3 crocheted baby hats

Family-friendly funding at the University of Waterloo

At Waterloo we understand that many of our graduate students are, (or are about to become) parents who are trying to balance their studies with family obligations. This juggling act can sometimes be overwhelming but don’t worry – you’re not alone. We are here to help support you throughout this journey!

Waterloo is proud to be one of the leading Universities making graduate studies accessible to parents through our family-friendly funding opportunities.

The parental leave and day care bursary programs offered through Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) have a long-standing history of providing a supportive and accessible environment to graduate students. In 2017, these bursaries received national recognition when Waterloo was honoured with the 2017 Canadian Association of Graduate Studies (CAGS) Award of Excellence and Innovation for Enhancing the Graduate Student Experience.

The Graduate Student Parental Leave Bursary provides funding to eligible graduate students for up to two terms while they are inactive. This allows them to spend valuable time with their newly growing family while alleviating some financial concerns.

Graduate Student Day Care Bursaries are available to eligible graduate students with day care expenses. This funding helps ensure our students can focus on their studies/research when they need to - with the peace of mind that their children are being cared for while reducing some of the financial burden.

We believe that individuals should not be forced to choose between getting a graduate degree and starting/growing their family. These family-friendly funding programs allow individuals to do both – which is why choosing a family-friendly school can add to your overall success and experience as a graduate student.

Prior to the pandemic, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs (GSPA) launched an initiative where nearly 50 babies were enveloped in love with baby blankets, booties and hats that were handmade by staff. We know students are much more than just their student number so making these sorts of connections is very rewarding for us. One of our greatest joys is receiving pictures of our newest graduate community members or having the chance to meet with them in person!

As the proverb says, “it takes a village to raise a child” and we are honoured to play a small role in your village. If you have children or are planning to start your family during graduate studies, we would love to hear from you!