Students with Dependents


Pregnant and Parenting Students

We understand that being a student with dependents (pregnant and parenting student) is an important facet of your identity, and we want you to be proudly visible on campus as both a parent and a student.

National research indicates that 26% of all undergraduate students have dependents. On average, student parents earn higher grade point averages, yet their retention rates are significantly lower than other students (52% of student parents drop out within six years of enrolling, compared to 32% of non-parents). Cal Poly’s goal is to ensure that all student parents have the support and resources they need to overcome challenges and succeed in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment. We encourage you to use this resource page to find community and campus resources available to you and your family.

Stay In Touch & Apply For Special Exception (Priority Registration)!

Please fill out the forms below to stay up-to-date with our program, and get connected to resources and services available for pregnant and parenting students. NOTE: Currently, Cal Poly does not offer special exceptions for Summer Quarters.

Join the Community!

Apply for Priority Registration

On Campus Resources

We have various support services designed to help pregnant and parenting students succeed and thrive at Cal Poly.

Frequently Asked Questions 

How can I get a parking permit? 

  • Short-term and time-limited parking permits may be purchased through the Parking Portal. Commuter students must purchase long-term parking permits through the waitlist. Permits are randomized, awarded through a lottery system, and must be purchased within three (3) days of lottery award email notice. For more information on parking permits, please refer here or email Parking & Transportation Services at  

Can I still get a parking permit after the waitlist closes? 

  • Yes, students with dependents may still purchase long-term parking permits after the waitlist closes. Please send your EMPLID and full name to so that we may reach out to Parking and Transportation Services on your behalf. 

I am pregnant and would like to take one to two quarters off. Can I keep my status as a student, scholarships, etc.?

  • You may be eligible to take 1-2 quarters of Informal Time Off while maintaining your active student status. To qualify for Informal Time Off, you must have been enrolled for at least one term at Cal Poly and received either a letter grade or a “W” in one of more courses. You may extend your time away by initiating a formal Leave of Absence for up to 1 year at a time (with a maximum of 2 years). Your college’s Retention Specialist is here to support you in navigating your options and connecting you to campus resources. 

    As you plan to take time away from Cal Poly, it is important that you connect with the Financial Aid Office to ensure that your financial aid/scholarships/grants, etc. are not impacted. If you are part of any student programs (Cal Poly Scholars, EOP, Trio, Honors, Athletics, etc.), you may need to inform the program advisor/coordinator about your plans to take time away. 

How can I use Title IX to ensure that my pregnancy or family responsibilities 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 note to continue in an education program or activity only if the same requirement is imposed on all other students with disabilities. 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 withdrawal from your courses or change your educational plans due to your pregnancy. If you have a concern regarding your status as a pregnant or parenting student at Cal Poly, please contact Maren Hufton, Director of the Civil Right & Compliance Office. Maren may be contacted at 805-756-6770 or

Do my professors have to excuse my absences due to pregnancy, childbirth or abortion?

  • Absences due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions must be excused and cannot be treated or penalized like unexcused absences. Your professors must provide you a leave of absence for as long as it is deemed necessary by your medical doctor. At the end of your leave, you must be reinstated to the status you held prior to your leave. After returning from an excused absence, your professors must 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.

What if my professors claim their absence/makeup policy applies regardless of any medical condition?

  • While your professor may have a strict attendance policy, the university is bound by federal civil rights law. Title IX requires the university ensure that all faculty and staff comply with the law and do not discriminate against pregnant and parenting students. An individual professor’s policy cannot break the law. Please email the Civil Right & Compliance Office at if you have questions about your professor’s attendance policy as it relates to your pregnancy or parental responsibilities.

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 all elements of your program. If your department provides “learn by doing” opportunities, 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 to me 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. The university’s complaint process can be found on the Title IX website.

Priority Registration

How can I gain Special Exception status or priority registration?

  • Students with dependents interested in receiving Special Exception Registration must complete and submit the Special Exception Form to be considered for priority registration.

Do I have to submit the Special Exception Form every quarter to be considered for priority registration? 

  • No, special exception status will rollover from quarter to quarter.  

Can I receive priority registration in summer? 

  • Students with dependents do not have summer exceptions. Students with dependents special exception status is reserved for the regular academic year – fall through spring quarters. Although students with dependents do not receive summer exceptions, students have reported that registering for summer classes is generally not an issue. 

Basic Needs

FOOD RESOURCES - Cal Poly offers and collaborates with a number of helpful food resources to support students with dependents including The Cal Poly Food Pantry, the SLO Food BankCalFresh, and the Meal Voucher Program.

