Childbirth and Adoption Accommodation
I. Policy Statement
The Childbirth and Adoption Accommodation Policy is meant to acknowledge the demands upon new parents and provide them with the relief and support they need to successfully complete their academic programs. The policy provides enrolled graduate degree candidates in good academic standing who become parents during their regular period of enrollment or during DCE status a period of accommodation during which teaching and academic obligations are suspended. Administration of and revisions to this policy are the responsibility of the dean of the Graduate School.
II. Who is Affected by this Policy
This policy applies to all enrolled graduate students.
Regularly enrolled graduate students
Degree-seeking Ph.D. students are considered to be in regular enrolled status within the defined program lengths.
In absentia graduate students
Degree-seeking students who are pursuing degree-related work but not in residence for greater than half the term.
Leave of absence
The regular defined program length has been interrupted because the student is not pursing degree-related work.
Dissertation Completion Enrollment (DCE)
A Ph.D. student who has exhausted the defined program length, but is still making progress toward degree completion and retains an enrolled status. DCE status must be taken immediately after the regular enrollment period has ended and may be granted for a maximum of four consecutive semesters. Through the annual reenrollment process, a student must apply to move into or retain this status and have the approval of both the department and the Graduate School. A DCE student is enrolled and eligible for most benefits reserved for enrolled students, but ordinarily may not enroll in courses. A marginal tuition rate that includes the student health plan in charged for a student enrolled in DCE status. DCE status is recorded on the transcript.
The policy provides for two separate accommodations, and students may be eligible for one or both: 1) a 12-week suspension of academic work, and 2) an additional term of enrollment and an additional term of financial support.
Part 1: 12-week Accommodation
Students who become new parents either during their regular full-time enrollment period or during DCE and who are in good academic standing are eligible for the 12-week accommodation. During the 12-week accommodation, students remain in full-time enrolled status and continue to receive the same level of financial support they would otherwise have received if they did not take the 12-week accommodation. Students in their regular program length may also opt to take a Leave of Absence immediately following the 12-week accommodation should they need additional time with their family. Students in DCE status are not ordinarily eligible for a Leave of Absence.
In cases where both parents are enrolled graduate students at Princeton, only one is eligible for the accommodation.
During the 12-week accommodation period, eligible students in their regular enrollment period will receive a fellowship stipend paid at the university fellowship rate for students in the humanities and social sciences and at the university assistantship in research rate for students in the sciences and engineering. Students in DCE status will have the DCE fee covered by the Graduate School for the 12-week accommodation period. The Graduate School will continue to pay any financial support that students would otherwise have received from the Graduate School if they did not take the 12-week accommodation. Aside from the DCE fee, no additional or new financial support is provided by the Graduate School to students in DCE status during this accommodation. Students supported on external fellowships or awards are obliged to inform their funding agency and discuss the implications of not maintaining a full-time academic commitment. While many funding agencies defer to institutional policies, some have well-defined guidelines of their own. In those cases, the rules of the granting agency prevail. Finance and Administration at the Graduate School will be available to assist in these discussions. If fellowship benefits are suspended or deferred during this period, and the appropriate documentation is submitted, the Graduate School will assume funding responsibility at the rates noted above for students still in the regular program length.
Birth mothers are eligible for a 12-week accommodation from the date of birth of the child. An earlier date may be arranged if deemed medically necessary and approved by the Graduate School.
Also eligible for the 12-week accommodation is any parent who assumes primary caregiving for a newborn infant or newly adopted pre-school child from the date primary caregiving responsibilities begin up to a maximum of 12 weeks from birth of newborn infant or date of placement of adopted pre-school child. To meet the definition of primary caregiver you must either be a single parent, or a parent whose spouse or partner has returned to full-time employment, or a parent whose spouse or partner is not capable of providing full-time care for the child.
