UC Berkeley is doing it again: jumping to the forefront of supporting students who juggle academic work with parenting responsibilities. This fall, Berkeley will become the first public university in the U.S. (joining two very wealthy private universities) to offer both graduate and undergraduate student parents access to back-up child care at highly subsidized rates — enabling students to focus on study sessions or writing papers, or to travel to attend conferences or give presentations when their usual caregiving arrangements are unavailable.
The pilot program — modeled on one which our faculty have found very helpful since 2009 — is associated with status as a registered student (not dependent on campus employment). Registered students with dependent children will be eligible for up to 60 hours per academic year of in-home and/or center-based care by professional caregivers, with a very low hourly co-pay.
This innovation at Berkeley was conceived by the Graduate Division and made possible by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Student Services and Fees (CACSSF) and a generous donation from the Hutto Patterson Charitable Foundation. Graduate Assembly and ASUC members of CACSSF endorsed our proposal, and Chancellors Robert Birgeneau and Nicholas Dirks approved the recommendation. Catherine Hutto Gordon, president and trustee of the Hutto Patterson Charitable Foundation and a Berkeley alumna, was pleased to support this student-family-friendly program.
Graduate Division is partnering with the Student Parent Center to get the word out to undergraduates as well as graduate students. Watch for further announcements and more details in mid-August. Please be sure that your student registration status will be current; then register for the program right away. The pilot’s capacity is limited, so it will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis as long as funds last.
Meanwhile, graduate students can review existing policies and programs designed to support the parents among us, summarized in the publication we call Families Matter.
I hope everyone’s summer is going well!
Andrew J. Szeri
Vice Provost for Graduate Studies
Dean of the Graduate Division
Professor of Mechanical Engineering