Parental Accommodation and Financial Support (PAFS)

Students of any gender enrolled in GSAS PhD programs are eligible for the Parental Accommodation and Financial Support (PAFS) program following the birth or adoption of a child.

Eligible GSAS PhD students receive a one-time supplemental stipend payment. This funding is intended to help with the additional expenses associated with the arrival of a new child. For the 2018–2019 academic year, the amount of the PAFS award is $6,516. Please note, as with all other stipends, the PAFS stipend is considered taxable income. For more information, please consult the Special Note Concerning US Income Taxes section of the GSAS website.

While participating in PAFS, students may request up to 12 weeks of time off from their duties. Students are eligible to remain in full-time, enrolled student status during this period, which ensures that loan repayment schedules, eligibility for University housing, and international student visa status remain unchanged. Alternatively, students may also opt to take a leave of absence, as detailed in the GSAS Leave of Absence policies.

Those interested in learning more about the program should email Lisa Simpson, assistant director of financial aid, at at least four months in advance of an anticipated birth or adoption event to review program guidelines and application procedures.

The GSAS website is a helpful source of additional information about family resources, such as newborn enrollment in the Harvard University Student Health Plan and child care.

Program Details

  • 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. Students interested in receiving advice on how to approach these conversations should reach out to Danielle Farrell, acting director of student services (through October, 2019), or Jackie Yun, director of student services (on leave through October 2019).
  • During the accommodation period, students receive relief from academic requirements, such as postponement of exams and course requirements.
  • Students are eligible for a departmental G-Year adjustment of one year.
  • Students funded by government grants or other external sources are subject to the program policies established by their funding agencies. Students with external awards should contact their funding agencies for further information about possible parental accommodations.


Lisa Simpson
Lisa Simpson
Assistant Director of Financial Aid & Senior Admissions Officer, Humanities
Danielle Farrell portrait
Danielle Farrell
Assistant Director of Student Affairs, Acting Director of Student Services
Smith Campus Center
1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 350
Jackie Yun portrait
Jackie Yun
Director of Student Services (On leave through October 2019)
Dudley House B-2