Frequently Asked Questions

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What do I do if I am experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and do not know where to turn?

Contact the SPHC for an intake appointment. We’ll help you figure out a plan to finish your degree and show you the resources and support you can receive along the way. This includes but is not limited to: Finding child care, paying for child care, tips for notifying professors about pregnancy leave, free baby supplies, parent mentors to talk to, a parent support group and other resources designed to help student parents remain and succeed in college.

Does the Student Parent HELP Center serve graduate, professional, and/or international student parents?

Yes. For the past 35 years, the SPHC has been charged to serve the undergraduate student parent population only, but as of the ’16-’17 academic year we began serving graduate students on child care grants specifically when the Post Secondary Child Care Grant (PSCCG) expanded eligibility statewide, to graduate and professional students. We now have an additional, full time dedicated Graduate Student Parent Counselor to serve the needs of graduate and professional students, and at least one of the sponsored child care grants is open to international students as well.

What do I do if I can’t go to class because my child is sick?

The University of Minnesota’s attendance policy includes the illness of a student or his or her dependent. Your instructor or professor may not be aware of the University of Minnesota’s policy. If after mentioning the fact the U of M policy includes illness of dependent child as an excused absence they are still not approving your absence, please contact the SPHC. We can assist you in communicating with your instructor or professor and provide support letters if needed. There are also broader, federal Title IX protections that go beyond short term absences, that we can also explain and assist with when pregnancy related extended absences occur. 

What do I do if I’m feeling disconnected from the community at the University of Minnesota?

Student parents often feel disconnected from their classmates. Undergraduate student parents may come to 24 Appleby Hall to connect with other student parents of all ages and come to the Parents as Students Support (PASS) group meetings on Wednesdays from 12-2 p.m. PASS includes a free lunch, open chat with student parent peers, and varied topics of interest to students who are balancing parenting with their academic life. For schedule and availability, please contact us at [email protected] or 612-626-6015.

What if I am raising my siblings or other related children?

The SPHC serves all parenting students caring for dependent children regardless of your relationship. However, please be aware childcare grant guidelines can require listing of dependents officially on FAFSA. If you have questions about your specific circumstance, please feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] or 612-626-6015.

What if I am a parent who is also older than average?

The SPHC serves and welcomes students of all ages, even those with grown children!

What do I do if I don’t have child care and don’t know where to start looking?

There are several campus based child care centers. Contact the SPHC for an appointment and we can provide more in-depth assistance from our trained social work staff regarding more options in the greater Twin Cities community at [email protected] or 612-626-6015.

What do I do if I don’t have money to pay for quality child care while I am attending college?

Contact the SPHC about your eligibility for the Post-Secondary Child Care Grant. The PSCCG can provide free grant funds to eligible students to assist them in paying for child care. There is also now a University of Minnesota Twin Cities Student Services Fees Child Care Assistance Grant (USSFCCAG) which can provide child care assistance for those not meeting the residency requirements for the state sponsored PSCCG, including international students. Please call the SPHC to be screened for PSCCG and USSFCCAG  eligibility. If you are not eligible for the PSCCG, we can also provide information about other child care assistance options, including forms to request an expansion of your loan eligibility to help you pay for child care.

What do I do if I’d like to live on or close to campus? Does the University of Minnesota have family housing units?

There are two family housing units located on or close to the U of M campus! Click here for more information.

What do I do if I’m feeling overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or depressed?

There are a number of resources available to you. Start looking here. You can also contact Student Counseling Services to make an appointment to speak with someone about how you’re feeling. You can also make an appointment at the SPHC to go over any of these options in more detail, especially if the stress is related to parenting or family responsibilities.

What do I do if I’m having trouble balancing parenting, work and classes? Where can I go for academic help?

Make an appointment with the SPHC. We can speak with you confidentially about your situation, help you resolve the issue directly and/or provide you with a wide range of campus and community based academic, mental health, economic, family, and related resources. The SPHC is your campus-based touch stone to assist you in balancing your academic and family needs. If we cannot help you, we will refer you to someone who can and stay with you until the issue is resolved.

What do I do if I want to sign up for public assistance programs like WIC, SNAP, MFIP or MA?

We can assist you with general information about applying for the programs that are right for you in your county. We can also advocate for those already receiving benefits who may have reached barriers within the system or are worried benefits are being terminated. Contact us at [email protected] or 612-626-6015.

What if I am having issues with benefits I’ve already been screened for or need proof of enrollment for my worker?

We can help you navigate these programs. We can also advocate for those already receiving benefits who may have reached barriers within the system or are worried benefits are being terminated. Contact us at [email protected] or 612-626-6015.

What do I do if I’m experiencing food insecurity?

Contact the SPHC for an appointment. We can assist you with creating a plan for food security. If you need immediate assistance, there are several food shelves that can help you get temporary, immediate food support. Click here to search for help in the larger community. Additionally, the U of M now has its own campus based food bank, Nutritious U, open to all enrolled students in need.