Graduate Program Parental Leave Funding

Michigan Tech understands the importance of accommodating the academic and financial 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. At the same time, the Graduate School supports the academic, research, and administrative needs that may be compromised during a student’s leave. Supporting graduate programs who need additional workers ensures that the research, teaching, and administrative needs of programs are met and fosters an inclusive environment that supports personal and professional growth for faculty, staff, and students.

Policy Statement

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.

Policy Requirements

Graduate programs may need replacement workers while a graduate student assistant is on parental leave. While a student is on parental leave, the student will be paid from the fringe rate pool, per the Graduate Parental Leave Funding policy. This will generally make extra funds available to the graduate program’s assistantship budget or the sponsored program budget. In the event these funds are not available or are insufficient to hire a replacement worker, programs may request funds to support hourly replacement workers.

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).

Programs may request support for hourly wages or tuition-only support. Requests must be made two weeks in advance of the beginning of the student’s leave. Exceptions to this time-frame will be granted when the program does not receive two weeks notice of the leave start date.  Requests will be considered when one or more of the following conditions are met:

  • The graduate program can demonstrate that the funds released while the student is on leave are insufficient to hire sufficient replacement worker(s), or
  • The sponsor does not allow budget modifications that would enable the PI to redirect funds to replacement workers, or
  • The program can demonstrate unusual extenuating circumstances that require additional funds.

The Graduate School will review all requests and will approve requests that meet the criteria listed above when funds are available. The Graduate School may provide funding as hourly wages or tuition-only support (a work requirement can be made) depending on the availability of funds and the program’s request.


This policy applies to graduate programs who need additional temporary workers while a graduate student funded by an assistantship is on parental leave. Programs need to be aware of the students requiring leave and the staffing needs that arise from that leave.

Related Policy Information

The following policies should be consulted:


Funding for replacement workers that meet the following criteria are excluded from this policy:

  • Undergraduate students on parental leave
  • University employees enrolled in graduate courses on parental leave
  • Graduate students who are funded by other funding mechanisms, such as external fellowships or hourly employment on campus, including hourly teaching assistant positions that are not eligible for the University health insurance subsidy.


  • Graduate student assistantship – a teaching, administrative, or research assistantship paid through the University and eligible for the University health insurance subsidy
  • Parental leave - a leave approved by the Graduate School for students who become caregivers of a child or children during their graduate studies.
  • Tuition-only support - Support that provides tuition to students in exchange for a defined set of tasks.
  • Hourly wages - Funds provided to pay temporary workers on an hourly basis.


  • Graduate student - Must apply for parental leave and communicate with the Graduate School about their leave start date.
  • Graduate School – Must notify the graduate program assistant, graduate program director, and advisor of the leave start date, coordinate support questions with the graduate program, and work in consultation with the graduate program to resolve any issues that arise.
  • Graduate Program/Advisor - Must demonstrate the need and request funds for replacement workers.


  • Revised: 06/08/2022; changes included clarifying when programs can request funds.
  • Adopted: 2010