Part 2: Extra Term Accommodation
This part of the accommodation will extend the standard two years of DCE and is applied per child. For example, a parent who gives birth to or adopts twins would have one additional year (two terms, one term per child) of DCE enrollment. Students who received part 1 (the 12-week accommodation) during their regular period of enrollment are eligible to receive one term of additional financial support per eligible child during their DCE enrollment period. If other DCE funding is available (external or university), the childbirth accommodation funding will be paid in the first term or terms of DCE. If other funding is available, the childbirth accommodation funding will be paid after other funding options are exhausted. Childbirth accommodation funding (stipend and DCE fee) will be paid as fellowship at the current university fellowship rate for students in the humanities and social sciences and paid as research at the university assistantship in research rate for students in the sciences and engineering. Students who received part 1 during their regular program length may take the extra term(s) of enrollment separately from the term(s) of financial support. If students take the extra term of financial support in their first term of DCE status, for example, they would be eligible for the extra term of enrollment at the end of the two-year period and would be responsible for their own DCE fee and support.
Those students who received part 1 (the 12-week accommodation) while in DCE status are not eligible for an extra term of financial support, but are eligible for an extra term of enrollment in DCE status, should they need it. The Graduate School does not provide the DCE fee for the additional term of enrollment in such cases.
Master’s degree candidates in the Woodrow Wilson School, Architecture, Engineering, Near Eastern Studies, and Finance programs are not automatically eligible for an additional term of enrollment or support and will have their requests reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In consultation with the Graduate School, master’s programs may recommend an extension of program length (normally to allow master’s students to finish required coursework and design or research projects) for a term. Provision of financial aid will be at the discretion of the relevant school, department, or program.
Birth mothers who give birth during their regular full-time enrollment period (not DCE) are in all cases eligible for an extra term of enrollment and an extra term of financial support.
Any parent who assumes primary caregiving responsibilities for a newborn infant or newly adopted pre-school child for at least 12 weeks before the end of the regular enrollment period and within the first year of life or placement is eligible for an extra term of enrollment and an extra term of financial support. To meet the definition of primary caregiver you must either be a single parent, or a parent whose spouse or partner has returned to full-time employment, or a parent whose spouse or partner is not capable of providing full-time care for the child.
Any student who received part 1 of the accommodation during DCE status is eligible for an extra term of enrollment only. The Graduate School does not provide the DCE fee for the extra term of enrollment.
V. Procedures (if applicable)
Procedures for the Childbirth or Adoption Accommodation (Contact Elaine Willey with any questions.)
Students who anticipate requesting the accommodation should first meet with their adviser and director of graduate studies as soon as possible to plan for their time off.
A student requesting the 12-week accommodation must submit the Request for Suspension of Academic Work for Childbirth or Adoption form to the Graduate School no less than three months before the expected due date or placement date (for adoption). Note that exceptions to the three-month rule may be arranged only in cases of adoption with prior approval by the Graduate School. Any student who experiences an unforeseen change in circumstances requiring them to act as primary caregiver to a child, where it would not have been possible to apply for the accommodation three months in advance of assuming this role, is encouraged to contact the Graduate School as soon as possible concerning their case.
A student returning from the 12-week accommodation after giving birth must provide written intent to the Graduate School to resume full-time studies and provide written certification from the attending physician that she is physically able to resume full-time studies.
A student who was not eligible to request part 1 of the accommodation but wishes to request part 2 must submit a written request to the Graduate School no less than one month before the start of the caregiving responsibilities. The request must include the dates of primary caregiving, proof of birth or placement of adopted child, and a letter from the employer of the spouse or partner stating when the spouse or partner returned to full-time employment.
VI. Related documents /Pages/Forms (if applicable) Request for Suspension of Academic Work
VII. Roles and Responsibilities
Dean of the Graduate School
Oversees Graduate School policies and associated procedures.
Administers Childbirth and Adoption Accommodation policy and approves the suspension of academic duties.
Responsible for completing and submitting necessary paperwork for requesting the suspension.