For Student Parents
Each year, Harvard Law School welcomes new and expectant parents to its campus. The Dean of Students Office works to help students manage the varying responsibilities of academic life and parenthood. We encourage students to use the Dean of Students Office as a source of support throughout their time at HLS and hope the information provided here is a useful starting point.
For Policy and Administrative Board Matters: Ellen M. Cosgrove, Associate Dean and Dean of Students, cosgrove@law, 617-495-1880
For Classroom, Exam, Medical Leave/Accommodation Issues: Lakshmi Clark-McClendon, Assistant Director of Student Services, lclark@law, 617-496-2437
While Harvard Law School does not offer a part-time J.D. program, we encourage students to be in touch with Dean Cosgrove (cosgrove@law, 617-496-1880) to discuss options for maintaining a manageable academic load in light of your family responsibilities.
If there is a pregnancy or parenting-related issue that could affect exams, attendance, or classroom participation, please contact Lakshmi Clark-McClendon (lclark@law or 617-496-2437)to discuss possible accommodations.
Any student, including new and expecting parents, may take a personal leave of absence from the law school. A student wishing to take a personal leave should follow the instructions available here to submit a request to the Registrar’s Office. Students may also set up an appointment with Lakshmi Clark-McClendon if they want to discuss the possibility of taking a leave of absence.
For additional information and options, please contact the Dean of Students Office to discuss additional options.
The Student Financial Services website has a detailed explanation of the adjustments made to the financial aid packages of students with spouses and/or children here. In short, financial aid packages of students with families include additional fixed allowances from gross income for a spouse and for each child, for health insurance for a spouse and for each child, and for a car (for students who have small children and/or a working spouse). Parenting students who have a working partner may also request a “reasonable” allowance for child care, the amount of which is not fixed. Additionally, students with children who work at a public-interest job after 1L year are eligible for the 2L-level SPIF grant. If you have specific questions about financial issues related to child care, please contact Denise Ryan, Assistant Director, Program Development and External Relations for Student Financial Services (firstname.lastname@example.org, 617-495-0643). Individual Financial Aid Officers can be reached at email@example.com.
Students with children are not eligible for on-campus housing but may choose to live in Harvard-affiliated housing managed by Harvard University Housing, two of which buildings (Terry Terrace and 29 Garden Street) are close to the law school. Information about HUS housing, as well as guidance in locating off-campus private housing, is available here.
Many students with partners and children belong to the Parents at the Law School (PALS). PALS and the Dean of Students Office hold many events throughout the year for couples and children. Please contact PALS or the Dean of Students Office for additional information.
Harvard Students’ Spouses & Partners Association (HSSPA) is a volunteer-run organization open to the spouses and partners of all Harvard students, post-docs, visiting fellows and other affiliates. HSSPA provides a way for its members to make friends, find intellectual stimulation, and feel a sense of belonging within the University. Additional information can be found at http://hsspa.harvard.edu/.
Harvard Neighbors, a volunteer and membership organization, hosts an infant and toddler playgroup. The Infant & Toddler Playgroup invites parents with infants and toddlers (0-3 years) meet to share friendship, experiences and activities. Expectant parents are also welcome. Please contact Lynn Trever at 617-733-7543 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Harvard Community Child Care Bulletin Board is an online portal to share child care and other parenting information with others in the Harvard community. (You must have a Harvard ID and PIN to sign in.)
The Graduate Students Parents List is open to students at Harvard who are parents.
There are two private nursing rooms on campus, one in WCC and one in Areeda. The rooms are equipped with refrigerators and a hospital grade breast pump. The rooms are available to Harvard affiliated nursing mothers. Please contact Stephanie Russo (srusso@law, 617-495-7883) in the Dean of Students Office for details and to register for access to the rooms.
On-Campus Child Care
Six nonprofit, independent child care centers are located on our campuses – five on the Cambridge campus and one in Allston near Harvard Business School. Each center is independent, and makes its own decisions regarding enrollment and curriculum.
If you are interested in a place at one of these centers, you should visit those that interest you and apply as early as possible as places are limited. Generally, contracts run from September through July in the child care centers, although mid-year slots open occasionally.
To learn more about the on-campus child care centers:
Off Campus Group Child Care
High-quality, affordable child care is in high demand in the greater Boston area. The following resources are designed to make your search a little easier:
Use Harvard’s online child care bulletin board to exchange child care information with others in our community.
To get a list of licensed family day care providers and group child care centers in your community, visit the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.
Several nonprofit agencies are members of the Massachusetts Child Care Resource and Referral Network and can help you find child care:
Child Care Choices of Boston serves Boston, Brookline, Cambridge, Chelsea, Somerville, Revere, and Winthrop.
Child Care Circuit serves several towns near Harvard’s campuses including Arlington, Belmont, Medford, Newton, and Watertown, as well as many others.
Community Care for Kids serves Braintree, Cohasset, Dedham, Hull, Milton, Needham, Quincy, Randolph, Wellesley, Weston, and Weymouth.
Public Schools for School Age Children
Each city or town has its own public schools for school-aged children. You must contact your local school department to inquire about its enrollment procedure. Information about Cambridge Public School District can be found at http://www.cpsd.us/departments/frc or by contacting the Family Resource Center, 617-349-6551
Please visit Harvard’s Work/Life website for additional information about childcare and parenting supports.