HOUSING RESOURCES - As Cal Poly does not currently offer on-campus housing for students with dependents, here are some resources for identifying and securing off-campus housing.

  • Off Campus Housing Program - The Off-Campus Housing Program was established to provide students and community stakeholders with connections and resources to improve student success as they live in the San Luis Obispo community. Discover information regarding tenant rights, budgeting tools, and local complexes and property management companies.
  • Additional Housing Resources
    • Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo is committed to building and maintaining affordable housing for citizens in our community. They also offer a Deposit Loan Repayment Program on a referral basis.
    • The Paso Robles Housing Authority provides quality, affordable housing, that promotes quality of life through a healthy community. Their rents are targeted to qualified families making 30%-60% of San Luis Obispo County area median income.
    • HomeShare SLO facilitates homeshare matches between housing providers and people looking for housing.

Financial Resources

Financial Aid Office - The Financial Aid office is here to help students secure the resources to fund your education. Find information regarding how to apply for aid, calculating your cost of attendance, available forms of financial aid (including scholarships), and important dates for managing your financial aid process.

Cal Poly Cares - Cal Poly Cares provides limited financial assistance to currently enrolled Cal Poly students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses because of temporary hardship related to an unexpected situation. The grant is designated to offset a short-term financial need and is not intended to replace or supplement financial aid.

The California Earned Income Tax Credit (CalEITC) - The California Earned Income Tax Credit, commonly known as the CalEITC, is a refundable tax credit that provides economic support to Californians with low incomes and helps individuals and families pay for basic needs like housing, food, and other necessities. See link for more information and to check if you qualify.

The Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC) - The Young Child Tax Credit (YCTC) provides a credit up $1,083 per tax return for Californians who qualify for CalEITC and have a child under 6 years old. See link below for more information about qualifying and how to claim this credit.

Health & Wellness Resources

Cal Poly Campus Health and Wellbeing - This campus resources provides care year-round by appointment and on a walk-in basis to students. In addition to ambulatory care, they offer lab testing, on-site X-Rays, prescription medications, counseling services, holistic wellbeing services, and survivor support and advocacy.

Campus Breastfeeding and Lactation Room - Lactation rooms are spaces provided by Cal Poly for the purposes for expression for milk. Each room is secluded, private, and free from intrusion. All rooms are available on a first come, first served basis for all students, staff, faculty, and visitors. Please view the campus map showing lactation spaces across campus.

For the access code to any lactation room on campus, you may contact the Students with Dependents program at You may also contact the Civil Rights & Compliance Office at (805) 756-6770 or at for access codes.


Orfalea Family and ASI Children’s Center - The Orfalea Family and ASI Children’s Center mission is to provide quality early care and education services to Cal Poly students, faculty and staff. The ASI Children’s Center provides services to children from 4-months to 6-years old and operates year around Monday – Friday from 7:30am to 6:00pm. Student parents have priority for enrollment. The center currently has an extensive waiting list. Subsidized child care services are available for low-income families through a grant from the California Department of Education. The center also accepts CAPSLO stipends. Nutritious meals are provided with no additional cost.

Subsidized Care - Please refer to the Orfalea Family and ASI Children’s Center Policy Manual to find out more information about the subsidized care. You can also contact the Orfeala Family and ASI Children’s Center administrators for any additional questions at (805) 756-1267.

Child Care Resource Connection - The Orfeala Family and ASI Children’s Center accepts Child Care Resource Connection (CCRC) stipends. CCRC helps facilitate childcare payments for income-qualifying families through two Subsidized Payment Programs. 

Student Life & Academic Resources

Academic Services

  • Through Student Academic Services (SAS), students can utilize a network of academic services, advisors, and activities designed to assist students in excelling at Cal Poly and in enhancing their learning skills. SAS provides academic and personal advising, as well as a wide range of academic enhancement services which will support your personal growth and academic achievement at Cal Poly.
    • Educational Opportunity Program: The primary goals of the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) are to improve the access, retention and graduation of students who have been historically, economically and/or educationally disadvantaged. The core of our program services are built upon a student-centered model which encourages college success, community building, and empowerment. They provide individualized counseling, tutoring, workshops, transitional programs, financial aid, study workspace, lending library, and the Learning Living Center.
    • The Academic Skills Center (ASC) offers a variety of enrichment programs and campus support services. Programs include Supplemental Workshops in Math and Science and Study Session groups for challenging entry-level STEM courses. Campus support includes online study strategies and a list of campus tutoring services.
  • Academic Advising - There are many options for academic counseling at Cal Poly depending on your needs. It is recommended that you reach out to your college for guidance on Academic Advising.

  • Graduate Education Office - The Graduate Education Office serves students at the graduate level with graduate forms, steps to graduation, resources, thesis writing, and financial resources.

  • Robert E. Kennedy Library - The Robert E. Kennedy Library is available for students and offers a variety of resources and services, including access to databases, research tutorials, writing and rhetoric center, book reserves from other campuses, reserved study spaces, and one-on-one appointments with librarians, and reserved study spaces. Please note, the library is currently closed for construction. 

  • Writing and Learning Center - Tutors help students improve their writing skills at any stage in the process, whether getting started or polishing a final draft. They also help students prepare for the Graduation Writing Requirement and Writing Proficiency Exam.

Disability Resource Center

  • The Disability Resource Center (DRC) cultivates an accessible and inclusive community where students with permanent and temporary disabilities have an equal opportunity to participate in all aspects of campus life. They facilitate student learning and access through partnerships with students, faculty, and staff. They provide testing, services and accommodations to students with disabilities.

Career Services

Career Services offers career resources and services to current students, alumni, and faculty/staff, including MustangJobs, career counseling, resume and cover letter assistance, and a clothing closet.

  • Clothing Closet: To support our students, Career Services maintains a Clothing Closet to provide students with free, high-quality work clothes to create a memorable first impression at career fairs and interviews.

Student Diversity & Belonging

Student Diversity and Belonging is a collective of campus resource centers that support and empower students experiencing marginalization, through intersectional advocacy and cultural connections to build a more just and equitable Cal Poly community. Student Diversity & Belonging is comprised of the following campus community centers organized into two cluster areas:

Gender & Sexuality

Race & Ethnicity

Parenting and Pregnant Student Rights

Office of Civil Rights & Compliance - The Civil Rights & Compliance Office (CRCO) promotes an equitable and inclusive learning and work environment at Cal Poly by advancing equal opportunities in all University programs and experiences. CRCO is a resource for students who have questions about the rights of pregnant and/or parenting students, or who need assistance with filing a report regarding violation of rights or witholding appropriate accommodations.

Protected class status is given to groups of people to provide protection from discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, gender identity including transgender, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy, age, disability or veteran status. This website provides a table of possible complaints and directs complainants to the appropriate recipient of the complaint.

Off Campus Resources

Please note that Cal Poly does not endorse any of the following resources, providers or schools. We offer this information as a courtesy to our students with dependents. This list is not comprehensive, but is actively maintained and updated throughout the year. Please be sure to thoroughly research any resources, providers, and schools before choosing to utilize them.

Local School Districts and Child Care

Public School Districts and Child Care

  • San Luis Obispo County School Districts provide public education to students in K-12.
  • CAPSLO Child and Family Services (CYFS) provides early learning and childcare programs for children, birth to age 5. Additionally, the division provides childcare subsidy services. The mission of the CYFS Division is to provide children and families who are income-eligible in our service area with a comprehensive program to meet their emotional, social, health, and nutritional needs. The programs include Early Headstart and Headstart, Migrant and Seasonal Headstart, State Preschool, and Childcare Resource Connection.
  • The San Luis Obispo County YMCA has been deeply rooted in the community for more than sixty years. Their organization is service-based and reaches nearly every area of the county. It provides summer camps, teen programs, sports, before/after school programs, preschool, and kids fun nights. At the YMCA, no one is turned away for lack of ability to pay. They provide a Financial Assistance Program for those who request and show a need for fee adjustments.
  • Boys & Girls Club of South San Luis Obispo County (BGCSLO) serves youth ages 5 to 18 in community schools and the Oceano Boys & Girls Club Teen Center. Their priority is to provide a safe place to learn and grow. With life-enhancing programs in five key areas: character and leadership development, health and life skills, education and opportunity, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation, we inspire children to live up to their potential. They provide after school programs and break camps for summer.
  • Boys & Girls Club of Mid Central Coast serves youth ages 5 to 18 in Santa Maria, Guadalupe, Atascadero, and Paso Robles. Their priority is to provide a safe place to learn and grow by offering life-enhancing programs in five key areas: character and leadership development, health and life skills, education and opportunity, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation, we inspire children to live up to their potential. They provide after school programs and break camps for summer.

