Dividing time between work and home life can be taxing, but Ivy League universities’ family-oriented benefits ease the stress for their employees.
A comparison with several other Ivies demonstrated that Penn’s benefits for families of faculty and staff are in line with its peer institutions.
At Penn, one advantage of being a University employee is the opportunity to receive subsidies on children’s college tuition. Employees who have worked at the University for at least three years receive a 75-percent discount on Penn’s $36,000 tuition — a cost reduction valued at approximately $27,000 — or the equivalent of 40 percent of Penn’s tuition if their child chooses to attend another accredited university.
At Princeton, Brown and Yale universities, children of faculty receive between $10,000 and $15,000 for tuition at any institution, according to their websites.
Columbia University provides children of faculty with 50 percent of tuition at any university. Additionally, Columbia sponsors a scholarship for these children when they’re younger — covering 10 to 35 percent of kindergarten through eighth grade tuition at private school, according to their website.
At Cornell University, children of employees can attend Cornell for 50 percent of the total price, and other universities with a 30-percent subsidy.
Another peer institution, Vanderbilt University, was the first college to be recognized last year by CNN Money’s list of “100 Best Companies to Work For” primarily because of its tuition program. Children of Vanderbilt employees get a 70-percent tuition subsidy at any college in the country.
“It’s something that keeps me there,” said Vanderbilt lecturer Rachel Chiguluri, a mother of two children under 10 years old.
In addition to tuition benefits, Ivy human resources departments have made an effort to aid parents with young children.
This year, Yale was recognized as one of Working Mother’s “100 Best Companies” to work for. Among its attractive features for parents are five on-site childcare centers, 40 hours of free backup childcare each year and campus lactation rooms, according to the Yale website.
Cornell has won the Working Mother award several times in the past, and offers similar benefits, including semester-long teaching relief and year-long tenure clock stoppage for new parents, and up to $5,000 of awards for both adoption and childcare costs.
“We hire a lot of young professors and we expect that they will be starting families or have families,” Cornell spokesperson Claudia Wheatley said.
Harvard University, on the other hand, does not provide tuition assistance for their employees, according to Sarah Bennett-Astesano, assistant director at Harvard’s Office of Work/Life.
“It can be a real hardship for faculty given their salaries and given the cost of tuition,” Harvard professor Maria Tatar said. “I’m still paying my children’s tuition,” she added, even though her two children graduated in 2004 and 2006.
Harvard, which has been criticized by its employers in the past for not having enough family-oriented benefits, has made recent efforts to head in a similar direction.
When Tatar had her children in 1984 and 1986, there was no parental leave policy. “I taught a graduate seminar and went straight to the delivery room afterwards,” she recalled. Tatar then had to return to work two weeks later, relying on her colleagues to cover for her during her leave.
Now, Harvard offers new parents either a semester or two of paid leave — depending on circumstance.
Harvard also offers childcare scholarships that are “portable,” and can be used to defray costs of a nanny, licensed family daycare or group-based childcare, according to Bennett-Astesano.
“Now, during the current economic climate, Harvard is doing very well in comparison to peer institutions,” Tatar said of the University’s employee benefits.
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