Student leave policies
The Caregivers Working group of TNS is working on making the community more family friendly, and this includes our student environment. While there is currently no university-wide policy in place to support students who become caregivers, especially new parents, individual programs might have policies or standard procedures for caregivers in place and we recommend you reach out to your professors and department heads to discuss your options. Also know that there are regulations in place to protect you from discrimination and support you during and after childbirth.
TNS students who become pregnant during their studies are covered by Title IX legislation which requires schools who receive federal funding to provide pregnant students with equal access to classes and extracurricular activities on campus, reasonable accommodations in the classroom, excused absences or time to make up missed classes when related to pregnancy and childbirth, and protection against discrimination (National Women’s Law Center, 2015 and the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights).
TNS has a Title IX coordinator who is there to support you, particularly if you are unable to get accommodations for your pregnancy. Her contact details are:
Jennifer Francone, AVP for Student Life
72 Fifth Avenue, 4th floor
New York, NY 10011
Leave of Absence
While there is no family leave (maternity or paternity) for students at TNS, students are able to take a Leave of Absence from school for up to one year without penalty. More information on this can be found here (and here for international students).
For those students with student loans – Remember to discuss your leave of absence with your loan servicer, as a leave of absence will send your loan into repayment after your six month grace period.
International students should also be aware that taking a leave of absence, medical or otherwise, on “F1 and J1 visas normally fall out of status and must leave the United States the during a leave of absence.” (TNS International Student Services)
Before you consider taking a leave of absence, make sure to reach out to your professors for extra time, support and perhaps an incomplete. Know that you are welcomed in our community and that there are people on campus here to support you. This includes our Title IX coordinator who may be able to help you with your situation and us, at the Caregiver Working group.
Many programs and professors will offer incompletes for students who give birth or experience a major life event during their course. Most programs allow 1 full year to make up the coursework before that Incomplete becomes a NP (no-pass). If the Incomplete was given as a form of accommodation for Title IX, know that you do not have to pay a fee to audit the class again to make up coursework and many professors will allow you to make up that coursework as an independent study at the graduate and PhD levels.
However, there is one major downfall to taking an Incomplete which is that during the time you take to finish the coursework, you will not be receiving credits. For example, if you take a course in Fall and are unable to finish it, and you are granted an Incomplete by your professor you transcript will show that you received the full credits of the course and an Incomplete for Fall. If you then take 6 months to make up the coursework (say by the end of the following Spring) you will not receive credit for that class during those 6 months. This means that if you need a full time student status for student loans, scholarships, or employment this course will not count and you will need to make sure that you are able to take an entire course load plus finish that Incomplete to not be penalized.
For more information and to determine if this is the right option for you, please speak with your program and visit the academic policies section on the New School website.
Maintenance of Status
Some NS programs offer Maintenance of Status for a fee to students graduate, and doctoral students who are working on their dissertation after they have finished their coursework. Those students who need to take a leave of absence, including new caregivers, but would like to keep their full time student status might be offered this option in lieu of a family leave policy. Ask your department whether this is an option for you and the required fee. (Fees can also be found on the NS website for Tuition and Fees.)
Know that on our campus we are working to make the community more family friendly which includes lactation booths, changing tables and a list of nearby reliable and affordable childcare and part of all of that is keeping you part of it.