Support for PhD Students with Children

Penn provides significant support for doctoral students with families. In the words of former Provost Vincent Price: "You do not have to choose between having a family and pursuing an academic career."

According to the 2016 Graduate and Professional Student Survey, 11% or 1,200 graduate and professional students at Penn identify as having a child. In 2010, Penn opened the pioneering Family Resource Center, which includes a children’s playroom and family reading room, as well as two private and fully equipped lactation rooms (which are also available across campus). The Family Center is designed to provide a welcoming environment at the heart of campus for students with children, where families can meet each other, participate in activities, build networks across campus, and learn more about resources for schools, daycare, and other activities. The Family Center is located at 3615 Locust Walk, and during the academic year the Center is open Monday-Friday 9AM-6PM.

Support for PhD Students with Children

Doctoral students can take 8 weeks of paid leave for the birth or adoption of a child, or, if necessary, a longer unpaid leave. These leaves “stop the clock” on the student’s academic requirements.

The Family Grant Program provides need-based grants to eligible PhD students with children. The programs have recently been expanded to offset the costs of childcare and other expenses as well as dependent health insurance. Penn also provides subsidized emergency backup care for students with children and free memberships to Care.com so students can find additional caregivers. In addition, the University has been steadily increasing the number of lactation rooms across campus.

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