Student-Parents Guide

Juggling a family with study brings its own unique set of challenges to undertaking a postgraduate or research degree at the ANU. While we are working with the ANU to improve the services available to parents, there are some services and tips that can make the transition into study and your life with your family in Canberra a little easier.

In 2017 & 2018 we undertook Parents Surveys and found quite a few areas where we need to be working harder with the university, and significant information gaps which this page seeks to fill. If you still have questions about being a student and a parent, please contact our office on

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Parenting Rooms
Children in the Classroom
HDR Parental Leave
Overseas Student Health Cover
School Fees
Tips from a PhD Student-Parent


One of the fantastic things that PARSA has started in 2017 are the PARSA Playdates. These are happening monthly (usually on the second Sunday of the month) in the early afternoon in the Brian Kenyon Student Space in Melville Hall. The tentative date(s) for 2018 are as follows:

1. Sunday 8th April - Pirate Pete

For up-to-date information, please see our events page.


The ANU currently does not have any dedicated accommodation suitable for families on-campus. University information suggests that students arrive in Canberra alone and secure accommodation before bringing the rest of their family. Securing accommodation can be difficult at the beginning of the academic year and it is incredibly competitive as there is a large intake of new public servants moving into Canberra at the same time.

If you are looking for more than one room in a single property, the likelihood of finding accommodation within your budget is much higher if you're looking outside the city centre. Areas such as Belconnen and Woden are easily accessible by bus and bicycle, and accurate bus and bicycle maps and schedules can be found using Google Maps.

More general housing tips and information about the PARSA Emergency Accommodation Assistance program can be found here.

Parenting Rooms

PARSA hosts our own parenting facility on Level 2, Di Riddell Student Centre, (Building 154). The Parents Room has been established on campus for the use of students and staff requiring a place to attend to specific needs of young children and to meet the needs of nursing parents.   

Come in and check it out anytime!

As of 2019, there are nine parenting rooms on campus with varying resources:

Bldg # Building Name Room # Room type Facilities
12 Level 2, Di Riddell Student Centre, (Building 154) 2.57 Parenting room A quiet place to breastfeed, bottle feed or express milk privately, curtained off area, change table, comfy chair, and toys. A nearby sink and microwaves are available at the BKSS space. 
9 HC Coombs Building 1009 First aid room Lounge, change table, sink, and first aid kit.
13 Beryl Rawson Building 1.24 First aid room Bed, table, fridge, chair, and sink.
15 JB Chifley Building 4.13 Parenting room Lounge, coffee table, microwave, fridge, change table, sink, bins, and privacy screen.
26C ANU College of Business & Economics 1.01B Parenting room Chair, lounge, table, microwave, change table, sink, 
and play equipment.
60 Oliphant Building 3.07 Parenting room Couch, table, toys, recycling bin, and chair.
72 Acton Early Childhood Centre   Parenting room Lounge, coffee table, microwave, change table, sink, fridge, lockable door, and privacy screen.
108 Computer Science & Information Technology Building N321 First aid room Chair, fridge, change table and sink.
142 Jaeger 8 1.07 Parenting room Lounge, fridge, toys, privacy screen, and workstation. Adjacent to the kitchen with sink. Nearby unisex bathroom with change table and shower.


The ANU Family Friendly Committee has developmed a parenting rooms booklet which can be found here.


Parking permits are available to staff working more than 20 hours per fortnight, full-time students and part-time students who have a valid Centrelink Health Care Card. Parking is very difficult if you are arriving on campus after 9:00am. As a result, three parking areas have been designated as "late starter" car parks. These areas will open at 9.30am Monday - Friday and provide staff and students arriving later on campus with more access to surface parking space. One late starter parking area will be located between the Chancelry and Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, the second located on Garran Road near South Oval (site of the old 88T1 ITS transportable building) and the third located at Lennox A across the road from the Crawford School.

Find the Parking Frequently Asked Questions here and Parking Permit information here.


There are currently 325 places for children in on-campus childcare centres. These on-campus childcare centres are Acton Early Childhood CentreGoodstart Learning Centre ANUUniversity Preschool and Child Care CentreHeritage Early Childhood Centre and Cubby House on Campus Early Learning Centre.

The ANU Website has more comprehensive information available here.

School Holiday Program

ANU School Holiday Program is for children of ANU staff and students. For more details please see the ANU Website here.

Children in the Classroom

The ANU has a comprehensive Children on campus policy which can be found here.

This states that: "Parents/carers may request that children attend a class when there are sudden and/or unexpected difficulties in childcare arrangements. Normally the request is made to the relevant lecturer prior to the child attending the class. It is expected that parents/carers would ensure that there would be minimal disruption to others caused by their children, where approval is given."

There are some schools that have more relaxed policies and allow students to bring their children into the classroom regularly but it is usually at the discretion of the lecturer, tutor or course convenor. If you would like to regularly bring your child to class, it would be best to contact your school, college or course convenor to discuss this option. Please do be prepared to receive a no as it is up to their discretion.

HDR Parental Leave

PhD students at the ANU are entitled to parental leave (more information here), the duration of which is dictated by the supervisor and the scholarship conditions. We are seeking a comprehensive, trans-inclusive university-wide parental leave policy which protects reasonable leave for fathers or partners. If you need support with negotiating parental leave with your supervisor, please contact our Student Assistance team on

Overseas Student Health Cover

Overseas Student Health Cover (OSHC) is insurance to assist international students meet the costs of medical and hospital care that they may need while in Australia. OSHC will also pay limited benefits for pharmaceuticals and ambulance services. Almost all international students who hold a student visa are required to take out overseas student health cover (with the exception of Belgian, Norwegian and some Swedish students). If you are bringing your family to Australia with you, you will be required to take out OSHC which covers your whole family. 

Please be aware that for all providers, during the first twelve months you are unable to claim for services related to pregnancy, so if you or your partner falls pregnant during the first twelve months that you spend in Australia, you will have to pay completely out of pocket for related medical care.

For more information about Overseas Student Health Care, please visit the Australia Government Department of Health website.

School Fees

International students may have to pay fees for any dependants attending an ACT public school.

Fee exemptions apply to:

  • the dependants of Commonwealth assisted students, or dependants of students whose tuition fees are paid in full by a publicly funded Australian Higher Education Provider, physically located in the ACT
  • the dependants of eligible students whose main course of study is a Masters degree by research or a Doctoral degree enrolled in an Australian Higher Education Provider, physically located in the ACT

If you have questions about your visa conditions and paying for school fees that are not answered by the ACT Government Website, please feel free to contact our lawyers for free advice. Appointments can be made by emailing

Contact PARSA

PARSA Office
Level 2, Di Riddell Student Centre
Kambri Precinct
Australian National University
Canberra ACT 2601

Office Hours:

9:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday to Friday (except public holidays)
Call Us: +61 (02) 6125 4187
Write to Us: