditation within 3 years.

How much subsidy will I receive?

Qualifying students enrolled full time will receive up to 75% of their semester child care cost covered. Qualifying students enrolled part time will receive up to 50% of their semester child care cost covered.

How is my award calculated?

Subsidy awards will be calculated based on:

  • Currently available funding.
  • Weekly/monthly rates (as given to us by your specified child care provider) subsidized at 75%.
  • Distribution over the amount of weeks remaining in the semester you are applying (in accordance with your start date at the child care provider).

For example:

1. Regular Tuition Rate Given by Child Care Provider:
$801/Monthly Rate quote is divided by 4.33 (average weeks in a month) = $185/week


2. $185/week (weekly rate quoted by child care provider

3. That weekly rate is multiplied by 75% Subsidy Award ($185 x 0.75) = $139/week covered by PSU)

4. Multiply by # of weeks (remaining) in the current semester x $139 = $2,224 Total Award 5. $2,224 is divided into payment equally over the months and/or remaining weeks in the current semester:

  • August - $444.80
  • September - $444.80
  • October - $444.80
  • November - $444.80
  • December - $444.80

Payments are made directly from the Child Care Subsidy Program to the child care provider. Student parent is responsible to pay the remaining balance(s) directly to their child care provider.

If student parent changes child care providers during the semester of subsidy, a new subsidy could be granted and re-issued. Recalculation will be based on the process above, available funding, the new child care providers stated rates, and how many weeks remain in the current semester.

If I receive an award, when will my provider receive payment?

Your child care provider will invoice Penn State on a monthly basis and payments will be made to them directly after the invoice is processed. You will pay only the balance after the invoice is processed between your childcare provider and Penn State. Payments are never made directly to the student parent.

What happens to my information if I do not qualify or my subsidy has ended?

Student records are private & accessible by the Subsidy Coordinator and Director of Early Childcare as necessary to confirm financial aid status, enrollment, GPA, and graduation data. If a family does not qualify or a student has ended his/her subsidy, records are stored in a safe, secure location for at least 4 years”