Parental leave and childcare resources

at Washington University in St. Louis

Updated: 02-17-2023

Disclaimer:  DBBS Women in STEM has put together this quick reference sheet regarding parental leave and childcare resources at Washington University. We hope it will be helpful; however, we cannot be responsible for the accuracy of the content or its applicability to your specific situation. Please be sure to reach out to your departmental and/or program staff to ensure access to the resources available to you as a new or prospective parent.

Buchheit Graduate Student Family Support Fund

The Buchheit Graduate Student Family Support Fund provides financial support to graduate students with children who encounter unexpected expenses.

Amounts awarded to eligible graduate students will depend upon funding availability. Information on eligibility is included below.

For additional information on resources for graduate and professional students, please visit the Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and International Affairs.

Learn more about it HERE

Child Daycare Subsidy

Sponsored by Washington University in St. Louis, the purpose of the Child Daycare Subsidy is to help PhD student families meet the costs of child daycare while they pursue their studies.

The amount of child daycare subsidy awarded to eligible applicants depends on their financial need, the number of children they have enrolled in child daycare facilities, their child daycare expenses, and available funding.

Requirements for Eligibility

To be considered for the Child Daycare Subsidy, a student should:

  • Be enrolled full-time in a WashU PhD degree program at the start of the award period.
  • Be the parent of a child under the age of 5, a child between 5 and 6 years old who is currently ineligible to attend kindergarten due to their date of birth, or a child with special needs under the age of 19.
  • Incur child daycare expenses from a facility, center, or provider*.
  • Apply for any available scholarships and aid at their chosen provider* before applying for the Washington University child daycare subsidy.
  • Be making satisfactory academic progress, as defined by their school/program.
  • Utilize child daycare services because you are a single student, or if married or have a partner, because your spouse or partner is either a student (enrolled full time in an undergraduate or graduate degree program) or employed outside the home for a minimum of 20 hours per week. You may be asked to attest to your spouse’s or partner’s employment or student status.
  • Complete the daycare subsidy by the deadline for each semester.

*A provider may not be a student’s partner, a parent of the student, or a parent of the student’s partner.

Apply HERE!

Parental leave

Graduate students

Up to 8 weeks / 60 calendar days paid leave for either parent. Additional unpaid leave up to a full semester is typically available with departmental approval. Longer leaves should be requested via a leave of absence rather than new child leave.


Up to 8 weeks paid leave for either parent. Eligible for leave after 12 months of service, although leave may be granted earlier with your supervisor’s approval. Additional leave may be available through paid sick time, paid vacation time, and/or unpaid FMLA leave. Leave policy applies to both postdoctoral research associates (employees) and postdoctoral research scholars (paid by external fellowships) unless the external funding agency requires different leave policies. Note that current NIH policy for NRSA fellows allows for up to 8 weeks of paid leave and is therefore not in conflict with Washington University policy.


The Washington University Family Learning Center serves the children of Washington University students, faculty, and staff (including postdocs).

Subsidized back-up care is also available.

The St. Louis Children’s Hospital Child Development Centers serve the children of Washington University School of Medicine employees. However, hospital employees are prioritized over Washington University employees, and the wait list is typically quite long.

Washington University employs a Child and Family Care Facilitator to support faculty and staff.

Lactation rooms

Dedicated lactation rooms are available. You may need to register for access to some of the lactation room locations on Danforth campus, as described in the following document.

You will need to register for access to lactation rooms on the medical school campus. Even if you plan on using a private office or other space, please register for the Lactation Room Program to receive pertinent information and to document the need for these resources.

Lactation Room Location

Lactation Room Registration