Graduate Student Parents
Students who are parents make up approximately 2% of the graduate student population at Caltech. This website includes a comprehensive list of the resources, services, policies, and programs to help student parents meet their family care obligations while pursuing their academic goals. Graduate students who experience financial difficulties due to childcare are encouraged to contact the Graduate Office.
Dependent Health Care Reimbursements
Enrolled graduate students are eligible to apply for reimbursement for health insurance costs up to $140 per month (rate effective for costs as of September 1, 2020), per dependent. Complete the request form and submit appropriate documentation. The reimbursement will be paid as a miscellaneous payment through payroll on the next available pay period following submission. Reimbursements are subject to applicable income taxes. Only enrolled graduate students are eligible, and students who are completing their studies should be sure to submit their request form at least one month prior to the end of their final term.
Pregnancy and Bonding Leave
Students who are unable to complete their coursework or other course of study for a period of time due to a pregnancy, childbirth and related medical conditions are eligible for a pregnancy leave. The Institute provides up to 6 weeks of pay to students during a pregnancy leave; an additional *6 weeks of pay is available through family bonding leave. Bonding leave is in addition to pregnancy leave, providing eligible students with a combined total of up to *12 weeks of paid leave.
A pregnant student who wishes to take a pregnancy leave should submit a pregnancy leave petition to the Graduate Office. An enrolled student in good academic standing who chooses to take a leave of absence because of the recent birth or adoption of his or her child may also request a bonding leave by submitting a bonding leave petition to the Graduate Office for approval.
*Starting in the 2023-24 academic year, students may take up to 8 weeks of paid bonding leave, and a combined total of up to 14 weeks of paid leave.
Parent Support Program
The Parent Support Program has been established through a collaboration of the six academic Divisions. The goal of this program is to provide financial support to graduate student parents with demonstrated financial need. Interested parents are invited to fill out an application form. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis by at least two members of the Graduate Office. Qualified applicants will receive an annual stipend supplement of up to $10,000 annually, to be disbursed monthly. In general, students with a combined family income of $132,500 or more do not qualify for this program. This award is considered taxable income, and students must be currently enrolled to receive this benefit. For further information on selection and the funding process, please contact the Graduate Office (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP)
Caltech recognizes that childcare costs impose a financial burden on many members of the community. The Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) allows eligible applicants to receive up to $5,000 per year to help defray childcare provider costs. Please note, incoming students starting in the fall term can submit two CCAP applications simultaneously, that is, one for the current calendar year (when you join Caltech), and a second for the upcoming calendar year.
Awards are available to eligible faculty, postdoctoral scholars, graduate students, and campus staff with dependent children ages 10 and under.
Step 1 - Learn About the Program
Read the CCAP Program Guidelines
Step 2 - Submit Your Application
If you are ready to apply, download the CCAP Program Application
The Student Emergency Fund was established to provide financial assistance to students who are faced with an emergency that impacts their ability to effectively continue their studies. Some examples of events that may qualify include:
- Onerous medical or dental expenses not covered by insurance
- Bereavement travel; travel for an urgent family matter
- Temporary emergency housing
- Loss due to theft or fire
Requests for funding are made through an online request form and are reviewed on a case-by-case basis by the graduate deans. Sufficient documentation is required to evaluate the expense; for medical and dental reimbursements we ask for a billing statement and proof of payment and any applicable insurance applied, but we do not need a detailed disclosure of private medical information. For medical or dental expenses, we suggest students first consult with Kevin Lee, Student Benefits Specialist in HR, to discuss coverage and make sure that the insurance has been fully applied.
Our goal for non-urgent requests is to make a decision within ~2 weeks. If you require immediate assistance please contact the Graduate Office to set up an appointment with a Dean. If approved, the reimbursement will be applied to the next available payroll and applicable taxes may apply. Direct payment via P-Card is also possible for unpaid, approved costs.
Short-term Emergency Loan
A non-interest-bearing loan for the first 90 days after disbursement for up to $2,500 may be obtained by graduate students for unexpected emergencies. If the loan is not paid within the 90 days after disbursement, interest at 5% will begin to accrue. For additional information, please contact the Assistant Dean of Graduate Studies.
