Since 2003, The Graduate School has been offering subsidies for Ph.D. students who have children that require childcare, providing up to $7,000 per student per year.


  • You must be a full-time Ph.D. student at Duke University.
  • The award ends when university affiliation ends or when the student drops below full-time enrollment.
  • In two-parent families, both parents must be in school, working, or seeking work outside the home.
  • The Childcare Subsidy will be awarded a maximum of five years. (Special exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis.)

Childcare Requirements

The subsidized childcare is expected to meet a specific standard of care. This will subsidize your child’s enrollment at a childcare center or a family childcare home. The facility must be rated at the three-, four-, or five-star level by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (check a facility’s star level), or be accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. (In light of current challenges regarding childcare options, The Graduate School is willing to consider special exceptions to the star-rating requirement on a case-by-case basis. Please contact Sondra Ponzi,


The subsidy will be allocated by The Graduate School according to financial need. Your income will be determined by your gross family income, including any child support payments.

A significant change in family income during the year will affect the subsidy amount. This would occur, for example, when a spouse who formerly did not work starts a new job or a working parent receives a significant salary increase. Parents are required to immediately notify should family income change so that the amount of subsidy can be re-evaluated and adjusted as required.

To Apply

Submit your application electronically to Sondra Ponzi at or by mail at

Sondra Ponzi
Duke University Graduate School
2127 Campus Drive, Box 90070
Durham, NC 27708

Your application should include:

  • Completed application form (PDF)
  • Federal income tax statement for the previous year (e.g., the 2016 tax statement if you are applying for the subsidy in 2017). If you are an international student who will not pay taxes, you must submit copies of bank statements and of home-country scholarship or support that they provided to Visa Services). Please white-out social security numbers on tax form(s) if you plan to email your application.
  • Financial aid letter for the current academic year. A letter from a department official, such as the director of graduate study, detailing stipend and fellowship support will serve this purpose.
  • One-page personal statement of need that includes any pertinent special circumstances. Incoming students should describe expected financial circumstances.

Note: On the application form, report family base salaries only, or earnings if self-employed. The amount should exclude any variable compensation such as overtime, bonus, or profit sharing payments. Please be sure to note monies you pay directly for tuition and fees, especially if that money is included in your stipend or fellowship paycheck, in the application. These monies will then not be included by the committee in determining net income.

All financial information reported will be kept confidential.


Sondra Ponzi
Office of Graduate Student Affairs
Duke University Graduate School