In this brief, the authors explore how state-level decisions in New Hampshire and Vermont manifest in the early childhood education and care sector, through the lens of the interstate Upper Valley region. They demonstrate the significant differences in the reach and adequacy of child care financial assistance programs (“child care scholarships”) across state lines, with Vermont’s program setting family income eligibility thresholds higher and delivering higher-value reimbursements to child care providers than New Hampshire’s program. While scholarships are key for widening low-income families’ access to high quality care, they are not a panacea. Not all eligible families participate in child care scholarship programs. Those who do may still be required to pay substantial cost shares. Similarly, not all providers accept scholarships as payment, due to low reimbursement rates and administrative burdens. The authors identify key policy opportunities to strengthen scholarships’ impact, including expanding family eligibility, increasing reimbursement rates to providers, and encouraging providers to participate in scholarship programs.


Carsey School of Public Policy

Publication Date

Winter 3-7-2023


National Issue Brief No. 167


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



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