Graduate Student Parental Accommodation

Michigan Tech understands the importance of accommodating the needs of a graduate student who becomes the primary caregiver of a new child or children that join(s) the student’s family through childbirth or adoption. The Graduate School Graduate Student Parental Accommodation Policy provides assistance to students during a pregnancy, during a postpartum period, during an adoption process, or following an adoption placement. 

Who is eligible?

The Graduate Student Parental Accommodation Policy applies to graduate students who:

  • have new childcare or related responsibilities due to a recent or upcoming birth or placement of a child under four years of age in the home for the purposes of adoption;
  • are the primary caregiver for the child or children new to the home;
  • are enrolled full-time at Michigan Tech;
  • are in good academic standing;
  • have completed at least one full-time semester at Michigan Tech.

If both parents are enrolled as graduate students, only one will normally be eligible for parental accommodation. Requests for consideration of an accommodation for both parents must be made in writing to the dean of the Graduate School a minimum of six weeks before the planned parental accommodation period. If the request is approved, both parents must then submit a formal application for parental accommodation.

International graduate students who are attending Michigan Tech full-time with a student visa or exchange visitor visa are encouraged to consult with International Programs and Services about their plans during the parental accommodation period to ensure compliance with immigration regulations.

What are the benefits?

Graduate students who apply for and are granted a parental accommodation can receive one or both of the following benefits:

  • An excused absence from courses, research, teaching assignments, or other Michigan Tech responsibilities for a period of up to six weeks.  The excused absence may begin up to three weeks prior to either a birth or placement of child or children of under four years in age in the home for purposes of adoption. In the event of multiple births or placements for adoption that occur within a one-year time frame, the period of the combined excused absence remains at six weeks total. The excused absence will end and students are expected to return full-time to their graduate responsibilities after the six-week parental accommodation period. Students unable to complete course requirements due to the excused absence will be given an incomplete (“I” grade) for that course by the course’s instructor of record. Students receiving “I” grades will need to work with the instructor of record for that course to identify a plan to complete all requirements for the course within three semesters in residence. 
  • A one-semester extension in her/his time-to-degree limit, deadline for completion of a qualifying exam, and deadline for completion of a proposal defense.  Other deadlines and academic expectations may also be modified as part of the parental accommodation by the student’s academic home department. Any and all requests for modifications of deadlines should be documented in writing on the student’s Graduate Student Parental Accommodation Request Form. Any and all requests must be approved by the dean of the Graduate School in advance of the parental accommodation period. Students requesting a parental accommodation should be aware that requests for an extension of a deadline will not be granted if the deadline has already passed. In the event of multiple births or placements for adoption, students are eligible for a maximum of a one calendar year extension of deadlines.

How do I apply?

Those responsible for ensuring that your research or teaching being conducted is carried out must be informed in a timely manner of your need for parental accommodation and must be involved in the planning for your parental accommodation in order to ensure that necessary work is carried out even if you must be absent for a period of time. 

In order to apply for parental accommodation:

  • Complete and print a Graduate Student Parental Accommodation Request Form.
  • Obtain all of the necessary signatures which includes your advisor, Graduate Program Director and/or academic home Department Chair or School Dean, and the Principal Investigator (if applicable) on any research projects that you are receiving funding from.
  • Submit your request form at least one month in advance of the proposed parental accommodation period to the dean of the Graduate School.

By signing the form, the signatories certify that the student has discussed his or her situation with them. Signatures further indicate that a plan is in place to ensure that the student’s teaching and/or research responsibilities will be managed during the student’s excused absence and that the student’s plan for completion of the degree has been modified to account for the excused absence. Exceptions for the one-month advance notice requirement will be allowed only in cases involving a medical emergency. Documentation of a medical emergency must be provided in the form of a letter from a health-care provider to the dean of the Graduate School. 

Will this affect my current funding?

The intention of the policy is for supported students (internally or externally) to continue to receive their regular financial support and in no case will you be penalized financially during the period of accommodation.

During the six-week period you will continue to be enrolled as a full-time student and will continue to pay tuition. 

Support for Temporary Replacements for Graduate Teaching or Research Assistants 

Funding may be available from the Graduate School to Department Chairs, School Deans, Graduate Program Directors, and Principal Investigators who must hire a temporary replacement for a student who has been granted an excused absence under the Parental Accommodation Policy.  Funding will be provided when:

  • A student is funded through an external funding source which disallows payment to graduate students who reduce their time commitment or are absent under the circumstances covered by the accommodation policy.
  • A sponsored project will suffer problematic delays due to the student's accommodation.
  • A department or program has no option to cover a student's teaching responsibilities other than to hire an additional part-time graduate student.

Funding may be requested by submitting a Graduate Student Parental Accommodation Funding Request Form.

How do I know if my request was granted?

The dean of the Graduate School will review submitted applications and will make the final determination about whether or not a student is eligible for parental accommodation. All students who meet the eligibility requirements will be granted the parental accommodation.

How can I find out more information?

Students who find themselves in situations that are not fully addressed by this policy should consult with the Graduate School to determine if there are other options available to them. For example, students who experience medical problems associated with pregnancy or birth that require longer than six weeks recovery time may be eligible for medical leave.

Read the complete policy, talk to your graduate program directors, or visit the Graduate School for advice and more information.