Basic Needs

Many of these resources center the needs of graduate student parents but may be relevant or helpful for all graduate students.

Graduate Student Parent Advocacy Project

The Graduate Student Parent Advocacy (GSPA) Project Director advocates for graduate student parents and develops programs to support their academic and personal success. Additionally, the GSPA provides feedback across all Graduate Assembly committees to ensure responsive standing guidelines, such as ensuring meetings and events are held at reasonable hours, are family-friendly, and that safe, reliable childcare is made available. To learn more or get involved with GSPA, contact the GSPA Project Director at or follow GSPA on Facebook.

This page of resources has been compiled by the GSPA Project Director to provide current and incoming graduate student parents with helpful information to support both their personal and academic success. If you have any questions, please contact

Financial Support

General Financial Resources

This section is under construction. Check back for updates soon!

For all types of financial assistance, it is highly recommended to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and also apply for a Cost of Attendance Adjustment (CoA) though Cal Central. Even for those students that do not believe they are eligible for support, some funds may be available over time based on prior applications for funding, and on the existence of a current FAFSA and CoA.

  • Graduate Assembly Mutual Aid Fund – a fund that provides financial assistance to graduate and professional students who are in or have recently experienced a personal emergency.
  • Housing Security Deposit Award helps enrolled students who need assistance in paying security deposits to obtain safe, secure, and stable housing
Financial Resources for Parents


Health & Wellness

  • Dependent care provided through the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)
  • Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provide no-cost or low-cost health coverage for eligible children in California
  • UC Berkeley Breastfeeding Support Program:
    • Find the closest lactation rooms on campus
    • Use breastfeeding pumps on campus
    • Free breastfeeding classes facilitated by a certified lactation consultant
    • Online breastfeeding resources
  • UC CORE: high copay, zero cost health insurance plan that is available to ASEs and GSRs during open enrollment
  • Mental Health: these providers may help connect you with emergency housing in cases of domestic violence

Legal Assistance

  • ASEs and GSRs may be eligible to enroll in ARAG legal services for themselves and their families during open enrollment. These services can help pay for many family associated legal services (prenups, divorce, social services, childcare etc).
  • Oakland Family Violence Center: offers pro bono legal services and support to family members experiencing violence and crisis.


  • Early Childcare Education Program through UC Berkeley
    • Provides infant, toddler, and preschool care
    • Full days, 5 days a week only
    • Applications for Fall start January (fee waived for students)
    • There is often a waitlist
    • Some full and partial income-based subsidies are available for students
  • Back-up Childcare through Bright Horizons (partner of UC Berkeley):
    • Emergency or irregular need of childcare in your home or at a center (covers up to three children who cannot be more than mildly sick)
    • Students get 60 hours/year
    • Copay rates: $4/hour for in-home and $2/hour for at center care
  • Off campus options – see the Berkeley Parents Network website for more childcare options:
    • Small homes and larger centers
    • Flexibility for full/part days, 2-5 days a week
    • Popular places are full for Fall and now booking for Summer 2020, others may still have openings.
    • Some locations offer a few spots for financial aid (state/community based)
    • Nanny Shares
    • Co-ops
    • BANANAS service helps connect people with available childcare services

School-Age Care

  • Enrollment in K-12 in the Albany School District can be completed online
  • After-school options in Albany:
  • Cal Youth Programs offers a wide variety of camps and sport activities for kids of all ages. Both summer and year-round programs are offered.

Food, Diaper, and Clothing Assistance

  • CalFresh @ Berkeley: state funded government food assistance program. Read UC Berkeley’s guidance on student CalFresh eligibility and check the CalFresh policy guidance page to see if your program qualifies as a Local Program that Increases Employability (LPIE); students whose programs are considered an LPIE are considered exempt from the CalFresh student eligibility rule.
    • If you qualify for CalFresh, you will most likely qualify for these discount programs as well.
  • Berkeley Food Pantry: provides emergency groceries once a month for Berkeley and Albany residents.
  • The GSPA has partnered with Bear Share in an initiative to offer clothing and items for newborns and infants of student parents. Any UC Berkeley Student (undergraduate or graduate) may email or to have a packet reserved. Packets include a large variety of clothing items as well as some additional useful items such as bedding, nursing covers, towels and more. Newborn packets will be made available for no more than 6 weeks, and 0-3 month packets will be available for 90 days of use. Each family can have one pack only at any given moment. Packets for larger sizes (3-6m, 6-9m, 9-12m) may be made available with time. Packages will be distributed according to the size needed for the child (date of birth) and then on a first come first serve, with a goal to maximize utilization of the items.
  • Student Parent Food Donations Program: groceries provided in front of the UC Village Community Center
  • UC Village Bear Pantry: located in University Village. Provides diaper and food assistance to students with dependents.
  • UC Berkeley Financial Aid Office Food Assistance Program: short-term assistance program for students on financial aid
  • UC Berkeley Food Pantry: located in the basement of MLK Student Union, Room 68. Provides food assistance, food demos, and pop-up pantries across campus.
  • Alameda County Community Food Bank: various resources including food distribution, mobile pantries, Children’s Backpack program, and others.

Academic and Employment Resources

  • Study Spaces on campus:
  • UC Berkeley Graduate Division Student Parent Policies provides information on:
    • Extension of Time for Academic Milestones for Doctoral Students
    • Employment and Financial Accommodations due to Pregnancy and Childbirth
    • Policy on Parenting Leave with Re-enrollment
    • Academic Accommodations due to Pregnancy and Childbirth
  • Family and Childbearing Leave for GSIs, Readers, and Tutors:
    • Academic Student Employees (ASEs) are eligible for certain types of leave. Policies are governed by the UAW contract.
  • Family and Childbearing Leave for GSRs:
    • Childbirth Accommodation Leave: Six weeks of paid leave for pregnancy disability, childbirth, and related medical conditions; an additional two weeks of unpaid leave for baby bonding provided such unpaid leave does not extend beyond the date of appointment.
    • Other Leave: Four weeks of paid leave due to the GSR’s serious health condition, to care for a family member who has a serious health condition, or to care for and bond with a newborn child or an adopted/foster child; the GSR may be approved for an additional two weeks of unpaid leave provided such unpaid leave does not extend beyond the date of the appointment.
  • Childbirth Accommodation Funding for Women Doctoral Students
    • 6 weeks protected income for fellowship holders, GSIs, and GSRs
  • Graduate Assembly Graduate Student Parent Travel Award: offers $300 to pay for dependent associated costs during academic/conference travel

UC Berkeley Student Travel Insurance

  • UC Berkeley provides free travel insurance to students who are traveling more than 100 miles from their home campus on activities sponsored and supervised by the University. Check out this website to learn how to get covered BEFORE you travel on a UC-related or UC-funded trip.

Basic Needs Center COVID-19 Living Guide

  • For information on services such as food pantries, housing support, and financial resources, check out the UC Berkeley Basic Needs Center COVID-19 Living Guide.

Undocumented Student Program Resources

  • USP is providing services in response to COVID-19 including financial support, academic counseling, mental health support, and immigration legal support. Visit the USP website for more information.

National Grad Crisis Line

  • The National Grad Crisis Line helps graduate students reach free, confidential telephone counseling, crisis intervention, suicide prevention, and information and referral services provided by specially-trained call-takers. Reach the Crisis Line at 1.877.GRAD.HLP (1.877.472.3457).

Additional Resources