If you are a UMass student caring for a child and need help with expenses for paid child care (including daycare, before/after school, school vacation care, summer care, and informal child care) you should consider applying for a child care subsidy. UMass Amherst students can apply for subsidies through three different child care subsidy programs - GEO, GSS and SPP. We can help you navigate which subsidy or subsidies to apply for.
SPP and CCAMPIS child care subsidy programs:
Student Parent Programs (SPP) offers child care subsidies to income eligible undergraduate and graduate students (including in-state undergraduate students enrolled in the University Without Walls degree completion program) through our CCAMPIS Program and our SPP Child Care Subsidy Fund. The CCAMPIS Program is unique in that once accepted, funding can continue with you while you complete your degree, so long as your eligibility does not change. In addition, the program pairs you with a dedicated staff member to connect you with additional resources and support to help you focus on your educational goals.
To qualify for our child care subsidies, student parents must be actively enrolled at UMass Amherst as an undergraduate or graduate student on a part-time or full-time basis and must meet the income eligibility criteria for program participants - similar to Pell grant income eligibility, determined through Financial Aid Services.
We encourage the use of high quality, licensed child care and primarily fund child care through licensed providers. While EEC licensed, or nationally accredited child care is recommended because of the inherent quality assurances involved, Family, Friends, and Neighbors (FFN) informal care can be an important component in covering gaps in your existing child care, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when child care options are limited.
FFN care will be considered an eligible type of child care for reimbursement purposes during 2020-2021 when the care is needed due to a family's
- health concerns
- loss of previously used licensed child care
- inability to secure licensed child care
- altered work or academic schedules that don't align with licensed child care options (i.e. night classes and labs, etc).
The revised guidelines for eligible care are as follows:
- state-licensed (or equivalent) infant, toddler, or preschool care in center based and group home based settings
- before and after school care
- summer programs and school vacation care
- organizational/center based extracurricular activities - in person or online
- FFN care when needed by the family due to one of the above criteria
- Tutoring, homework assistance and online instructional programming costs for school-aged children
Please note that while we will be offering subsidies for FFN care this year, the majority of our funding for child care subsidies will be limited to care provided by licensed or accredited providers as per federal funding restrictions.
To apply for a CCAMPIS / SPP child care subsidy:
First complete the general scholarship application through Academic Works here: https://umass.academicworks.com/
Once you complete the general application, you can find our child care subsidy application in Academic Works listed here. One application is for graduate students, and one is for undergraduate students - please be sure to complete the correct application.
Other child care subsidies for graduate student parents:
The Graduate Student Senate (GSS) subsidy program provides subsidies to income eligible graduate students with children under age 12. Online graduate programs and continuing education graduate students are not eligible for GSS subsidies. The GSS subsidy is unique in that some funds are set aside for licensed, documented child care expenses and some are set aside as grants to support low income graduate student parents regardless of child care arrangements. Please contact GSS with any questions email@example.com. If you are a GEO member, you may apply for funding from both GSS and GEO. For the most up to date information please contact GSS directly.
The Graduate Employee Organization (GEO) child care subsidy program provides subsidies for school-age dependent care to income eligible UMass graduate student employees working in a GEO-eligible position. The GEO subsidy is administered by the UAW/UMass Health & Welfare Trust Fund. For the most up to date information and to answer any questions please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Resources for students seeking other financial assistance
Student Parent Programs Family Grant
UMass student parents may apply for a Family Grant for non-child care related unexpected expenses that would negatively impact academic progress. SPP Family Grants are provided in the form of a scholarship and dispersed via student bursar accounts. Family Grants are awarded per household, up to $1000 per academic year (max. $500 per semester.) See here for more information about and to apply for a Student Parent Programs Family Grant.
The Dean of Students Office connects UMass students to the support, resources, and referrals they need to be successful, acts as a single point of contact for families in crisis, and advocates on behalf of students. Visit the single stop resource page for assistance with housing, food insecurity, finances, legal questions, employment, and more. They also offer a Short Term Loan Program and an Undergraduate Student Emergency Grant Fund intended to assist students in unexpected, emergency situations. Their friendly staff are available to help answer questions at (413) 545-2684.
Student Affairs and Campus Life manages the Student Care Supply Closets which provide free toiletries and household items to students who are facing economic insecurity and/or an unexpected financial emergency.
Information about non-university based sources of funding for child care:
Statewide Income Eligible Voucher Wait List
In order to receive child care subsidies you must place your name on the statewide "Income Eligible Voucher Wait List". NEFWC manages the wait list and provides vouchers for child care for income eligible parents throughout Western Massachusetts.
To find out if you qualify for a voucher, or to be placed on the Income Eligible Voucher Wait List, click here to fill in and email, fax or mail us the form. If you are placed on the wait list, you will receive a letter of confirmation in the mail; and you will receive a renewal letter once a year to determine if you still qualify and would like to remain on the wait list. You must notify them if your address or phone number changes. When a slot becomes available, you will be notified.
Springfield (Hampden County) area phone number: 413.272.2207
Pittsfield (Berkshire County) area phone number: 413.236.5890
Greenfield (Hampshire/Franklin Counties) area phone number: 413.475.3656
Group Child Care Centers & Out of School Time Programs
Many group child care centers and out of school time programs receive Department of Early Education and Care funding to help parents with the cost of child care for eligible families. Some may also have United Way funding or discounts for Military Families. As you call the programs to ask if they have an opening for your child, also ask if they have funding to help pay for the care.
Head Start Programs
Head start is a federally funded program with full and/or part time hours that serve preschool-age children and their families. Many Head Start programs also provide Early Head Start, which serves infants, toddlers, pregnant women and their families who have incomes below the federal poverty level. Head Start programs provide comprehensive services to enrolled children and their families, which include health, nutrition, social services and other services determined to be necessary by family needs assessments. See the list below for contact information in your area.
Berkshire County Head Start
1 Meadow Lane, Pittsfield, MA 01201
Part time programs throughout the Berkshires 413.499.0137
Full time programs - Pittsfield 413.445.4153
Full time programs - North Adams 413.664.7932
Community Action - Parent Child Development Center
393 Main Street, Greenfield, MA 01301
All of Hampshire County 413.387.1234
All of Franklin County 413.376.1117
Hampden County 413.654.1772
(Westfield, W. Springfield, Agawam only)
Holyoke/Chicopee/Springfield Head Start, Inc
Holyoke, Chicopee, Ludlow areas:
662 High Street, Holyoke 01040
Springfield, Palmer areas:
30 Madison Avenue, Springfield 01105
MOC Head Start Services
133 Prichard Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420
Worcester County 978.343.0185 (Athol area only)
 Source: Partners for Community