Supporting Parents at Penn

PWC Lactation Room and Parenting Support

PWC collaborates with partners across campus to advocate on behalf of parents at Penn and help make ours a truly family friendly campus. Here at the center we have a fully equipped lactation/diaper changing room that is accessible to all and open whenever the center is open. There is very occasionally a short wait time to use the room, and we do ask that all users register with us so that we can track usage and use this aggregated data to advocate for more lactation spaces around campus. We work closely with the Family Resource Center as well as the group "Parents @ Penn" to run programs and initiatives that support the needs of parents. For more information about the lactation room at the Penn Women's Center, email:

PWC/GAPSA Pump-Kit Giveaway Program

With generous financial support from Penn's Graduate and Professional Student Association, PWC runs a Medela Pump kit give-away program for all members of the Penn community. These kits are compatible with the hospital grade Medela Symphony pumps that are availble for use in many of Penn's lactation rooms, including PWC's. If you are interested in receiving a pump kit, please contact the Penn Women's Center to request an application form. Spouses and partners of Penn community members are also eligible for pump kits through this program. For more information about PWC's Medela Pump kit give-away program, email:

Penn's Lactation Policy & Rooms

Click here for information outlining Penn's lactation policy and for a comprehensive list of other lactation spaces on campus. Please note that some spaces have restrictions on usage and hours.

Many lactation spaces on campus provide a Medela Symphony breast pump.

Health Insurance

Penn requires that all full-time and dissertation students have health insurance. Students can elect the Penn Student Insurance Plan (PSIP) or other acceptable alternative coverage.

Penn Student Insurance Plan
The Penn Student Insurance Plan (PSIP) is available for all students, as well as their dependents (spouses, domestic partners and children). You will be automatically enrolled in the PSIP unless you provide proof of acceptable alternative coverage by the deadline. However, your dependents are not automatically enrolled in PSIP; you must enroll them through the on-line system. For more information about PSIP, the costs, and how to enroll, go to the Student Health Insurance website.

Private Insurance
There are other health insurance options in addition to PSIP, but your private insurance must qualify as acceptable alternate coverage. The Student Health Insurance website has more information about acceptable alternate coverage requirements.

For more information about private health insurance options, including options for low-income families, please visit the Pennsylvania Insurance Department website. Low-income families may also want to review information about the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Additional information about these programs and other social services for Pennsylvania residents is available through the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Access to Social Services (COMPASS) website. Finally, there is also useful information at Covering Kids & Families.


Healthcare during Pregnancy

Expectant mothers can go to Penn's Student Health Center for Women's Health services, which are available even if you are not enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan.  Prenatal care is also provided by Penn Ob/Gyn Associates located at 3701 Market Street.  For additional information about services provided, please visit: OB Care at HUP

Additionally, the Philadelphia Alliance for Labor Support provides trained labor and birth support people (doulas) free of charge to women who would otherwise be unable to access doula care.

Finally, you can also check your health insurance carrier for a list of Ob/Gyn doctors in their network.


There is a daycare facility on campus: The Penn Children's Center is located at 3160 Chestnut Street; be aware that there is a long waiting list to enroll.

The Parent Infant Center is located near campus. The University maintains a list of all childcare centers near campus.

Pennsylvania's Human Services Department provides an on-line childcare provider search database to find providers throughout the state. In addition, Pennsylvania's Department of Education provides a helpful checklist when looking for a provider.

Low-Income families may qualify for Pennsylvania's "Child Care Works" Subsidized Child Care Program. For more information about these programs and additional resources for Pennsylvania parents, check out the Child Care Information Services of Philadelphia website.

Family Grant Program for PhD Students

In 2011, Former Provost Vincent Price and former Vice Provost for Education Andrew Binns created the Family Grant Program for PhD Students, which provides need-based grants to eligible PhD students with children. The Family Grant helps to offset the cost of childcare and other expenses for PhD students with children. Eligible PhD students may receive up to $5,000 for their first child and $2,500 for each additional child with a maximum of $10,000 per family. Grants are awarded annually, and you will be expected to reapply each year.

For more information about the Penn grants for PhD students with families, please visit: