FAQs for Graduate School Fellowship Recipients

GENERAL: STIPEND: TUITION UNITS: MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS: HEALTH: HOUSING: What is a fellowship?

Fellowships allow students to focus full time on their studies. In general, fellowships include tuition, fees and a stipend that is distributed over the course of the academic year.

What is the difference between a fellowship and an assistantship?

Fellowships allow students to focus full time on their studies. Assistantships may involve up to 20 hours per week of teaching or research supporting the work of a faculty member.

What fellowships are available from the graduate school?

The graduate school administers a number of internal and external fellowships, including:

  1. Fellowships for new incoming PhD students
  2. Fellowships for continuing PhD students, including Dissertation Completion, Research Enhancement and various Endowed Fellowships
  3. External Fellowships, such as the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships Program, the John Randolph Haynes and Dora Haynes Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships, the Ford Foundation Fellowships, the Josephine De Karman Fellowships, the Dolores Zohrab Liebmann Fellowships and others.

Who is eligible for fellowships?

Fellowship eligibility varies. For internal fellowships, candidates are often nominated by their program, department or school.

What does my fellowship award include?

In most cases, fellowships administered by the graduate school include tuition for full-time enrollment in the fall, spring and summer semesters, health and dental insurance, coverage of the student health center fee for the fall, spring and summer semesters, and all university-wide mandatory fees, including fees for orientation, the student programming fee, the student services fee, and Norman H. Topping Student Aid. Graduate school fellowships also include a stipend for the academic year and opportunities to apply for additional travel or research funds.

Metro passes, parking passes, lab fees, or fees associated with coursework for a particular department, are not covered by graduate school fellowships.

What is the payment schedule for the fellowship stipend?

Fellowship stipends are paid once at the end of each month from August through May. Fellowship stipend payments are divided evenly, however fellows may receive a double payment in November, and no payment in December, to ensure that the December check is received before leaving for the winter break.

As long as you register on time, you should receive your first stipend payment no later than August 26th. Please visit the Schedule of Classes website for more information about registration dates: http://web-app.usc.edu/soc/.

How is the fellowship stipend dispersed?

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

For most multi-year fellowships, the stipend amount will remain the same for all years at USC. Please speak with your Staff Graduate Advisor or refer to your fellowship offer letter for specific details.

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

We strongly suggest that fellows contact the IRS directly, and/or consult with a tax professional. While receiving your fellowship, domestic students will not receive a W-2 form (although when you serve as a Teaching or Research Assistant you will receive a W-2).

The following link, http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p970.pdf contains information regarding tax treatment of fellowship awards. 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.

International Students should consult the Office of International Services (OIS) at: http://sait.usc.edu/ois/

How are the tuition units allocated while I am on fellowship?

In general, you will receive enough tuition units to cover full time enrollment during the academic year. Please refer to your fellowship offer letter for specific details. These units are split evenly between the fall, spring and summer semesters. If you wish to exceed the number of units stated in your offer letter, please contact your department’s Staff Graduate Advisor who will submit a request to the Graduate School on your behalf.

Do the fellowships include tuition units for summer?

Most graduate school fellowships include summer tuition units.

Can I spread my tuition units out beyond the fellowship year?

Fellowships are awarded for a precise period of time. Please refer to your fellowship offer letter for specific details.

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

No. Fellowship tuition units are to be used for courses counting towards the degree for which you received the award.

Can I defer my fellowship award?

Deferring the fellowship start date may be possible in some cases for some incoming and some external fellowships. Deferring the fellowship start date is not possible for advanced fellowships. Please consult with your department’s Staff Graduate Advisor who will work with the graduate school to determine the best course of action.

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

No. Fellows are expected to devote full-time to study towards their degree and not to undertake employment or other time consuming commitments during the academic year from the end of August through mid- May.

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

You may accept a summer internship or a summer TA/RA position. Fellows may not to undertake employment or other time consuming commitments during the academic year from the end of August through mid- May. 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/

Can I receive two fellowship awards at the same time?

You may not receive two comprehensive fellowships simultaneously. Any funding that you receive may be taken into account by the graduate school, and we will work with you to coordinate the fellowships. You should contact your department’s Staff Graduate Advisor and the Graduate School immediately if you are offered additional funding.

Can I receive scholarships during my fellowship?

Any external funding you receive may be taken into account by the graduate school. You should contact your department’s Staff Graduate Advisor and the Graduate School immediately if you are offered additional funding.

Will the fellowship award affect my current financial aid?

Financial aid eligibility may be affected by your fellowship award and we encourage you to contact a Financial Aid Officer if you are currently receiving USC-administered financial aid.

For financial aid inquiries, please visit: http://www.usc.edu/admission/fa/contact.html.

Should I accept tuition insurance at the time of registration?

No, you should reject tuition insurance since the graduate school will cover your tuition as part of your fellowship agreement.

Does the Fellowship have any bearing on intellectual property, or ideas that I come up with while on the fellowship?

For questions regarding intellectual property rights, we suggest that you visit https://policy.usc.edu/files/2014/02/intellectual_property.pdf.

Are there any obligations beyond my studies?

We hope that you will become a member of our larger community of fellows. As the recipient of a graduate school fellowship, you will be invited to a number of events and programs, including a reception in the fall, professional development events and workshops.

Annenberg Graduate Fellows will be invited to participate in a Micro Seminar Series held at the beginning of the school year and an end of year Research Symposium.

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://engemannshc.usc.edu/.

To receive care, please contact:

During the school year, do I need to be enrolled in a minimum number of units to receive health insurance?

All PhD students at USC are automatically enrolled in the health insurance plan. Your fellowship includes health and dental insurance and fees associated with the student health center.

Will I still have health and dental insurance coverage throughout the summer if I am not enrolled in summer school or working as an RA/TA?

The health care package has two components: one is the payment of the USC Supplemental Student Health Insurance Plan, and the other is the payment of the mandatory Student Health Center fee.

During the summer you are covered by the USC Supplemental Student Health Insurance Plan and dental insurance. The health insurance plan covers services of on- and off-site doctors included in the plan’s network. If you are on campus and registered for classes during the summer, you may also have access to the student health center. Please see you Staff Graduate Advisor for information on how to enroll. The Graduate School will pay the student health center fee for any Ph.D. student who was active on their Graduate School funded fellowship in the previous fall and spring semesters.

Where can I find information about housing options?

You can find out about university housing options at the USC Housing Website (https://housing.usc.edu/). You can also find some non-University housing information at http://dailytrojan.com/category/classifieds/.

How do I verify my income for my landlord when applying for housing?

You can visit the Financial Aid website to print your statement of Financial Aid Eligibility, which will include all fellowships you are receiving, and submit this to your landlord. Please visit the Financial Aid website at http://www.usc.edu/admission/fa/grants_scholarships/undergraduates/ -. There is a button at the top right of the screen labeled "My Fin Aid & Documents", which will take you to your Statement of Financial Eligibility.

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