Dependent Care Resources for Graduate Students

Success in graduate school goes beyond course work, research, and scholarship. For graduate students with dependents, finding adequate support and resources for your family is essential to thrive as a scholar. Below is a comprehensive list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on the benefits, resources, and services available to University of Delaware graduate students with dependents.

Please note that this list is most applicable to students living within the state of Delaware. For family resources in the state of Maryland click here and for the state of Pennsylvania click here.

Pregnancy and Nursing

A student who is making satisfactory progress toward their degree requirements and wishes to, or must, interrupt study temporarily for reasons of pregnancy, maternity, or paternity care including adoption, may be granted accommodations for parental responsibilities.

Helpful tip from a graduate student: While you may not be aware, DSS provides services to pregnant students in the same manner as other students with temporary disabilities. Types of accommodations can include rescheduled tests or exams, extended deadlines, excused absences, as well as additional food or bathroom breaks.

While it is not required, for purposes of planning for accommodations and/or leave that graduate students would need, it would be useful to disclose or discuss pregnancy to your advisor/program.

Helpful tip from a graduate student: Even when pregnancies are timed to be least disruptive to the academic process as possible, such as a summer baby, things do not always go as planned. “I needed so much more sleep than anticipated and was grateful that I had already notified my professors and made arrangements for potential accommodations”.

Title IX protects all students and employees from sex-based discrimination. The Department of Education’s regulations implementing Title IX specifically prohibit discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or recovery from any of these conditions.

The University has designated private spaces as “Lactation Rooms” throughout campus. In addition to providing a dedicated pumping space, some of the rooms have bulletin boards for sharing news, ideas and baby pictures, connecting lactating parents across campus. The campus locations include but are not limited to, 207E Morris Library, Perkins Student Center, Room 128, and Tower at STAR, Room 354.

Leave Policies

The University of Delaware recognizes the importance of having a parental leave policy that helps graduate students balance the responsibilities of work and parenthood. The Graduate Student Parent Leave policy assists graduate students to take up to 8 weeks of paid leave immediately following the birth or adoption of a young child. The purpose of this policy is to make it possible for a student to maintain registered full-time student status, along with all the benefits of such status, while facilitating the return to full participation in courses, research, and teaching. Policy standards and procedures can be found here.

Yes. Benefits-eligible graduate student employees who continue to meet eligibility requirements for employment are entitled to Parental Leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). Family and medical leave is unpaid leave that provides employees with the right to continue in premium sharing while on leave; and in general, to return to the same position or an equivalent position at the conclusion of the leave.

Graduate students may request a leave of absence when certain life events prevent continued active participation in their degree program. UD’s Leave of Absence Policy enables students to officially suspend work toward their degree for a limited time while caring for a child, or a disabled, elderly, or ill family member or if the student experiences new, significant disability or illness.

Helpful tip from a graduate student: “I was surprised to learn that taking a leave of absence may impact guaranteed funding opportunities”. It is advised that you discuss this with your advisor and program as soon as possible to ensure you best understand the impact of leaves of absences.


Yes, graduate students and employees may refer their spouses and/or adult children (13 years and older) to Nurse Managed Primary Care Center (NMPCC) for health care services.

Additionally, there are family doctors and pediatricians all throughout Newark.

In the event of a life-threatening emergency, please call 911. For non-life-threatening situations, the closest 24-hour health facility to our campus is the Urgent Care Center, located at 324 East Main St. Newark, DE 19711.

Helpful tip from a graduate student: It is advisable to establish your family as patients at your preferred pediatrician or health care provider and schedule a “well visit” with your doctors for each person in your family. This will ensure there is not a waiting period if one of you gets sick, as doctors will often only see current patients immediately.

Health Insurance

Yes. The University sponsors a Student Health Insurance (UD Plan) through Aetna that covers medical expenses not provided by SHS. Annual coverage rates for the UD Plan can be found on the Office of Risk Management website and coverage for dependents is available at

Food and Housing

Yes. Blue Hen Bounty is a food pantry that provides supplemental nutrition and hygiene products to the UD faculty, staff, and students.