Children's Center at Caltech Tuition Assistance
Child Educational Center (JPL) Tuition Assistance
Family and Childbearing Policies
Dependent Care Leave
Graduate students may take an unpaid leave for the purpose of full-time child care and other dependent needs that require students to take a break from their studies. Students planning on taking this leave should first schedule a meeting with one of the Graduate Deans. Under this leave, students are eligible to retain existing benefits, including health and dental. If in Caltech housing, students may remain for up to one term while on dependent care leave. Please note that students with dependent care needs may instead request a reduced course load by submitting an underload petition.
Nursing Mothers (Lactation Support)
Lactation Rooms and Lounges are located throughout the Caltech Campus and are available to all Caltech affiliates. Rooms vary from private enclosures to a room on campus with new equipment and a refrigerator.
COVID-19 and Breastfeeding - CDC Guidelines
Child Care Resources
Campus Child Care Centers
Caltech and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory have three different facilities on their campuses.
- Children's Center at Caltech (Caltech – starts at 6 months old)
- Child Educational Center (JPL – starts at 8 weeks old)
- Co-op Preschool (Caltech – starts at 2.5 years old)*
Local Child Care Centers
Options for Learning
Options for Learning provides a list of community resources that includes listings of licensed local childcare providers (both privately managed facilities and public programs), and at-home learning resources. Please note, international students who are on a visa should not use state or federal subsidy programs as foreign nationals who use these programs for living expenses can have their visas declined, or in future years, their application for citizenship or work authorization declined for using federal or state aide.
Infants and Toddlers (some accept children from a few weeks old)
- Pasadena Preschool Academy • (previously named Step by Step) • 2611 Woodlyn Road, Pasadena
- Happy Sunshine • 69 N. Halstead Street, Pasadena
- Pasadena Day Nursery • 450 N. Garfield, Pasadena
- Fair Oaks Preschool • 301 N. Orange Grove Boulevard, Pasadena
- Kids Club • 380 S. Raymond Avenue, Pasadena
- Child Development Center • 1324 E. Green Street, Pasadena
- Lake Avenue Preschool • 981 N. Lake, Pasadena
24 months and older (consider also the daycares above)
- Sunrise Preschool • 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd, Pasadena
- Children's Country House • 2821 Santa Rosa Avenue, Altadena
- Hillcrest Montessori • 1041 N. Altadena Dr. Pasadena
- Rainbow Learning Circle • 524 E. Orange Grove Blvd, Pasadena
Family Daycare - Privately operated under a state license in a private home
- Little Bohemians • Altadena
- Paulett's Daycare (no website – just reviews) • 2737 Tola Avenue, Altadena. Tel: (626) 794 5191
- Sherrie Thues • 984 N. Chester Avenue, Pasadena. Tel: (626) 798 3878
Privately operated under a state license, for children aged 2.5 – 5 years old. Most co-op nurseries offer two, three, and five half-day programs. A half day is either three hours in the morning or three hours in the afternoon. Parents in a co-op nursery take turns on a regular weekly basis to assist the teachers and/or do minor maintenance chores around the school. This mandatory parent participation helps to defray the school's operating expenses and to lower the tuition. The California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools can help you locate local co-op nursery schools. For the Pasadena area, select San Gabriel Valley Council.
Co-op nurseries in the Pasadena area:
- Co-Op Preschool at Caltech • 250 and 256 S. Michigan Avenue, Pasadena*
- Cottage Co-Op Nursery School • 169 Arlington Drive, Pasadena
- Oneonta Cooperative Nursery School • 1515 Garfield Avenue, South Pasadena
- Sierra Madre Community Nursery School • 701 E. Sierra Madre Boulevard, Sierra Madre
- Altadena Nursery School • 789 N. Altadena Drive, Pasadena
- Hastings Ranch Nursery School • 3740 E. Sierra Madre Boulevard, Pasadena
For a comprehensive choice of daycare facilities and family day care, you can read the parent reviews on Yelp and also consult Options.
Babysitting and Nannies
- Babysitting co-op is run by the Caltech Women's Club, but it's on hiatus at the moment (looking for a volunteer to maintain the babysitting co-op)
- SitterCity allows parents to post advertisements for babysitters (you can also read information about average hourly rates for babysitting).
- A Better Nanny Agency offers both live-in and live-out nannies.
