The College of Liberal Arts has offered an academic accommodation to graduate student parents since 2012. The policy grants new parents a one-semester extension in the expected time to degree in cases of childbirth or adoption. In recent years, our office has worked with University Human Resources, Legal Affairs, the Graduate School, and other colleges at UT to expand our support for graduate student parents. One stumbling block is that we do not know how many students become parents while enrolled in graduate school, and we need to know this in order to answer the question of how much any accommodation will cost.
Please encourage your students, both male and female, who have become parents while in graduate school to complete and submit our parental accommodation form: http://www.utexas.edu/cola/research/news/8159
We face a number of obstacles to achieving paid leave or funds to continue insurance coverage, and having the best possible estimate of the number of new parents among our graduate students will strengthen our case.
Lauren Apter Bairnsfather, Ph.D.
Office of Research and Graduate Studies
College of Liberal Arts
The University of Texas at Austin