Helpful tip from a graduate student: One can typically find canned goods, cereal, pasta and other non-perishables. Though not always guaranteed, requests orders can be placed at the location for specific food items. “I recently wrote gluten-free items on the whiteboard and the following week, GF cereals were added”.

Yes, the Delaware Food Bank is an additional resource that offers statewide services to include partner pantries, mobile food banks, and home delivery in Newark and Milford.

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, Delaware (WIC) offers nutrition support to pregnant people and families of very young children through nutrition education, financial support, and lactation counseling. Program qualification is based on income.


No, not at this time. There is currently no campus housing for students with children; however, the Graduate College is prioritizing parents of small children as we continue to work to help graduate students with families to find suitable housing. Off-campus housing options can be found through Places4Students.

Helpful tip from a graduate student: Once you’ve accepted your offer of admission, get an early start on searching for housing. “I also found it helpful to ask my advisor and department to connect me with peers who can assist with this process before I arrived. My current roommate is part of my research lab”.

Childcare and Early Education Providers

Choosing a childcare center is a big decision. An updated list of childcare centers in the area can be found here.

My Child DE: Looking in Delaware is a service that provides a database of licensed childcare providers in Delaware and can be filtered by location, age of care provided, and financial arrangements. also provides a search engine to locate childcare and resources in all US states and territories.

Yes. The University of Delaware Early Learning Center (ELC) is a collaborative learning environment where the ELC, university and community work together to provide early learning experiences to support each child, each family, professional educators, and future educators.

The ELC provides services year-round for infants and toddlers, preschoolers, and before and after school care for children from kindergarten to third grade.

Birth to Three Early Intervention is a program that provides developmental screening for children birth to three years old and intervention services for children who have been diagnosed with a developmental delay or disability.

Helpful tip from a graduate student: Registration for childcare while pregnant may sound extreme, but the sooner the better. “We registered our daughter in daycare before she was born to secure her spot at a nearby childcare center”.

Care Resources

Purchase of Care (POC) provides families with a financial subsidy to help pay for childcare. Families must meet income guidelines and work with a childcare provider that accepts POC. Apply for benefits here.

Early Head Start offers programs to pregnant people, and children ages 0 to three and their families through childcare, parent support and coaching, child assessments, and resource and referrals.

Head Start offers pre-K to 3- and 4-year-old children, parent support, child assessments, and resources and referrals.

A search engine to locate the Head Start or Early Head Start program nearest to you can be found here.

New Directions Early Head Start is a UD affiliated program serving children.

The Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) is your one-stop access point for aging and disability information and resources in Delaware and can be used to learn more about the resources available in Delaware, to decide what services would be best for you and your family, or to get help in finding the services that you need.

Delaware Thrives is a website that provides information and resources for families with young children, expectant parents, developmental screening, and family planning.

The UD Classifieds can be used by UD community members to post or find job listings for childcare, tutoring, or elder care needs. This service is a privilege extended to students and employees of the University of Delaware for personal, non-commercial use. The terms of any transactions are between the buyer and seller.

Elementary School

Families should begin preparing their children to register for kindergarten in the winter before kindergarten begins. In Delaware, students must be five years old by August 31 of the current school year to attend kindergarten. Additional information on this process can be found here.

Helpful tip from a graduate student: Research the school district boundaries near to your home as your location impacts which school your child can attend. “My family and I moved to an apartment complex across the street from my son’s current school, which has made the commute seamless”.


Yes. Newark is a very family-friendly city. There are many public parks and free or low-cost activities and events for children and their families to enjoy.

Beginning in Spring 2023, the Graduate College will be hosting events and activities for graduate students and their families. Email AJ de Coteau – to stay connected.

Financial Hardship and Other Emergencies

The Graduate College offers emergency loans of up to $1,000 to graduate students in need. To apply, email Cindy Rechsteiner –

The Dean of Students also offers assistance with access to food, housing and computer access, clothing, and emergency finances. Contact ODS at for eligibility and more info!

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If you have any feedback on your experiences that you would like to share or you have utilized a resource that you have found particularly valuable, please email AJ de Coteau @