Graduate Student Parental Leave

Michigan Tech understands the importance of accommodating the needs of a graduate student who becomes a caregiver of a new child or children that join(s) the student’s family through childbirth, adoption, or foster care. Furthermore, Michigan Tech respects the confidentiality of a graduate student’s caregiving responsibilities, and Michigan Tech will defer to the graduate student as to who is aware of the graduate student’s caregiving responsibilities and when those persons are informed.

The Graduate School Graduate Student Parental Leave Policy provides assistance to students during a pregnancy, postpartum, during an adoption process, or following a foster care placement. This policy makes it possible for students to receive time extensions for the completion of courses, exams, and other degree requirements (including the overall time to completion of the degree). This policy also makes it possible for students to be released from their teaching or research responsibilities for an excused absence period. 

In some cases, the individual may need to take time off for health reasons or may be unable to perform teaching or research obligations after the excused absence period ends. Such students should consult with the Graduate School for the appropriate process; this may include a medical withdrawal, other withdrawal, or a leave of absence. 


The Graduate Student Parental Leave 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 eighteen years of age in the home for the purposes of adoption or foster care and
  • Are enrolled at Michigan Tech.
  • Any parent in a given household is eligible to apply for parental leave.

This policy does not apply to:

  • Undergraduate students
  • Graduate students who are not enrolled
  • Students enrolled in non-degree seeking courses at the graduate level

Parental Leave Benefits

Graduate students who apply for and are granted a parental leave will receive both of the following benefits with the limitations as noted. The parental leave must be requested within the first year of birth, child placement or adoption.

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

Applying for Parental Leave

In order to apply for parental leave, graduate students must submit a completed Parental Leave Request Form at least four weeks in advance of the proposed leave period and no later than one year after the placement, adoption, or birth. Shorter timelines will be considered in extenuating circumstances. 

Once the application is received by the Graduate School, the student requesting the Graduate Student Parental Leave will be contacted by a Graduate School staff member to meet and discuss their rights and responsibilities. This discussion will include how to discuss the proposed timeline and expectations with their graduate program utilizing the Graduate Student Parental Leave Arrangements Worksheet.

It is then the student’s responsibility to discuss an appropriate plan for their Parental Leave with their graduate program. The student may choose to have a Graduate School staff member assist with the communication of their plan.

The Graduate School will review submitted applications and will make the final determination about whether or not a student is eligible for parental leave. All students who meet the eligibility requirements will be granted the parental leave. The student will normally receive a decision notification within 10 business days of receipt of the form.

The Graduate School will notify the appropriate parties about the student’s absences and extensions.

Parental Leave and Current Funding

Graduate students who are funded with a graduate student assistantship will continue to be paid the minimum stipend and retain tuition support while on an approved Parental Leave.

Please consult the full Graduate Student Parental Leave Funding policy for complete eligibility and details.

Program Support for Temporary Replacements

Graduate programs who need to hire replacement workers to fulfill a graduate student’s duties while a student is on an approved Graduate Student Parental Leave may apply for funding from the Graduate School. Funding requests will be reviewed by the Graduate School and approved when there are funds available and the program can demonstrate need for the funds.

In order to request funds, the graduate student being temporarily replaced must be on an approved Graduate Student Parental Leave and must be funded on a graduate assistantship eligible for the University health insurance subsidy (GTA, GRA, or GATA).

Please consult the full Graduate Program Parental Leave Funding policy for complete eligibility and details.

More Information

Students who find themselves in situations that are not fully addressed by this policy or who would like additional advice or information should consult with the Graduate School. 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.

Additional resources and related policies are listed below.

  • Pregnant and Parenting Student Resources – resources and policies provided by Michigan Tech's Title IX office.
  • The Pregnant Scholar – a Title IX resource outlining federally protected accommodations.
  • Dependent Care – A University policy that may allow for reimbursement of dependent care expenses above and beyond regular dependent care costs that directly result from travel on University business.
  • Childcare Center Locator – A national resource, and located on a health and resources page for the UP.
  • Lactation spaces on campus – also a map of places on campus to express milk or breastfeed.
  • Children in the workplace - University policy to ensure the safety of children in the workplace.
  • Medical withdrawal – withdrawal and leave for graduate students to take time off for medical treatment.
  • Withdrawal of students called to military service – policies to support students called to military service.
  • University withdrawal – for discontinuing studies during a current semester. Eligible students may withdraw from the current semester and apply for a leave of absence for future semesters.
  • Degree requirements – includes information about the time limit for the degree and required timings of the qualifying exam and research proposal examination.
  • Grade policies – includes information about the timeline to complete an incomplete grade.

Policy Definitions

Policy History

  • Revised policy approved 6/8/2022. Changes include length of excused absence for birth by c-section, addition of foster care, addition of a worksheet for leave arrangements, general clarifications, and excused absences for a primary and secondary caregiver
  • Policy adopted in 2010