Childbirth and Parental Accommodation

MIT graduate students have access (according to eligibility) to childbirth accommodation and/or parental accommodation (CBA/PA) when they give birth or receive a child into their home.

Students begin the process by submitting an Application for Accommodation to the Office of Graduate Education (OGE) 3-4 months before the child is expected to arrive. The student then initiates a conversation with their department about accommodations and OGE provides a final review and approval. Please see the OGE Families site for the CBA/PA application and additional family resources.

Accommodation elements

Academic & Research: An approved accommodation for CBA or PA will pause assignments related to class and or research requirements. The accommodation is intended to give birth parents time to recover from childbirth and all parents time to adjust to parenthood while allowing a seamless return to class and research. Departments and faculty will work with the student to reconfigure deadlines to accommodate the student’s time away. This includes developing plans for:

  • Alternative coverage for RA/TA/Fellowship responsibilities
  • Reasonable allowances for work flexibility leading up to the expected start date of the accommodation
  • Recalibrations for student program milestones including fieldwork, doctoral qualifying examinations, and publication deadlines.
  • Coursework Accommodations
    • When makeup work extends beyond the end of term, a grade of “O” should be assigned by the instructor, and the student should consult with their departmental graduate administrator and the Office of Graduate Education to convert the “O” grade to an “OX” (excused). Grades of “incomplete” are not appropriate if the accommodation is the sole reason for an extended deadline.

Financial: During the approved CBA or PA time frame, students supported by an RA, TA, or MIT-funded fellowship appointment will continue to receive the benefits of their academic appointment (tuition, stipend, and health insurance, if applicable) at the same rate their RA, TA, or MIT-funded fellowship would have provided through the Office of Graduate Education for RA’s and TA’s and the original funding source for MIT Fellowships.

  • Students with RA/TA’s: The student should recognize that it may not be feasible to return to a TA mid-assignment after the accommodation period; in this event, an alternative funding source will be identified by the department.
  • Students with external fellowships: must follow the rules and regulations of their granting agency with respect to accommodation from academic and research work. For assistance navigating your fellowship’s CBA and PA policies, please reach out to the OGE fellowships team. If the organization providing the fellowship requires suspension of fellowship benefits during the accommodation period, and appropriate documentation is provided by the student, the student will be eligible for substitute payment at the existing level of support from OGE.
  • Self-funded students: Those not supported by an RA, TA, or MIT-funded fellowship will receive the academic accommodations of accommodation, but are not eligible to receive financial support from the Office of Graduate Education. Tuition and fees will still apply. Students may reach out to their department to see what other resources/processes might exist.

Accommodation types

Childbirth Accommodation provides two months of academic accommodation starting on the date of the child’s birth. A full-time, registered graduate student is eligible for Childbirth Accommodation if they have recently given birth. Childbirth Accommodation does not apply to adoption, court order placements, or parents not giving birth. The birthing parent is eligible for Childbirth Accommodation and Parental Accommodation.

Parental Accommodation provides one month of academic accommodation that can be taken at any Parental Accommodation provides one month of academic accommodation that can be taken at any point within the first six months of the child’s arrival. A full-time, registered graduate student is eligible for Parental Accommodation if they are:

  • A student who has recently given birth to a child
  • A student whose partner has given birth to a child
  • A student has become a parent through surrogacy
  • A student who adopts or fosters a child under the age of 18 (or a child under the age of 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled)
  • A student who has a child placed with them through a court order who is under the age of 18 (or a child under the age of 23 if the child is mentally or physically disabled)

If each parent is an MIT graduate student during the first six months of new parenthood, then each is eligible for Parental Accommodation.

Accommodation start date & duration

Childbirth Accommodation begins on the anticipated date of birth and can be taken for up to two months. In cases where childbirth occurs prior to filing the petition, the accommodation will start on the actual date of childbirth.

Parental Accommodation is a continuous one-month in length that can be taken at any time within the first six months of the child’s arrival. As noted, a birth parent may choose to take Parental Accommodation following Childbirth Accommodation for a total accommodation of three months.

  • For the birth, adoption, or placement of more than one child (e.g., the birth of twins or multiple adoptions), a student may request one month of parental accommodation for each child. Stipend support however will only extend to one month of Parental accommodation in any six-month period; in this case, the student will continue to receive tuition support (and health insurance, if included in the original financial appointment), but an additional stipend will not be paid after the first month of Parental Accommodation.

Funding sources

Childbirth Accommodation: Eligible students approved for Childbirth Accommodation receive tuition and stipend coverage from the Childbirth Accommodation fund started in 2004.

Parental Accommodation: Eligible students approved for Parental Accommodation receive tuition and stipend coverage from the academic department or school level.

  • Principal Investigators may not accommodate a student on research grant funding while the student is away on Childbirth or Parental Accommodation.

To learn more about how the CBA Fund operates, please email grad-ed@mit.edu.

Approval & notification

Upon approval of the Childbirth Accommodation and/or Parental Accommodation request, the Office of Graduate Education will notify the student and the administrator listed in the application of the approval. Additionally, if the student is international the International Student Office will be notified of the granted accommodation period.

If a student wishes to appeal an accommodation request which has been denied, the student should contact the Vice Chancellor.

Continuation of services

Students approved for Childbirth Accommodation and/or Parental Accommodation retain access to on-campus medical facilities, eligibility for health insurance coverage, and continuation of on-campus housing provided that appropriate tuition, health insurance, and rent /rental fees have been paid for the term in which accommodation is anticipated.

International Students: the policy is intended to allow for the maintenance of full-time student status, and a student’s current visa status, provided the coursework for the term is completed following the accommodation period.