Preliminary Data on Childcare Cost Support for National Research Service Award (NRSA) Individual Fellows

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In April 2021, recognizing the high cost of childcare, NIH began allowing recipients of full-time National Research Service Awards (NRSA) fellowships to request support for childcare costs. Fellows could make these requests in new and continuation applications or as administrative supplements to existing awards. Each fellow is now eligible to receive up to $2,500 per budget period to defray childcare costs. Here, we share preliminary data on childcare cost requests and issuances.

NIH received 229 childcare requests in fiscal year (FY) 2021 and 357 requests in FY 2022 from NRSA fellows (Table 1). We issued 228 childcare cost awards in FY 2021, totaling $572,083, and 196 awards so far in FY 2022, for a total of $509,687. Table 1 shows additional data disaggregated by the specific fellowship grant type: F30, F31, and F32. Note, the FY 2022 data are as of July 22, 2022, and are likely to change before the end of the fiscal year.

FY 2021 FY 2022
Fellowship Type Application Count Award Count Awarded Dollars ($) Application Count Award Count Awarded Dollars ($)
F30 29 29  72,500 43 25  63,125
F31 72 72  177,500 104 54  137,500
F32 128 127  322,083 210 117  309,062
Total 229 228  572,083 357 196  509,687

This childcare cost benefit was also extended to all NRSA trainees last October, and we have plans to report similar data on its progress at a later date.

One of NIH’s main goals continues to be ensuring that early career researchers can successfully complete their training and fully participate in the extramural research workforce. These childcare cost awards, along with other family friendly policies, help to foster a well-trained and diverse biomedical research workforce. We encourage you to review the other available policies and initiatives (also discussed on this NIH All About Grants podcast) aimed at balancing work and family life for all biomedical researchers.

8 Comments

  1. Will the NIH consider adding F99 recipients to those eligible to receive childcare cost support? It was temporarily allowed (NOT-CA-21-053) but quickly rescinded.

    1. At this time, the childcare cost allowances are only available to NRSA training (T) and fellowship (F) awards. The F99 award is not part of the NRSA program. Options for expanding the program to other awards is under consideration.

  2. Is there a reason that the number of awards was so small (196/357) in FY2022? Did the applicants fail to meet some requirement?

    1. As noted in the post, the FY 2022 data are as of July 22, 2022, and are likely to change before the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2022). As more fellows become aware of this support, the numbers are likely to increase.

    1. At this time, the childcare cost allowances are only available to NRSA training (T) and fellowship (F) awards. Options for expanding the program to other awards is under consideration.

  3. I am a Mom of two, a PhD candidate in Health Behavior at UNC-CH and one of the F31 Fellows to receive this childcare cost allowance in 2021 and 2022. I am simply here to say THANK YOU! I’ve used the funding support to help cover summer camp and after-school care costs, affording me much-needed protected space and quiet time to work on my dissertation and research. I hope many more parents will benefit from this supplement in the years to come.

  4. As another person mentioned, allowing childcare costs would be so helpful to K awardees as well. I am a prior K awardee that had to leave academia due to childcare costs and relatively low salary in an area with a high cost of living. Junior faculty members with young children often struggle to make ends meet while trying to pursue career goals, and women like myself have no choice but to find other positions to support their families.