Graduate Fellowships
Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL: STIPEND: TUITION REMISSION: MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS: What does my fellowship award include?

Your fellowship award includes an annual stipend, tuition for full-time enrollment, health and dental insurance, the Student Health Center fee, and some mandatory fees (this includes Orientation’s mandatory fee, the student programming fee, the student services fee, and Norman H. Topping Student Aid; lab fees or other fees associated with coursework are not covered by the fellowship). Your fellowship award will be credited directly to your student account.

What is the payment schedule for the fellowship stipend?

Your fellowship stipend is paid out once per month (by the 26th of each month), over 10 months, from August to May. Stipend payments are spread out evenly over the 10 months, with one caveat - you will be paid two months of stipend payments in November to cover both November and December. Fellows receive a double payment in November, and no payment in December, in order to ensure that they receive their December checks before they leave for break.

So long as you register on time for fall, you should receive your first stipend payment no later than August 26th, and your last payment by May 26th. Your department will instruct you on how to pick up your first fellowship check. If you are a domestic student, you can then sign up for direct deposit, and we strongly encourage you to do so.

How is the fellowship stipend disbursed?

Domestic students:
You will pick up your first check at the Disbursement Control Office. We strongly encourage you to sign up for direct deposit for future checks. Please visit this website for more information: http://ais-ss.usc.edu/empldoc/forms/directdeposit_form.pdf . Please make sure you fill out the Disbursement Control section (and not the Payroll or Cancellation sections). You will need to attach a voided check and return the form and voided check to the Disbursement Control office (address located on the form).

If you do not sign up for direct deposit, subsequent checks will be mailed to the local address that you have provided in OASIS. Please be sure that you provide your most current address to ensure that your check reaches you.

International students (or domestic students who prefer not to use direct deposit): You will pick up your first check from your department or school. Subsequent checks will be released to your home department payroll office. Your department will instruct you on how to pick up subsequent stipend checks.

Will my annual stipend amount change during non-fellowship years (for example, when I am a TA or RA)?

No, your stipend amount will remain the same, even when you are not technically using one of your two fellowship years. If your TA/RA stipend amount is lower than the fellowship stipend amount that is listed in your Provost’s Fellowship offer letter, your home school/department will supplement your stipend amount in order to bring you up to the amount promised in your fellowship offer letter.

Will the fellowship stipend be taxed and if so, what will be the tax rate?

Unfortunately, the Graduate School cannot offer any tax advice. We advise students to contact the IRS regarding any tax questions they may have, including which forms they should submit. The Financial Aid Office has directed award recipients to the following link, which contains information regarding tax treatment of fellowship awards, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf. In addition, http://fbs.usc.edu/depts/sfs/page/2115/1098-t/ provides information regarding the IRS 1098-t form. These links are not meant to be a comprehensive list of tax resources or forms that you should consider; again, we would suggest contacting the IRS directly, and/or consulting with a tax professional.

How is the tuition remission allocated while I am on fellowship?

12 units in either the Fall or the Spring semester. Please contact gradfllw@usc.edu with your request prior to enrolling in additional units.

Does the Provost’s Fellowship include tuition remission for summer?

The Graduate School does not automatically cover summer tuition units for Provost’s fellows. If you were receiving fellowship funds in the Fall and Spring and wish to enroll in summer units in the following Summer semester, you should contact your graduate staff graduate advisor.

Are there any restrictions on the number or kind of units I can enroll in while on fellowship?

While on fellowship, you are expected to be taking courses that count towards your Ph.D. degree. If you wish to exceed the number of units allocated to you in your offer letter in any given semester, or if you wish to take summer units, you should send a request to your staff graduate advisor prior to enrolling in those units.

Can I delay my second year of Provost’s fellowship funding, and instead take a Teaching or Research Assistantship?

It is possible, and common, for students to defer the second year of their Provost’s fellowship funding in order to be a TA or RA. Your department should be made aware of your plans well in advance, since they will let the Graduate School know the status of their fellows, including who will be continuing on fellowship during the next academic year and who plans to defer. While you are a TA/RA, you will continue to receive the level of stipend support that you have received while on fellowship.

Can I work during the academic year while I am receiving my fellowship award?

Working while on fellowship, including as a Graduate Assistant (TA/RA), is not permitted. Fellows are expected to devote full-time to study towards their Ph.D. degree and not to undertake employment or other time consuming commitments during the academic year.

Can I accept a summer internship or summer TA or RA position?

You may accept a summer internship or a summer TA/RA position and not be in violation of the terms of your Provost’s Fellowship. You only are prohibited from working during the academic year while you are receiving fellowship support.

If you are an international student and plan to work off campus, we suggest that you contact the Office of International Services (OIS) http://sait.usc.edu/ois/

In cases where no external opportunities for summer funding are available, the expectation is that during the fellowship years, students would be doing work towards their Ph.D. degree in the Fall, Spring, and Summer.

Can I pursue a Master’s degree in another program or field to supplement my Ph.D. studies?

The Graduate School does not sanction Provost’s Fellows adding a Master’s post during their Ph.D. tenure. As your Provost’s Fellowship offer letter states, fellowship tuition units are to be used for courses counting towards your Ph.D. degree. If you wish to pursue a Master’s degree in another program or field, you should do so after you have completed your Ph.D. degree. The Provost’s Fellowship is not intended to support Master’s degrees.

Who do I contact with questions regarding my health or dental insurance policy?

For health insurance information, or to view the USC Student Health Insurance Plan Description, please visit:

http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/Health_Center/ins.plan.description.shtml
Health Insurance and Waivers Office
649 W. 34th Street
Parking Structure D
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1624
Telephone: (213) 740-0551
Fax: (213) 740-9229
uscins@usc.edu
http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/Health_Center/ins.index.shtml

To receive care, please contact:

University Park Campus:
University Park Health Center
SHC Building
849 West 34th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90089
Telephone: (213) 740-8742
http://www.usc.edu/student-affairs/Health_Center/

Health Sciences Campus:
Eric Cohen Health Center
USC Healthcare Consultation Center
1510 San Pablo Street, Suite 104 (in the Richard K. Eamer Medical Plaza)
Los Angeles, CA 90033-5631
Telephone: (323) 442-5631
http://www.usc.edu/schools/medicine/student_resource/ecohen/index.php

Does the Provost Fellowship have any bearing on my Intellectual Property, or ideas that I come up with while on the fellowship?

For questions regarding intellectual property rights, we suggest that you contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Research Advancement: http://www.usc.edu/research/about/vp/

Can I receive two fellowship awards at the same time?

You should contact the Graduate School immediately to discuss the ramifications of this support and to map out the best strategy for your Ph.D. completion.

Do you have more questions that aren’t answered here? Please contact gradfllw@usc.edu
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