Local Housing & Residential Resources

Affordable Housing and Assistance

  • The Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo is committed to building and maintaining affordable housing for citizens in our community. Seek to create safe neighborhoods by partnering with individuals and organizations to provide housing, education and employment opportunities for families of modest means to become self-sufficient and improve their quality of life. They also offer a Deposit Loan Repayment Program on a referral basis.
  • The Paso Robles Housing Authority provides quality, affordable housing, that promotes quality of life through a healthy community. Currently, their affordable communities include Chet Dotter Senior Apartments, Oak Park Phase 1, Oak Park Phase 2, Oak Park Phase 3, and Oak Park Phase 4. Their rents are targeted to qualified families making 30%-60% of San Luis Obispo County area median income.
  • The VFW National Home for Children is a nonprofit agency which serves as a living memorial to America's veterans by helping our nation's veteran and military families. Through its national helpline and on-campus programs, helps families and children through times of crisis. ​​​​​​
  • HomeShare SLO facilitates homeshare matches between housing providers and people looking for housing.
  • Family Care Network. Inc. is a transitional housing services that assists high-needs youth transition from adolescence to responsible adulthood.
  • The Society of St.Vincent de Paul provides food vouchers, transportation, medication, eyeglasses, partial rent, utility assistance.

Temporary Shelters

  • The 40 Prado Homeless Service Center is a 365 days per year facility that helps individuals and families improve their health and stability and move them towards self-sufficiency. Services available to all participants include: overnight shelter (up to 100 beds), meals, showers, laundry, mail/phone services, access to case management, primary medical care, animal kennels
  • The El Camino Homeless Organization (ECHO) is a homeless shelter that serves North County. They serve meals and provide beds for the needy.
  • The 5 Cities Homeless Coalition programs include Information & Referral, Immediate Needs Assistance, Housing Funds Assistance, Klaproad Rapid-Rehousing, Medical Respite Care and Emergency Warming Center dependent on weather conditions.

Domestic Violence Shelters

  • Lumina Alliance formerly known as Stand Strong is committed to providing comprehensive services for survivors of intimate partner violence and child abuse in our community. Programs include 24-Hr Crisis Line, Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing, Counseling Services, Legal Services, Latinx Services, and Children's Services
  • Lumina Alliance formerly known as Stand Strong provides emergency shelter, crisis intervention, counseling, and case management for survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence, their family, and loved ones.
  • Inter-Tribal Council of California is a nonprofit organization which promotes self-sufficiency and local self-determination for Native American in California.

Rent Assistance

  • The Salvation Army in San Luis Obispo provides utility assistance, clothing, rental assistance, emergency food assistance when available and vary based on site (Clients must call for details for their location). Rent assistance only available at San Luis Obispo site by appointment. Does not pay deposits of any kind.

Health & Social Services

Health Insurance

  • Covered California: A federally mandated program called the Affordable Care Act is identified as Covered California locally. Covered California's mission is to improve health care in the state by increasing the number of Californians with health insurance, improving the quality of health care, reducing health care costs, and ensuring that California's diverse population has fair and equal access to quality health care
  • The County of San Luis Obispo's Department of Social Services provides public services that promote self-sufficiency, health and well-being. These programs help ensure the protection of children, the elderly and dependent adults, and provide a safety net for individuals and families who need assistance with basic necessities, such as food, housing and health care.
  • The Medically Indigent Services Program (MISP) assists qualified low-income residents who have an immediate medical need but have no source of health coverage available and no other way to pay for necessary medical care.
  • The County of San Luis Obispo's Health Agency improves and maintains community health by identifying health issues, preventing disease and injury, influencing policy development, and promoting healthy behaviors through leadership, collaborative partnerships, education, direct services, surveillance, and case management and payment for eligible indigent medical care.

Health Clinics

  • SLO Noor Foundation: Free Basic Primary Care. Patient education. Disease prevention, screening physical exams, laboratory testing, eye clinic, referrals, physical therapy, diabetes prevention.
  • The Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC) is the largest non-profit network of health care providers on the Central Coast with 29 licensed sites. CHC provides access to quality, affordable medical, dental and behavioral services. Their sliding fee scale offers significant discounts to individuals and families who qualify on the basis of limited income and / or family size.


  • Community Health Centers of the Central Coast (CHC) is the largest non-profit network of health care providers on the Central Coast with 29 licensed sites. CHC provides access to quality, affordable medical, dental and behavioral services. They have dental offices in Nipomo, Templeton, and Oceano. They also have a mobile dental van that services communities from San Miguel to Nipomo. Their sliding fee scale offers significant discounts to individuals and families who qualify on the basis of limited income and / or family size.
  • The SLO Noor Foundation aims to improve general health by providing patients with a thorough dental exam and provide treatment to relieve pain and infection. The services are at no charge to the patient if they do not obtain dental insurance.
  • Tolosa Children’s Dental Center provides pediatric dentistry, focused on dental care for Medi-Cal insured children & uninsured children whose families do not qualify for subsidized insurance, but cannot afford private insurance costs. Services include preventive, restorative (including dental surgery) & emergency treatment, and oral health education focused on prevention. Additionally, Tolosa is providing dentistry services at Shandon Elementary to treat underserved children with limited access to pediatric dentistry.

