Announcement of Childcare Costs for Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Institutional Research Training Awards


NIH began providing childcare cost support to recipients of full-time National Research Service Awards (NRSA) fellowships this past April (see this blog). We recognize that the high cost of childcare effects graduate students and post-doctorates funded through NRSA fellowships and can impact their ability to successfully complete their training and fully participate in the extramural research workforce. Since then, questions arose about when childcare cost support may be available to NRSA trainees.

We are pleased to announce that NIH will now begin providing childcare cost support to full-time predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees appointed on NRSA institutional research training awards. This is anticipated for awards made beginning in the first quarter of Fiscal Year 2022.

The NRSA childcare costs apply to each full-time predoctoral or postdoctoral NIH-NRSA-supported institutional research training award appointment. Each trainee is eligible to receive $2,500 per budget period for childcare costs provided by a licensed childcare provider.

We encourage those interested to carefully review the Guide Notice (NOT-OD-21-177) and visit the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.


  1. Nice idea. Maybe with the Covid-changed childcare landscape, may the institute should remove the wording/requirement for the childcare provider to be licensed. Childcare provided by “non-licensed” family members/network is just as important if not more important now. Leave it flexible for parents.

  2. Thank you for acknowledging the impact of childcare costs on grad students and postdocs. I’m curious–why did you set the amount at $2,500 per budget period when the average annual cost of childcare is over $9,000?

    1. Our goal was never to completely cover the cost of child-care, as our resources are limited. This amount was considered high enough to make a difference, but nonetheless manageable within the framework of many competing priorities.

  3. I am grateful for this child care support funding. I applied for and received this supplemental funding. Where I live, $2500 equates to one month of child care support (a nanny). A daycare would cost ~$1500 per month for one child.

    I am curious if trainees were surveyed by the NIH to assess their actual financial and child care support needs.

    In reality, my family spends $35+ per year on child care costs for one child: this is my entire paycheck + a large percentage of my husband’s paycheck (another trainee). I am lucky to have financial support from my parents, but I truly don’t understand how trainees who are less fortunate than I am are able to have children and pursue graduate or post-graduate training.

  4. There is a second structural disadvantage to NRSA holders that are parents. The NRSA generously provides an amount to be used for other incidentals. For example, paying for health insurance. As a postdoc I had higher health insurance costs because I had a family with children. While other NRSA awardees in my department had money left over to buy a computer or go to conferences, my higher health insurance premiums precluded that. I commend the NIH for taking initiative to help working parents. However, the disadvantages to having a family while working in academia run broad and deep. Even getting an NRSA as a parent is kind of a miracle. I hope this is a first step among many.

  5. Really appreciate this new funding from NIH, which helps me both financially and mentally.

    I agree with Anna’s proposal, probably NIH should lunch a financial survey for all trainees. Personally, I lived in a small college town with my wife and my kid. My wife is a graduate student with zero income and my kid is a “student” of University daycare. The monthly daycare is ~ $2100 and my salary is running out after covering daycare + insurance + home + utility. So there is nothing left for groceries and food. The good news is for us: we are not “the forgotten person” and received support from the University, now NIH. So thanks again for the additional support from NIH.

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