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Frequently Asked Questions

Responses to administrators’ frequently asked questions on Title IX, pregnancy and student rights.
Who is responsible for supporting pregnant students on my campus?

A variety of administrators play a role in supporting pregnant students.  Key offices will include your institution’s Title IX and ADA offices. Every federally funded institution must have a Title IX coordinator who can provide training on Title IX, prevent violations and oversee the Title IX complaint process. In addition, every school and department is responsible for ensuring its policies are in compliance with Title IX.

For more information, see our page on key administrators.

Can I require a faculty-member to excuse a student’s absence due to pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage, abortion, or related conditions?

Yes. Title IX requires that, at minimum, faculty excuse medically-necessary absences related to these conditions.  This is a requirement of federal law and applies regardless of a professor’s attendance policy.  So that they may return in the status they held prior to their absence, students returning from leave must be permitted to make up any credits missed, including exams, projects, and in-class participation credits.  Any make-up work assigned should be comparable with the amount of work given to other students, not extra.  The university is responsible for ensuring these rules are followed by its faculty.

Must my institution provide accommodations for pregnant students?

Yes, students with impairments relating to pregnancy, childbirth, or related conditions are eligible for accommodations.  At minimum, Title IX provides that any special services or accommodations provided to students with temporary disabilities be provided to pregnant students.  Depending upon the student’s condition, their right to accommodations may also be protected under the ADA. Accommodations range from providing more accessible desks to establishing home study programs. Your designated official must engage in an interactive discussion with the student regarding any accommodation requests she makes.  For assistance in managing an accommodation request, contact your school’s Title IX office and/or ADA office.

What if professors or departments have their own attendance or accommodation policies?

Every institution of higher education that is bound by Title IX must ensure that their professors and departments do not discriminate against pregnant students.  Your university is responsible for educating faculty of these legal requirements and ensuring that they are followed.

Does Title IX cover employees?

Title IX also protects employees from sex discrimination due to pregnancy or parental status in hiring, recruitment, benefits, and on the job.  In addition to being entitled to leave for a reasonable period of time, an employee who is pregnant, has recently undergone childbirth, or is a new parent, may be entitled to additional paid or unpaid job-protected leave under federal or state employment laws or school policy.  This may include student employees and postdoctoral employees. 

Does Title IX impact research?

Title IX covers all aspects of the educational program, including the lab and clinical settings.  Researchers are covered by Title IX’s protections for students, employees, or both.  For those who need help managing research demands while a student or employee is on leave, assistance is often available from the university or granting agency to pay for a temporary replacement.  Granting agencies also often “stop the clock” for researchers impacted by family/medical leave. 

To learn more about grants and Title IX obligations, see Federal Grants and Title IX.

For more information, contact us.

New Title IX Regulations are HERE! To learn more and be the first to receive our updated materials, visit our Title IX Updates page.