Health, Dental, & Family

GEO members are eligible for many benefits as a result of their student status and union contract.

Health Insurance

Every student at UMass enrolled for more than 5 credits is automatically signed up for the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP.) GEO members are eligible for significant reduction of the individual and family insurance premiums. Please consult our health insurance guide for more detailed information.

Dental & Vision Insurance

In addition, GEO eligible students have dental and vision insurance through the UAW/UMASS Health and Welfare Trust. Please go to our dental and vision website for more information.


Securing quality childcare for our children is important to GEO families. GEO and the University have recognized the important role of quality childcare for working parents by including two types of childcare funding through the GEO contract (Article 39). The University provides a subsidy to the University Child Care (UCC) flexcare classroom so that graduate students and others in need of part-time care (6-30 hours a week) pay a lower-rate according to a needs-based sliding-fee.

In addition, through funds from the University (specified in the GEO contract) and the Graduate Student Senate, a needs-based voucher program is administered through the GSS office. Funds from this voucher program can be used at any daycare not just UCC. If you would like to apply for funds from this program contact GSS immediately – the deadline is very early in the semester. If you would like more information about other community resources to help with childcare please contact GEO at

Other Family Information

As graduate school poses financial problems to all, GEO especially recognizes the extra complexities that families face. We therefore have our own Family Issues Advocate during the academic year, who is available to answer your questions and help out through email from September to May: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it .   If you face any problems or need to speak to someone during the summer, please send us an e-mail at geo@external.umass.eduThis e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it , call us at 545-0705, or drop by the GEO office 201, Student Union between 10 am and 2 pm, Monday through Friday.

Our Contract also provides for family health and dental coverage. The University offers dependent coverage for spouses, children and same-sex domestic partners for a fee. Grad employees with dependents pay 15% of the cost of health insurance (this is statewide policy for public employees and may change for the worse with the coming budgetary austerity in Massachusetts). This includes both Basic and Supplemental coverage. GEO is also working on extending health benefits to opposite-sex domestic partners. For more information please consult our health insurance guide and the section on the family plan in particular.

Family and Medical Leave

Under Article 44 of GEO’s contract, grad employees may take up to 12 weeks per year of unpaid Family and Medical Leave. To be eligible, you must have been employed in a position covered by the GEO contract for at least 4 months prior to the start of the leave.

Leave may be granted to grad employees for:
* the birth of a child and care for the newborn
* the placement of a child with a grad employee for adoption or foster care
* the care of a spouse, parent, grandchild, grandparent, domestic partner, or child with a serious
medical condition
* a serious health condition of your own that makes you unable to perform your job (Article 44 of
the GEO contract defines “serious health condition”)

During leave, you receive the same health benefits you would have received had you continued to work.. You do not receive your stipend, however. Once you return, you are also guaranteed your former position or an equivalent position with the same stipend and benefits.

To be granted Family or Medical Leave, you must submit a leave application to your immediate supervisor, who will forward it to the Graduate School. If the leave is for your own medical condition, you must submit a medical certification form explaining the need to leave. This form can be obtained from the Graduate School and must be filled out by the health care provider.