Students with Children

Campus Resources

A family outside of a campus childcare center

Office of Child Care and Family Resources

Your best place to start! Find info about childcare, financial assistance, resource library, parents listserv, lactation space, parent education, programming, and links to more campus and community resources. The Office of Child Care and Family Resources supports student parents at UW–Madison with:

COVID-19 support for graduate students with children

Caring for children while schools and daycares are closed, on top of managing your responsibilities as a graduate student, is hard. Below are some resources to support you during this challenging time.

Programming and events

The Office of Child Care and Family Resources (OCCFR) offers a mix of family support programs, including free webinars to help graduate students cope, network, build parenting skills, and raise great kids.

Parent one-on-one consultations with Dr. Laura Froyen

Struggling with discipline? Wondering if your child’s behavior is typical for their age? Needing tips for handling big emotions? Sign up for a 50-minute Zoom meeting with Dr. Laura Froyen to discuss evidenced-based parenting strategies, or email with your campus ID number and set up a time to meet.

Respectful Parenting 101

Research shows that confidence in one’s parenting role leads to being able to handle stressful situations better. So, while you already have plenty going on right now, consider a parenting class as a worthy investment of your time. UW–Madison students receive a discounted rate for Respectful Parenting 101.

Department of Psychiatry’s COVID-19 Mental Health Resource Guide

The guide’s section for parents offers resources and practical strategies for parents and other caregivers who are facing challenges and disruptions in family life due to the COVID-19 crisis, with the goal of minimizing the negative effects of stress, and maximizing the wellbeing and strengths of parents, children, and families.

Academic Matters

There are a number of family-friendly practices and resources in place for students considering taking a leave of absence for birth or adoption.

Prior to taking a leave of absence:

Many departments, programs, and schools/colleges have local leave policies. Please consult with your program administrator, advisor, and the Graduate School as early as possible in your planning process. If you have a graduate assistantship, read the Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures section on leave.

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 anytime on or after the first day of classes, an electronic withdrawal request in your MyUW Student Center 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 may 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.

The Graduate School does not have a formal policy regarding a leave of absence. For more information see the Leave of Absence policy.


Since many programs have formal policies regarding leave, it is critical that you contact your program in advance. Master’s degree students who take a leave of absence maintain course credits for up to five years. Doctoral degree students who take a leave of absence maintain course credit for up to 10 years.


In order to encourage timely degree completion, time limits have been established. PhD candidates who do not take the final oral exam and deposit within five 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 requirements 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 the health insurance application form found on the UW System Employee Benefits website.

More information about health insurance options is available from the Office of Human Resources Benefits Services.

Graduate students not eligible for State Group Health Insurance may purchase coverage for themselves and dependents through SHIP.

Graduate assistants

Teaching Assistants (TAs) or Program Assistants (PAs), and Research Assistants (RAs) should start by reviewing the Graduate Assistantship Policies and Procedures section on leave, and inquire about additional leave policies that may exist within their department or program.

TAs and PAs should speak with their department chair/director or unit head. RAs should consult with their program, PI, and/or advisor.

Students with Fellowships or Traineeships are advised to contact their funding source, program, and/or advisor.

International students

Prior to taking a leave of absence, please check on your visa status with International Student Services.

Upon returning from a leave of absence:

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. Instructions for reapplication are available. Please reapply at least 6 weeks in advance.

You are encouraged to consult with the Office of Child Care and Family Resources 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.

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.

Questions about policy?

Graduate School Office of Academic Services
217 Bascom Hall

Questions about resources?

Office of Child Care & Family Resources
611 Eagle Heights, Room 148

Children eating cupcakes