Faculty Dependent Care Travel Fund

Please Note: To support the needs of assistant and associate professors during COVID-19, the purpose and eligibility criteria of this program have been modified for FY21.


COVID-19 Faculty Dependent Back-up Care Fund

Cornell’s Faculty Dependent Care Travel Fund program normally offers eligible faculty up to $1,000 per fiscal year (July 1st – June 30th) indirect expenses for qualified, short-term, dependent-care expenses due to eligible professional travel.

Given current restrictions on travel, the program has been temporarily modified to support faculty on the promotion track who incur back-up childcare expenses as a result of care disruption due to COVID-19 and whose care needs are incurred while:  

  • writing a grant proposal or meeting an external publication deadline that is due within 6 months from the date of the fund application.
  • teaching (virtually or in-person) when usual dependent care arrangements are temporarily not available due to COVID protocols or precautions. 

The purpose of the fund is to help alleviate the financial burden of a breakdown in dependent care incurred by assistant and associate professors who are either single caregivers or individuals in a domestic partnership/marriage whose spouse/partner is not available for back-up care due to work obligations or other extenuating circumstances. Faculty who have dependent children with special needs will be offered up to $1,500 to address the financial burden required in such special circumstances.

Funding for this program is limited and may reach the maximum budget prior to the end of the fiscal year. 


Qualifications and Eligible Expenses

Who qualifies as an applicant?

Benefits-eligible assistant and associate professors.

Who qualifies as a dependent?

A dependent is defined as:

  • a minor who resides with the applicant and for whom the applicant provides primary support (up to age 13) or
  • a disabled adult/elder who spends at least eight hours per day in the applicant's home and for whom the applicant has caregiving responsibility.

Which expenses will be eligible?

Covered expenses include dependent care provided in person or online. Recipients must certify that funds requested for dependent care are due to:

  • an upcoming grant deadline (specify the agency and due date of the grant),
  • a pending publisher deadline (letter noting the deadline), or
  • teaching (specify course number and times).

Faculty must submit information about the existing dependent care breakdown and about the grant/publication/teaching obligations. Examples: a link to funding agency deadline or an email from regular caregiver. In dual caregiver situations, an attestation of the spouse’s/partner’s unavailability must be provided as well.

Payment will be made after care is arranged, provided, and paid for. The Application Form and all receipts/documentation must be submitted by July 15, 2021 to be eligible for funds from the 2020-2021 fiscal year.  Failure to submit by the July 15, 2021 deadline will result in expenses being applied to the 2021-2022 fiscal year and will count towards the recipient’s $1000.00 cap for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. 

Is this considered taxable income?

Yes, awards distributed through this program are considered taxable income. Final award amounts up to $1,000 will be grossed up 25%.

Application Process

Complete the fillable PDF Application Form after expenses have been incurred. Send it and related documentation to sdb39@cornell.edu. Your application is private and will be reviewed by the Application Committee.  Applications are reviewed weekly and payments will be included in the next paycheck following approval.  Decisions regarding any award are final. Program provisions are subject to change from time to time, and the existence of the program is no guarantee of the availability of funds or the award of grants. For questions please contact Work/Life in Human Resources at worklife@cornell.edu.

The Application and all receipts/ documentation must be submitted within two weeks after dependent care has been provided. Applicants will be informed of the funding decision within two weeks of their submission.

Eligible faculty can submit more than one request (and receive more than one grant) within a given fiscal year, up to the annual maximum ($1,000).

Traveling in 2020-2021 for work purposes?

If you will be traveling within this academic year on university approved travel despite travel restrictions, you may still apply for the original Faculty Dependent Care Travel Fund. Complete the Application and Travel Verification Forms – send these files with related documentation to sdb39@cornell.edu. Awards issued under this program will count toward the maximum $1,000/year allotment.