Graduate Emergency Fund

The Graduate Emergency Fund was created to assist graduate and professional students with urgent financial needs due to unanticipated expenses – for example, unexpected or emergency medical expenses, or temporary housing for displacement due to fire, flood, or other unforeseen circumstances. Emergency Fund applications are evaluated by University administrators who work with and understand the needs of graduate students. For more details, including information on the scope of funding, eligibility, and the application process, visit the Graduate Emergency Fund page.

Penn Libraries

Penn Libraries transformed the Class of 1937 Memorial Reading Room on the 5th Floor of the Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center into an exclusive graduate student study space in August 2016. This study space is designed to meet the needs of graduate and professional students, who rely heavily on the collections and spaces within the Libraries to do their research. The space, only accessible by card swipe, provides a quiet atmosphere conducive to serious study and includes carrels for individual study, a variety of other seating and work-surface options, and a lactation room. Find more information, including library hours, on the Penn Libraries website.

Graduate Group Review Feedback Form

The Vice Provost for Education has created a form for graduate students to provide feedback on their academic experiences. The form can be submitted anonymously. Feedback will be incorporated into Graduate Group reviews and will be used to improve graduate education experiences. Students can access the form here.

Bias Reporting

Based on feedback from graduate student leadership, Penn launched a streamlined online system to report non-emergency incidents of bias and microaggressions. This system can be used to report incidents of bias involving students, faculty, or staff. Students can access the Bias Incident Reporting Form here.

In addition, the University has the following resource offices available to respond to complaints and concerns:

Ph.D. Student Funding Packages

Penn offers full funding packages for most Ph.D. students, which include scholarships covering tuition and fees, stipends for four years or more, medical insurance, and fitness center memberships.

Since 2005, Penn has increased the minimum stipend for Ph.D. students by an average of 3.7 percent each year, with higher increases over the past four years (4 percent or more). Beginning in the 2023-24 academic year, the University will raise the minimum stipend to $38,000 (up from $30,547). This is the largest one-time increase in the University’s history, determined after extensive collaboration across our nine schools and with GAPSA.

Medical and Dental Care

Penn offers a benefits-rich health insurance package to fully funded Ph.D. students. It provides comprehensive coverage, including an unlimited lifetime maximum benefit, prescription coverage, treatment for mental illness and substance abuse, comprehensive infertility and Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) coverage, and no maximum amount limit on gender confirmation surgery. Students also receive discounted gym memberships through Husk (previously called GlobalFit).

Insurance Grants for Ph.D. Students

Penn has committed over $1 million in annual funding for need-based grants to Ph.D. students in good standing to help defray the costs of extended health insurance, as well as optional dental insurance. For more information, including on the application process and deadlines, visit the Insurance Grants website.

Advising & Mentoring Ph.D. Students

Responding to student requests for more clarification about advising expectations, the University developed a uniform guide for students and faculty on Advising & Mentoring Ph.D. Students. A link to the guide is available here.


Penn provides a number of fellowships to further support student research and travel.

Presidential Ph.D. Fellowships

The President’s Ph.D. Initiative supports Presidential Ph.D. Fellows receive a competitive funding package, which includes $10,000 in research funds for three years. For more details, see the President’s Ph.D. Initiative website.

Penn Global Dissertation Grants

Created in 2023, Penn Global Dissertation Grants provide support of up to $8,000 to Penn Ph.D. students who wish to add and/or enhance global components in their dissertation research. The program serves Penn Global's twin goals to 1) provide every Penn student with a meaningful global experience, and 2) to produce research with global impact. Penn Today highlighted the first winners of these new grants.

Fontaine Fellowships

Fontaine Fellowships support the academic development of PhD students whose background, research, and experiences demonstrate an interest and capacity to enhance a broadly diverse and inclusive learning community. For more details, see the Fontaine Society website.

Provost’s Graduate Academic Engagement Fellowship

Graduate Academic Engagement Fellows are outstanding students whose scholarship significantly involves Academically Based Community Service (ABCS) and related activities, including locally based community problem-solving, engaged scholarship, service learning, and learning by teaching in public schools. For more information about the fellowship and how to apply, see the Netter Center website.

Expanded GAPSA-Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation

The Office of the Provost and GAPSA have together increased financial commitment to enable significant expansion of the GAPSA-Provost Fellowship for Interdisciplinary Innovation, providing funding for more students and for application during any or all semesters. For more information about this fellowship, visit the GAPSA website.

The President Gutmann Leadership Award

The Office of the President generously provides additional funding to augment GAPSA’s programs for graduate student travel. The award is given to students presenting their research at a conference (either within the United States or internationally) that would normally be out of their budget, even with an individual travel grant through GAPSA. For more information, visit the GAPSA website.

Ph.D. Leave of Absence Policy

The Ph.D. Student Leave of Absence policy allows Ph.D. students to take a leave of absence for military duty, medical reasons, or family leave. Military, medical, and family leave “stops the clock” on time to completion. Personal leave for other reasons may be granted with the approval of the Graduate Group Chair in consultation with the Graduate Dean of the student’s school, but does not, absent exceptional circumstances, “stop the clock” on time to completion.

Ph.D. students whose funding includes health insurance coverage will receive one full semester of Penn Student Insurance Plan (PSIP) coverage while on medical or family leave. Students can petition for a second semester of coverage. Additional information about the Ph.D. Student Leave of Absence Policy can be found here.

The Family Resource Center

Penn offers all student parents access to the Family Resource Center, which includes a children’s playroom and family reading room, as well as a private and fully equipped lactation room (please note, lactation rooms are also available throughout campus). The Center is designed to provide a welcoming environment at the heart of campus, where families can meet each other, participate in activities, build networks across campus, and learn more about resources for schools, daycare, and other activities. Located at 3615 Locust Walk, the Center is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the academic year. For additional information, visit the Family Resource Center website.

Family Grant Program

Penn provides significant support for Ph.D. students with families. In the words of former Provost Vincent Price: “You do not have to choose between having a family and pursuing an academic career.”

The Family Grant Program provides need-based grants to eligible Ph.D. students with children. The program also offsets the costs of childcare and other expenses as well as dependent health insurance. Find more information on the Family Grant Program on the Family Resource Center website.

Centralized New Parent Accommodation and Family Leave Policies

Students in a Ph.D. program at Penn are eligible for eight weeks of time off (accommodation) for the birth or adoption of a child. They can also take an unpaid Family Leave of Absence for one or two semesters for the birth or adoption of a child, childcare, or to care for an immediate family member (spouse, domestic partner, child, or parent) with a serious health condition.

Find more information about Penn’s leave policies for Ph.D. student parents and access the Ph.D. Family Leave Request Form here.

Additional Support for Student Parents

Penn also provides subsidized backup care and family support resources and discounts for students with children so families can find the flexible childcare options they need. Find more information about how to access these benefits on the Family Resource Center website.

The University has been steadily increasing the number of lactation rooms and baby changing stations across campus. Review the map of on-campus lactation spaces to find the locations most convenient to you.