Carnegie Mellon University

Student Parental Accommodation Protocols

Providing holistic student support is a top priority at Carnegie Mellon. The protocols on this page are designed to support the parental needs of students and their families.

Students seeking any of the Parental Accommodations described below must register with the Office of the Dean of Students by contacting the office for an appointment by calling 412-268-2075.

Students are encouraged to register with the Office of the Dean of Students ninety (90) days in advance of the anticipated arrival of the child as applicable in the individual circumstance.  At the time of registering, students will have the opportunity to consult about resources, procedures, funding options and preparation for discussing academic accommodations with the student’s academic department.  Students should also consult with their academic advisors either before or in conjunction with registering with the Office of the Dean of Students.

Accommodations for Gestational Parents

The birth of a child is a significant life event that may require time away from academic pursuits for delivery and recovery from delivery of a newly born child. Students whose anticipated delivery date is during the course of a semester may need to take time away from their academic responsibilities. Carnegie Mellon students seeking time away are afforded two options as possible accommodation:

  • Short-Term Accommodation for Gestational Parents – A short term absence from academic responsibilities up to a maximum of six (6) weeks.  Short-Term Accommodation may be extended by two (2) weeks, for a total of eight (8) weeks, where a longer absence is medically necessary. Prior to the absence students must work with relevant university faculty and staff to adjust their course work, research, teaching and other academic responsibilities during the period of absence. This may include extensions of time to complete assignments, incomplete grades, and/or dropping courses, shifting research responsibilities and adjusting TA assignments. Students who take a Short-Term Accommodation will remain enrolled.

  • Formal Leave of Absence– A formal leave of absence under the Student Leave Policy. Generally, the Student Leave Policy permits students to take a leave of absence for a full-semester, mini-semester, or for the time remaining in the semester during which the leave is taken.  Students who take a Formal Leave of Absence drop all remaining courses for the semester and are unenrolled for the semester. International students must consult with the Office of International Education before considering this option due to visa implications.

Parental Accommodation for Doctoral Students  

The university offers a Parental Accommodation for qualifying doctoral student parents to include up to four (4) weeks of time away from academic responsibilities with continued stipend support. This accommodation can be utilized within six months of the birth or placement of a child through adoption, foster care or legal guardianship. Gestational parents may utilize both the Short-Term Accommodation for Gestational Parents and the parental accommodation.

Careful planning and consultation is necessary given the unique contexts and requirements of each student’s situation. Students will remain fully enrolled and will receive assistance in navigating the necessary planning and consultation processes.

Financial Assistance for Student Parents

Carnegie Mellon also offers the following options for financial assistance to students who become parents while enrolled:

  • Interest Free Loan Any student who becomes a parent is eligible to apply for an interest-free Parental Loan from the Office of the Dean of Students. 

  • Doctoral Stipend Continuation (Gestational Parents) – Doctoral students who are the gestational parent and who receive an academic stipend funded by Carnegie Mellon are eligible to continue to receive stipend funding for up to six (6) weeks during a Short-Term Accommodation for Gestational Parents or during a Formal Leave of Absence. Continued academic stipend funding may be extended by two (2) weeks, for a total of eight (8) weeks, if an absence longer than six weeks is medically necessary.  

  • Doctoral Stipend Continuation (Non-gestational Parents) – Doctoral students who receive an academic stipend funded by Carnegie Mellon and are becoming a parent by adoption, birth, or through guardianship are eligible to continue to receive stipend funding for up to four (4) weeks during a Short-Term Parental Accommodation. 


  • Holly Hippensteel
    Associate Vice President for Community Standards and Diversity Initiatives