Family-Related Policies for GSAS Students

Parental Accommodation and Financial Support Program (PAFS)

Female and male students enrolled in PhD programs at GSAS are eligible for parental accommodation and financial support following the birth or adoption of a child. Those interested in learning more about the program should contact Garth McCavana, dean for student affairs, and Bob LaPointe, assistant director of financial aid at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. at least four months in advance of the anticipated birth or adoption event to discuss the options available. PAFS Program details are below:

  • Students are expected to notify advisors and Directors of Graduate Studies at least four months in advance of the anticipated birth or adoption of a child, so that appropriate arrangements can be made to cover any teaching or research responsibilities.
  • Eligible students receive from GSAS a one-time payment equal to two-fifths teaching for six weeks. This funding is intended to help with the additional expenses associated with the arrival of a new child.
  • During the accommodation period, students may request time off from their duties up to six weeks. Students remain enrolled full-time during this period: loan repayment schedules, eligibility for University housing, and student visa status, if applicable, remain unchanged.
  • Students receive academic accommodation during this period, including relief from academic requirements, such as postponement of exams and course requirements.
  • Students funded by government grants or other external sources are entitled to benefits as determined by the funding agency. Students should contact their funding agency for more details.
  • Students who take advantage of the PAFS Program are eligible for a departmental G-year adjustment of one year.

 

Family Leave of Absence Policy

Female and male students enrolled at GSAS may take a Family Leave of Absence for the birth or adoption of a child, childcare, or care of an immediate family member with a serious health condition.

  • Students may take a Family Leave of Absence for one or two semesters. Students are eligible for a departmental G-year adjustment of one year, regardless of whether the Family Leave of Absence is for one or two semesters.
  • Academic requirements (such as postponement of exams and course requirements) will be adjusted for the duration of the Family Leave of Absence.
  • Students are expected to notify their advisors and their Directors of Graduate Studies as early as possible about their plans to take a Family Leave of Absence so that appropriate accommodations can be made to cover any teaching or research responsibilities.
  • Students are eligible for four months of health coverage through the Student Health Insurance Plan and the Student Health Fee (visit Harvard University Health Services for more information) from the point at which they take leave. Students who take leave must pay their own premiums, however.
  • Funding commitments from Harvard are deferred until students return from the Family Leave of Absence. Students receiving funding from external sources, such as governmental grants, are subject to the conditions established by the funding source. Students should contact their funding agency for more details.