Support for Student Parents & Caregivers
Student parents make up about 10% of Berkeley’s graduate population. Berkeley is committed to supporting policies, programs, and services to help student parents meet their family care obligations while they pursue their academic goals.
The Graduate Council of the Academic Senate has approved academic accommodation policies designed to be supportive of graduate students with substantial parenting responsibilities.
Student Parent Policies
These policies govern accommodations that all faculty, departments, and academic programs must extend to graduate students. These Student Parent Policies are included in the Guide to Graduate Policy, the document governing all policies related to graduate education at UC Berkeley.
Graduate Student Parent Grants
Registered graduate student parents who live with dependent children and demonstrate financial need are eligible for a grant that may be applied toward housing/living expenses, dependent health insurance, child care, and/or tuition.
- To review the complete eligibility requirements and required application components, please visit the Parent Grant application page on Slate. The 2021-22 Student Parent Grant application will open after 5/1/2021 and will close on 8/31/2021. Award notifications will begin in mid-July and continue throughout August.
- Questions can be directed to the Graduate Division Fellowships Unit at firstname.lastname@example.org.
International students may apply for a need-based parent grant administered by the Berkeley International Office; see link from this page: http://internationaloffice.berkeley.edu/bio-aid .
Graduate Student Caregiver Grant
The Graduate Division has added a companion program to the Student Parent Grant, designed to provide assistance to graduate students who are the primary live-in caregiver for an adult individual. Examples of those eligible for this grant include graduate students who live with and serve as the primary caregiver for an elderly parent or other individual that may qualify as a dependent adult.
Read about the Graduate Student Caregiver Grant on Slate.
These grants may be applied toward housing and living expenses, dependent health insurance, and/or tuition. If funding permits, awards of up to $12,000 per year ($6,000 per academic term) will be made to eligible applicants. To be eligible for the 2021-22 academic year, a graduate student must:
- Live with and be the primary caregiver for a qualifying adult,
- File a 2021-2022 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and demonstrate financial need,
- Be making satisfactory progress in their academic program,
- Be no more than two years past “normative time to degree” in 2021-2022, and
- Remain registered during each term of funding.
Note: Students in self-supporting programs are not eligible for this program.
The 2021-22 Student Caregiver Grant application will open after 5/1/2021 and will close on 7/31/2021. Award notifications will be sent in August. To apply, visit Slate Application Login and submit your FAFSA: https://fafsa.ed.gov/.
Childbirth Accommodation Funding for Women Doctoral Students
Women doctoral students in good academic standing who hold a fellowship, a Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) position, or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) appointment, and who expect to give birth during the semester, can be excused from regular duties for a period of six weeks without loss of financial support. Funding will be provided to cover the student’s support or a replacement, as applicable. The student’s academic unit must submit the Petition for Childbirth Accommodation Funding for Women Doctoral Students (PDF) at least 30 days prior to the beginning of the leave.
Family and Childbearing Leaves for GSIs, Readers, and Tutors
Academic Student Employees (ASEs) are eligible for certain types of leave. Policies are governed by the UAW contract.
For more information, see the Leaves section of the current UAW contract.
Family and Childbearing Leaves for GSRs
GSRs are eligible for the following leaves, which may be combined for a maximum of six (6) weeks of paid leave during the academic year.
Childbirth Accommodation Leave: Six weeks of paid leave for pregnancy disability, childbirth, and related medical conditions; an additional two weeks of unpaid leave for baby bonding provided such unpaid leave does not extend beyond the date of appointment.
Other Leaves: Four weeks of paid leave due to the GSR’s serious health condition, to care for a family member who has a serious health condition, or to care for and bond with a newborn child or an adopted/foster child; the GSR may be approved for an additional two weeks of unpaid leave provided such unpaid leave does not extend beyond the date of the appointment.
Child Care Reimbursement for GSIs, Readers, and Tutors
Reimbursement for child care expenses, up to specified limits, is available to eligible Academic Student Employees (ASEs). For more information, see the Reimbursement Program section of the UC Berkeley Human Resources website.
Child Care Reimbursement for Graduate Student Researchers
Reimbursement for child care expenses, up to specified limits, is available to eligible Graduate Student Researchers with preschool dependent children and a 25% or more GSR appointment during the semester or summer session. Reimbursement requests should be submitted no later than the first day of the semester following the term for which the claim is filed. For more information, see the GSR Childcare Reimbursement Form (PDF).
Back-Up Child Care for Student Parents
Currently registered UC Berkeley student parents are eligible for highly subsidized in-home or center-based back-up child care for their children. Advance registration is highly recommended. For more information, see the Back-Up Child Care website.
Breastfeeding Support Program
Sponsored by University Health Services, the program includes no-cost breastfeeding classes. Personal breast pumps and kits are sold at cost. For more information, see the Health*Matters website.
More Resources for Student Parents
Early Childhood Education Program (high-quality early childhood services to more than 200 infants, toddlers, and pre-school children of students, faculty, and staff at several centers in Berkeley and Albany)
Berkeley Parents Network (a parent-to-parent email network, initiated by UC Berkeley graduate students for parents in the East Bay)
UC Berkeley Parents Slack Channel (an open Slack channel slack designed to help parents at UC Berkeley share advice and make connections)
The Pregnant Scholar This website helps ensure the success of student parents and seeks to advance women’s representation in STEM fields by providing user-friendly information and resources on Title IX for pregnant students and postdocs, as well as faculty and administrators. The site includes a wide range of tools, from introductory videos to in-depth best-practice guides.