Dependent Care Professional Travel Fund Program

Tenured, tenure-track, and research assistant professors, associate professors, and professors are eligible for an internal grant to defray incremental, out-of-pocket expenses incurred for dependent care while traveling for work activities such as attending professional conferences and workshops or conducting research. The fund will reimburse dependent care costs (e.g., babysitting) for a dependent to stay at home OR travel expenses for the dependent and dependent care costs for a local caregiver when you travel. Currently, the Dependent Care Professional Travel Fund Program (DCPTG) applies to institutional funds only, the use of sponsored programs (44-funds) for reimbursement is unallowable. Funds are limited and will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.

For purposes of this program, dependents are defined according to 26 U.S.C. 152. Dependents are typically defined as children or parents for whom the faculty member is the primary caregiver. Covered expenses include dependent care (providing, not supplementing) at home, the cost of transporting the dependent and/or the caregiver to the meeting, and/or on-site dependent care at the event. Each individual can accumulate a total of $500 in funding per fiscal year (July – June). Funds can be used to cover dependent care costs for more than one lot of professional events per academic year up to the maximum. These funds are considered taxable income and will be paid as additional compensation, and included on the monthly paycheck.

Eligibility

In order to be eligible for the travel fund program, you must fulfill each of these criteria:

  • You are an assistant professor, associate professor or professor.
  • Your dependent care needs are incurred as a result of attending a professional conference, seminar, meeting, or workshop or as a result of travel to conduct research.
  • You are the primary caregiver for this dependent (a dependent is typically defined as a child or parent).

Funds may be used for either child or adult dependent care, in order to cover expenses incurred for:

  • Extra dependent care at home while the recipient is traveling.
  • On-site dependent care while at a conference or meeting.
  • Transportation of dependent and/or caregiver to conference or meeting location.

Examples of Allowable Uses of Funds

Below are a few examples of situations in which the funding would be allowable to cover incremental dependent care costs. These examples are meant to be illustrative, not exhaustive. If you have questions about whether a particular situation or faculty type is covered under the terms of the policy, please contact ccarlso2@niu.edu for clarification.

  • Example 1: In order to present their work at a conference, the faculty member must travel and stay overnight. No home care for their children is available, so the children will travel with them. The faculty member could apply to the DCPTG program to cover the airfare for their children as well as the cost of on-site day-care available at the conference.
  • Example 2: In order to present their work at a conference, the faculty member must travel and stay overnight. No home care for their children is available, so the children and a local caregiver will travel with them. The faculty member could apply to the DPCTG program to cover the airfare for their children and local caregiver, as well as the cost of daycare during the conference.
  • Example 3: The faculty member will travel overnight to a conference and could arrange with the daytime caregiver to stay overnight with their children at home. The faculty member could apply to the DCPTG program to cover the incremental cost of the overnight stay with their children.
  • Example 4: The faculty member, who ordinarily provides care for their father in their home, plans to attend the annual conference of a professional association in their field. The faculty member could apply to the DCPTG program to hire a caregiver to stay with their father during their planned absence.

Reimbursement

Fund requests must be made at least one month in advance of the event. Once documentation has been submitted, reimbursement will be received as additional pay as part of the next monthly payroll. The reimbursement will be treated as taxable compensation, and taxes will be withheld reducing the net amount paid.

To request funds, please complete the Dependent Care Professional Travel Fund Program Application and submit to Cara Carlson, RIPS business manager via email (ccarlso2@niu.edu) or campus mail (Lowden Hall 302).

To request reimbursement, please complete the Dependent Care Professional Travel Fund Program Expense Verification Form and associated documentation, within 14 days of returning from your travel to the RIPS Budget Office via email or campus mail for processing at the address noted above. Again, make sure to include all associated documentation with your submission.

Reimbursements not submitted within 14 days of returning from travel, will require approval from the vice president for Research and Innovation Partnerships.

Once the verification form and all documentation have been submitted, a reimbursement will be issued as a part of the next monthly payroll.