Children make you better students

Having a child while you are a student entails everyday logistics. Remember not to take a leave of absence if you want extra state educational grants.

Having a child while you are a student is not such a bad idea. There is no reason why a pregnancy should keep you from continuing your education, since both parents are eligible to receive extra grants. The mother is entitled to receive 12 extra monthly grants while the father is entitled to receive grants for an extra 6 months if he is also a student. The mother may choose to give the child’s father 6 of her monthly grants if she wishes to return to her studies full time.
Contact your student counsellor once the pregnancy is a reality, as there are specific rules regarding maternity/paternity leave. Even if you stay at home with the baby, you are not entitled to the same type of maternity/paternity leave as someone who is not a student. The extra monthly grants are only available to students who are still enrolled – regardless of whether you postpone your studies for six months or one year. Single parents may receive double grants for the remainder of their studies. Contact your local SU office for information about your rights and obligations.

Kristoffer and Julie

  • Kristoffer is a software engineer student
  • Julie is studying biotechnology
  • Both are 26 years old. They have been together for 8 years, and they moved to Aalborg together to study.

Everyday life and a thesis
Julie Klessner Thun Pedersen and Kristoffer chose to have their first baby while they were both students at Aalborg University. Oskar was born in August 2015, and Julie spent her 12 extra SU grants to stay at home with him for one year. “It happened by coincidence, but my maternity leave began when I finished the last exams of my eighth semester. I ended up staying at home for one year,” Julie recalls. “I might have opted to stay home for only six months, receiving double grants each month, but as it happens, we will both graduate at the same time now.”

Kristoffer is writing his thesis in a group, and he finds that his fellow students are very understanding when he needs to leave at about three in the afternoon to pick up his son from day-care. Kristoffer spent his six extra SU grants when Oskar was born. This enabled the young couple to purchase all the things needed for the arrival of their baby. Kristoffer and Julie did not take time off simultaneously. This was a conscious decision they made in order to graduate at the same time, thus being able to move in accordance with possible future jobs. “I have been asked whether I was capable of taking care of the baby, but I believe a person’ gender makes little difference in terms of parenthood. Becoming a parent is a bid deal, and perhaps I’ll get the chance to go on “real” paternity leave once I get a job,” Kristoffer says, while Oskar tries to make himself heard during our interview.

Both believe that having a child while studying works well. “I’m studying biotechnology, and the thought that I didn’t have all the time in the world before I started having children frequently crossed my mind,” Julie relates. “We both embarked on our thesis in September, and it does call for a certain amount of planning, yet you can’t plan ahead when it comes to sick days,” she says, referring to the fact that Oskar recently started day-care, thus dragging all sorts of bacteria home. “We need to get things done as if he was sick again tomorrow. We don’t have time to procrastinate,” they agree. Both attempt to prioritize “Oskar-Time” when he returns home after day-care until bedtime. Some of their fellow students think it is cool that they have a child, while others believe the timing could have been better. Kristoffer and Julie feel that there is no such thing as the perfect time. “We agreed that we would keep the baby when I fell pregnant. There is never a perfect time to have children; perhaps you need to find a job first, a new home or save more money beforehand.”