Family and Parent Resources
There are a number of family-friendly practices and resources in place for students considering taking a leave of absence for birth or adoption. The Graduate School has developed this guide as a place to start. In addition, please remember that your graduate program will also have important policies and resources. Be sure to consult with your graduate coordinator, advisor, and assistantship supervisor.
Prior to taking a leave of absence: [back to the top]
Many departments and programs have local leave policies. Please consult your program administrator, advisor, and the Graduate School as early as possible in your planning process.
If you have pre-enrolled for a future term, you may drop all courses before the first day of class without academic penalty. Dropping courses prior to the first day of class will ensure a full tuition refund.
If you are withdrawing mid-semester, a withdrawal form is required. Also be sure to confirm that you will remain eligible for tuition remission. If you withdraw in the middle of a term, tuition remission will be maintained if you have already met the minimum appointment requirement. Prior to terminating your appointment, consult with your program and review the tuition remission policy: www.bussvc.wisc.edu/bursar/remis2.html.
International Students: Prior to taking a leave of absence, please check on your visa status with International Student Services (ISS), 217 Armory and Gymnasium (Red Gym), 716 Langdon Street, 608-262-2044.
Non-dissertators: Since many programs have formal policies regarding leave, it is critical that you contact your program in advance. The Graduate School does not have a formal policy regarding a leave of absence at the pre-dissertator level. Master's degree students who take a leave of absence maintain course credits for up to 5 years.
Dissertators: In order to encourage timely degree completion, some time limits have been established. Ph.D. candidates who do not take the final oral exam and deposit within 5 years of passing the prelim exam may require another prelim exam. The Graduate School requires that all dissertators maintain continuous enrollment. When this is not possible, a degree completion fee is assessed. In exceptional circumstances, a student's program may appeal these time limits through a written request to the Graduate School.
Learn about health insurance options for your family. Graduate assistants, fellows, and trainees enrolled in State Group Health Insurance may add a child to their existing plan with this application: www.bussvc.wisc.edu/ecbs/emp-health-ins-menu.html#forms. More info is available at: www.benefits.wisc.edu/grads.
Graduate students not eligible for State Group Health Insurance may purchase coverage for themselves and dependents through SHIP. For more info, visit: www.uhs.wisc.edu/home.jsp?cat_id=116.
Graduate Appointments: Students with Teaching Assistantships (TA) or Program Assistantships (PA) should see the TA/PA contract for info regarding leave, and the Teaching Assistant Association (TAA) webpage: www.taa-madison.org. Info about FMLA for TAs and PAs is available at: http://taa-madison.org/home/contract/#fmla. Contact your department steward or the TAA office (608-256-4375 or email@example.com) with any questions or concerns.
Students with Research Assistantships (RA) should consult with their program, PI and/or advisor.
Students with Fellowships or Traineeships are advised to contact their funding source or the Office of Fellowships and Funding Resources (OFFR) 231 Bascom Hall, 608-262-9597.
Upon returning from a leave of absence: [back to the top]
Please contact your program in advance, to notify them of your intent to return. Resuming your studies is facilitated via the online application. Students who are not enrolled for one semester or more (excluding summer) will need to reapply for admission.
There is no application fee if you are returning within five years of your last semester of enrollment. Instructions for reapplication are available: www.grad.wisc.edu/education/admissions/reentry.html. Please reapply at least 6 weeks in advance.
You are encouraged to consult with the Office of Child Care and Family Resources (www.occfr.wisc.edu) regarding campus childcare, financial assistance, lactation space on campus, and other parenting resources.
Explore campus housing options. Many students with families enjoy living in Eagle Heights and benefit from on-site Eagle's Wing Child Care and Education Programs. University Apartments residents have priority when enrolling their children. To learn more, visit: www.housing.wisc.edu/universityapartments.
Seek support from campus resources and from other students who have children. One way to do this is through the Office of Child Care and Family Resources, which maintains a Parent Support Listserv, keeping students updated about parenting info, parent education sessions, support groups and parenting guidance.
Comments from Students [back to the top]"I have felt extremely well supported as a grad student with a family. The most important thing: health insurance! The UW health package for students is incredible…"
-Benjamin V Beier, graduate student, UW-Madison English Program
"Although it would have been nice to have a little more income, and less resistance from the university about time off, having a baby during graduate school was the best decision I could have made. How fortunate I have been with having such a flexible schedule that I can be home a couple days a week with my daughter (working/writing from home)! It saves on childcare costs and it's such a HUGE reward being able to spend that quality time with my kiddo!"
Campus Resources [back to the top]
Office of Child Care and Family Resources: www.occfr.wisc.edu
Your best place to start! Find information about child care, financial assistance, resource library, listserv, lactation space, parent education, programming, and links to more campus and community resources. This office is the go-to for information about the UW-Madison Child Care Tuition Assistance Program (CCTAP) and other financial assistance programs for student parents. This webpage provides an overview of financial assistance programs available to UW-Madison students: www.occfr.wisc.edu/financial_assistance/students.htm.