- Nanny Classifieds
- Nanny Verify
Preschool Play Groups at Caltech
- Caltech Women's Club Playgroup (on hiatus at the moment and looking for a volunteer to maintain this group).
- Caltech International Spouses Club Toddlers & Minis Group
- Pasadena City College Parent Education Classes are held once a week for parents who can bring their children (from birth to 5 years) and enjoy playtime, crafts, songs and discussions. It's also a nice way to meet new people.
Pasadena Unified School District (PUSD)
- Early Childhood Education is a program for children between 3 and 4 years old.
If you need more information, visit Options which offers a free, comprehensive list of child care (daycare and preschool) centers in and around Pasadena. For the Pasadena area, choose "San Gabriel Valley Council" as the regional council.
International Offices Child Care Information
Backup childcare you can utilize when your regular childcare is not available due to an unplanned circumstance. Care.com provides access to the largest online community of backup childcare caregivers. This subsidized* benefit is available for in-home backup childcare services only. Understand more about backup childcare by reading the FAQs and the below examples of when backup childcare with Care.com should be utilized:
- Your babysitter or nanny is unavailable
- You need to work late
- Your regular daycare center is closed
- Your child's school is closed
- Your child is not feeling well
- You are working from home and need someone to watch your child
You will also have free access to Care.com's membership that provides unsubsidized long-term caregivers for children, adults, pets, and your home.
How much does it cost?
- Caltech will subsidize* up to 10-days of backup childcare from 3/1/22 through 2/28/23
- You pay a rate of $6/hour for in-home backup childcare
- The subsidized amount you receive toward backup childcare is considered taxable income*
When can I use this benefit?
Sign up with Care.com now so you are ready when you need backup childcare in the future. Watch a 1 minute video on how to enroll in Care.com and a 2 minute video on how to request services.
Where can I enroll, request backup childcare, and learn more?
Enroll and Request Services
- Visit Caltech.Care.com
- Download the ‘Care.com' mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play
- Call 855-781-1303
- For questions about Care.com backup childcare services, contact Care.com's customer service team:
- Visit Caltech.Care.com
- Call 855-781-1303 anytime, 24 hrs. a day
- Chat virtually by visiting Caltech.Care.com and clicking ‘contact us' in the top right corner
- For questions about Caltech backup childcare eligibility, contact the Caltech Benefits Department:
- Email email@example.com
- Call 626-395-6443 M-F 8am-5pm PT
- Read the FAQs to have a better understanding of the benefit, payment/taxation process, common backup childcare questions, and more.
IRS TAX INFORMATION*
THE VALUE OF ANY SUBSIDY PROVIDED BY CALTECH TO ASSIST EMPLOYEES WITH BACKUP CHILDCARE MUST BE TREATED AS TAXABLE INCOME.THE SUBSIDY IS CONSIDERED A TAXABLE BENEFIT AND IS TREATED BY THE IRS AS INCOME. THE AMOUNT OF INCOME YOU RECEIVE THAT IS ASSOCIATED WITH CARE.COM BACKUP CHILDCARE IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE FAIR MARKET VALUE OF THE SERVICE PROVIDED AND YOUR COPAYMENT. THE SUBSIDIZED AMOUNT YOU RECEIVE TOWARD BACKUP CHILDCARE WILL BE INCLUDED AS IMPUTED INCOME ON YOUR PAYCHECK. IT WILL ALSO BE REFLECTED IN YOUR YEAR-END W2 [BOX 1]. IF YOU DO NOT RECEIVE A PAYCHECK FROM CALTECH YOU WILL BE TAXED ON THIS BENEFIT THROUGH A 1099-MISC.
Caltech Women's Club Playgroup
CWC Casita Exchange
The Caltech Women's Club hosts exchanges of books/toys, strollers, high chairs, cribs, and other items useful for young families and provide a location to meet and build friendships.
Taking Advantage of Tax Breaks
Graduate Student Parents Mailing List
Topics include finding childcare, clothing swaps, and general discussions about parenting at Caltech. If you are interested, you can subscribe to the mailing list by using the "Subscribing to GSP" section at https://lists.caltech.edu/listinfo/gsp (Caltech WiFi/VPN required).
DISCLAIMER: The information provided on this website is for general information only. Caltech does not endorse or recommend any of the organizations listed.