Pregnant and Parenting Students

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex — including pregnancy, parenting
and all related conditions — in education and in programs and activities that receive
federal funding. If you are a pregnant or parenting student, you have the right to
stay in school so you can meet your education and career goals. Below are some frequently
asked questions from students in postsecondary schools regarding their Title IX rights.

How can I use Title IX to ensure that my pregnancy or family responsibility do not
interfere with my education? 

Title IX requires professors and administrators treat pregnancy, childbirth and related
conditions in the same manner and under the same policies as any other temporary disability.
The university can require a pregnant student to provide a doctor’s certification
of fitness to continue in an education program or activity only if the same requirement
is imposed on all other students with physical or emotional conditions requiring a
doctor’s care. Pregnant students must be provided the same accommodations and support
services available to other students with similar medical needs. Your professors or
administrators should not tell you that you have to drop out of your classes or academic
program or change your educational plans due to your pregnancy.

Do my professors have to excuse my absences due to pregnancy, childbirth, or other
pregnancy related issues? 

Absences due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions cannot be treated
or penalized like unexcused absences. When deemed necessary by your medical doctor,
absences should be excused.  After returning from an excused absence, your professors
should allow a reasonable amount of time to make up missed assignments and tests.
The makeup assignments and tests must be reasonably equivalent to those missed, but
need not be identical. If a professor provides specific “points” or other advantages
to students based on class attendance, you must be given the opportunity to earn back
the credit from classes missed due to pregnancy. Under Title IX, pregnant students
are entitled to the same benefits offered to students with other medical conditions,
illness or injury.

Does the university need to provide me with special academic services, like tutoring? 

Title IX requires the university provide pregnant students with any special services
we provide to students with any other type of temporary disabilities. Please contact
the Title IX Office for more information.

If my program requires internships, career rotations or other off-campus elements,
can I be excluded from participation? 

No. Your program must allow you to continue participating in off-campus programs.
If your program provides opportunities to “work in the field,” you cannot be excluded
based on your pregnancy. Your professor cannot require a doctor’s note for continued
participation unless your professor requires one for all students who have a medical
condition that requires treatment by a doctor. If they do ask for a note, they cannot
second-guess your doctor’s decision.

What if classmates or professors have made offensive comments about my pregnancy? 

Title IX requires the university prevent and address sex-based harassment, including
harassment based on pregnancy. If you experience this sort of treatment, you should
seek help immediately. The law prohibits anyone from retaliating against you for filing
a complaint or raising a concern. You may file a complaint at

I would like to take a semester off. Can I keep my student status, scholarships, etc.? 

You will keep your status as a student for up to one year. If you want to take off
more time than your doctor says is medically necessary, please contact the Title IX
Coordinator or Title IX Specialist.

What if I work for the school as a graduate assistant, in addition to being a student?
Do I still have the same rights? Do I qualify for maternity leave? 

Your rights as an employee are different from your rights as a student. If you work
for the school, you may be eligible for family or medical leave, or may qualify for
maternity leave under the school’s policy, but that may not include leave from your
classes, beyond what is medically necessary.


Yazmyn Smith, MS, CHES®

Director of Compliance

[email protected]