UW-Madison Campus Women’s Center: www.campuswomenscenter.rso.wisc.edu
Adult and Student Services Center, Single Parent Scholarship Program: www.dcs.wisc.edu/info/finanserv/SP-scholars.htm
Campus Lactation Rooms: www.occfr.wisc.edu/parent_resources/lactation.htm#rooms
Baby changing stations on campus: locations
Community Resources [back to the top]
Happy Bambino: www.happybambino.com
Moms in Madison: www.momsinmadison.com
Dane County Department of Human Services:www.danecountyhumanservices.org
National Child Care Information Center: www.nccic.org
Wisconsin Department of Health & Family Services: www.dhs.wisconsin.gov
Wisconsin Department of Children & Families: www.dcf.wisconsin.gov/childcare
Wisconsin Child Care Information Center (CCIC): www.dpi.state.wi.us/ccic
Community Coordinated Child Care, Inc. (4-C): www.4-C.org
Satellite Family Child Care, Inc.: www.satellitefcc.com
City of Madison: www.cityofmadison.com/commserv/CommunityCenters.html
Parent Education Project-Wisconsin, special education: www.dssc.org/frc/TAGuide/pti/wi2.htm
Free and low-cost activities for children on and around campus [back to the top]
Madison Children's Museum: www.madisonchildrensmuseum.org
101 North Hamilton Street ; 608-256-6445
MCM offers hands-on exhibits and programs for children birth through twelve years old.
Henry Vilas Zoo: www.vilaszoo.org
702 South Randall Avenue
The zoo is open year round, and admission is free.
Madison Public Library: www.madisonpubliclibrary.org/youth
The libraries offer free story times and many programs and resources for both parents and children.
Madison School and Community Recreation: www.mscr.org
Main office: 3802 Regent Street; Warner Park Community Recreation Center: 1625 Northport Drive
MSCR offers a wide range of recreation programs and services for all ages that are offered year-round.
UW-Madison Geology Museum: www.geology.wisc.edu/~museum
1215 West Dayton Street; 608-262-2399
The museum features reconstructed dinosaurs, a mastodon skeleton, colorful mineral samples, a six-foot-diameter rotating globe, and a walk-through model of a Wisconsin limestone caves. Admission is free.
UW-Madison Physics Museum: www.physics.wisc.edu/museum
2130 Chamberlin Hall, 1150 University Avenue; 608-262-2356
This is a free, public, hands-on physics museum. Exhibits focus on demonstrating basic physical concepts, from mechanics to atomics, and historical instruments are on display.
"The Wonders of Physics" presentations by UW-Madison Professor Clint Sprott: www.sprott.physics.wisc.edu/wop.htm
This fast-paced presentation of physics demonstrations is entertaining as well as educational for all audiences. Request tickets online or via phone: 608-262-2927.
UW-Madison Youth Programs, Activities, and Resources:
The Division of Continuing Studies has compiled a list of educational youth programs, including summer camps and weekend programs. Visit their website to learn more.
Olbrich Botanical Gardens: www.olbrich.org
3330 Atwood Avenue; 608-246-4550
The Olbrich Botanical Gardens features exotic plants, flowers, orchids, birds, and a waterfall. The Outdoor Gardens are free and open daily. Conservatory admission is $1 and free on Wednesday and Saturday, 10am to noon. Learn about other City of Madison Parks at: www.cityofmadison.com/parks.
Waisman Center Children's Theater: www.waisman.wisc.edu/events/ct/index.html
Waisman Center Auditorium, 1500 Highland Avenue; 608-263-5837
These fun shows teach children about science, dance, music, culture, and more. Admission is $2 for adults, $1 for children.
UW-Madison Space Place: www.spaceplace.wisc.edu
Villager Mall, 2300 S. Park Street; 608-262-4779
Space Place is the education and public outreach center of the UW-Madison Astronomy Department. It is open during scheduled events and by appointment. Space Place family workshops are offered every Saturday at 10 a.m. for children ages 6-10 and their parents. The workshops are free and open to the public. Visit their website to learn about guest speakers, stargazing, and other events.
UW-Madison Washburn Observatory: www.astro.wisc.edu/washburn/washburn_home.html
1401 Observatory Drive
At more than 100 years old, the Observatory's original 20-foot telescope still provides great views of the heavens.
Open House sessions are hosted by UW astronomy graduate students and volunteer astronomers.
Visit their website to view the Open House schedule.
UW-Madison Babcock Dairy Store
1605 Linden Drive; 608-262-3045
Babcock Dairy Store is place to purchase and enjoy many kinds of treats, including ice cream, cheese, and sandwiches.
UW-Madison Aboretum: uwarboretum.org
1207 Seminole Highway; 608-263-7888
The Arboretum’s 1200 acres border the southern half of Lake Wingra .Arboretum trails and the Visitor Center parking lot are open year-round from 7am to 10pm The Visitor Center is open weekdays from 9:30am – 4pm and weekends from 12:30 to 4pm (excluding holidays).
The Guide to Graduate Student Life (www.grad.wisc.edu/education/gsc/gradguide/index.html), published by the Graduate Student Collaborative, also provides additional information about campus and community family resources and events, as well as tips for graduate student parents.
Additional questions about policy? [back to the top]
Graduate School Office of Admissions & Academic Services
217 Bascom Hall
Additional questions about resources?
Office of Child Care & Family Resources
611 Eagle Heights, Room 148
All photos: UW-Madison University Communications