CalWORKS & CalFresh

  • Cal Works Cash Aid is California's cash aid (welfare) program for needy families. The program helps eligible families become self-supporting through temporary cash aid and employment services. The program is time-limited and for families that are under certain income and property guidelines and have a qualifying child. The adult receiving cash aid through the CalWORKs program is required to participate in the Welfare-to-Work Program. Welfare-to-Work provides supportive services, while the adult participates in employment, training or other approved activities, which may include, but are not limited to, counseling, job preparedness, job development, training, childcare, transportation, work clothes and tools. Services are family focused and specific to the needs of each family.
    • Textbook Vouchers: CalWORKs students should take their textbook voucher to the University Book Store (Building 65) to purchase their books. Please bring a printout of the required materials lists from your Cal Poly portal for reference. The student can check out at the customer service desk. The customer service representative will create a personal account for the CalWORKs student to use the voucher as a first-time customer, so allow at least 30 minutes for this process.
    • The monthly Attendance Report should be signed by a staff member at the Dean of Students. The CalWORKs student can walk in to request to see a counselor to sign your attendance report. Please note that your form should be filled out prior to having the report signed.
    • If you are a CalWORKs students with a dependent and need assistance obtaining a campus parking permit, please call 805-756-6654 or email
  • CalFresh is a federal nutrition program for low-income individuals and families that can help households buy healthy foods and seeds. Formerly known as the food stamp program and federally known as SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), this program provides a monthly nutrition benefit which is used via an Electronic Benefit Transaction (EBT) card similar to a debit card. The benefit is used to purchase groceries at markets, small retailers, some restaurants, and even farmer’s markets.
    • Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is a nutrition education program that helps families eat well and stay healthy. WIC provides healthy foods, nutrition counseling and education, breastfeeding support, referrals to health care and other helpful services. ​​​​​​
    • Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, is a public insurance health care program which provides health care services for low-income individuals and families who meet defined eligibility requirements

Community Resources & Events

SLO County Public Libraries

The Library serves North County, South County, and the Coastal Region. They offer a circulation of books, magazines, newspapers, government publications, and other special publications, and downloadable media of all types. They also provide free, family-friendly activities.

Family Support Agencies and Groups

  • Services Affirming Family Empowerment (SAFE) South County offers families easy access to social services programs. Direct Services and Case Management, individual and family counseling, parent education and basic needs assistance.
  • The Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo is committed to eliminating the causes of poverty by empowering low-income individuals and families to achieve self-sufficiency through a wide array of community-based collaborations and programs.
  • La Leche League of San Luis Obispo provides information and referral and encouragement on breastfeeding and parenting skills through telephone consultations and meetings. Lending library.
  • The Center for Family Strengthening is dedicated to strengthening families through education and advocacy. The center partners with family support organizations to provide resources to families in need, protect children from abuse and neglect, and ensure that strong families are a community priority. ​​​​​​
  • Atascadero Bible Church: Single and Parenting video sessions offer effective parenting strategies, encouragement, insights on how to find rest and hope as a single parent.
  • The Link Family Resource Center serves at-risk children, youth and families throughout San Luis Obispo County. Family Resource Centers support families and youth through direct services, referrals, information distribution, work experience opportunities, individual support, and parent education. Family Advocates work directly with families and youth, linking them with services and providing guidance and support.
  • The Toy and Resource Lending Library loans toys, resources, equipment and materials to enrich children’s experiences and afford them unique and varied opportunities for learning. Toy Library patrons can borrow 6 items for 1 month at a time. You must call to make an appointment prior to visiting.
  • Parents Helping Parents (PHP) is a family resource center providing support, resources, referrals, and information to families of children with special needs. PHP serves families in the San Luis Obispo (SLO) area of the Central Coast of California.
  • Tri-Counties Regional Center provides lifelong services and supports for people with developmental disabilities residing in San Luis Obispo. They provide person and family-centered supports for individuals with developmental disabilities to maximize opportunities and choices for living, working, learning, and recreating in the community.
  • 2-1-1 SLO County is a non-emergency telephone number that connects individuals and families with information and community resources. Confidential bilingual service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by phone or through the online 2-1-1 Directory.
  • The Pregnant Scholar is an organization founded to supporting pregnant students in their education and provide information around they rights they have. This site provides resources for students, postdocs, faculty, administrators, and others in institutions of higher education, including colleges, community colleges, universities, and similar programs.

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