Oregon State University

410-11 Fellowships, Scholarships, and Student Payments

Fiscal Operations Manual
Section 400: Expenditures
Effective: 01/01/2003
Revised: 5/09/2013

 

OUS Students and post-doctoral fellows can receive financial support in several ways. The type of support is determined by (1) employment relationship at OSU and (2) funding source restrictions.

Fellowships

Fellowships awarded to students and post-doctoral faculty are typically paid as stipend payments (not salary via payroll) and are awarded either to the institution or to an individual student or post-doc by a sponsoring agency. Most fellowship stipend payments are processed by the Office of Post Award Administration (OPAA). Fellowship stipends are considered a financial resource by the OSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, and thus may impact the student’s financial aid.

These stipends are paid to students engaged in training or a sponsored program and the student/fellow is expected to participate in the training program or research project. This payment is not a salary. It is made primarily to defray general living expenses. Individuals paid on stipends are not required to complete time/effort documentation (unless required by a sponsoring agency) and do not have an employer-employee relationship with the university. Since no employer-employee relationship exists, fellowship recipients do not qualify for benefits associated with graduate appointments. Recipients of sponsored awards; however, may receive benefits as specified in the award terms. Individuals paid on stipends do not receive liability insurance or workmen’s compensation coverage provided by the University.

Students on fellowship awards are required to maintain minimum enrollment levels (twelve undergraduate or nine graduate credit hours during the academic year and one undergraduate or three graduate credit hours during the summer) to receive their stipends. These enrollment requirements apply not only to current OUS students but may also apply to students from non-OUS institutions who come to OSU to participate in training opportunities (read exception criteria listed below). Delayed enrollment may result in a stipend being issued later than the pre-determined schedule. Fellowships awarded to visiting faculty, such as post-doctoral research trainees or assistants, do not require enrollment as a criteria for receiving stipend payments. For further information on fellowship awards on sponsored funds, see the fellowships page of the Office of Post Award Administration’s website.

 Exceptions to the enrollment requirement may be made in limited cases in which the requirement may cause an undue financial burden to the student or in which the student’s physical location makes it difficult to undertake course work. Any exceptions that are granted will be limited to the following:

  • Students from non-OUS institutions (thus not degree-seeking students at OSU) who are on campus during the summer to participate in research or training programs
  • Students whose research or training program requires them to be in distant and/or remote locations, thereby making class attendance difficult or impossible and meaning they are not on campus using university resources
  • Students whose financial support from the fellowship or employment would be significantly offset by the cost of attendance for the required enrollment (including tuition, mandatory fees, and any additional costs related to admission or to specific programs or distance education)

Any exceptions to this policy must be approved by the Director of Financial Aid before student support payments will be disbursed.

Post-Doctoral support awards that provide for an institutional educational allowance and allow for an administration fee for the management of the award will be assessed a $300 fixed fee at the beginning of each year.  This fee will be applied to the administrative costs for the Office of Business Affairs for managing the Post-Doctoral program. The Office of Post Award Administration will charge the administrative fee at the beginning of each award year.

Per Oregon Revised Statute 351.070 there are only a few instances in which student support (including stipends, tuition, and other educational expenses) can be paid from education and general (E&G) funds.  (This ORS restriction does not apply to payroll positions which are allowable on E&G funds.  See payroll section below for further information).  Only specific projects/programs, with prior approval from the president or provost’s office, allow for stipends to be paid from E&G funds.  Currently at OSU, only the Water/Watersheds Initiative project and URISC programs have been designated as approved exceptions and qualify to use E&G funds for student support.  Any exceptions to this must be approved by the Assistant Vice President and Controller, Office of Business Affairs.

Gift funds can be used to fund student fellowship support without approval by the Assistant Vice President and Controller in Business Affairs; however, there must be a documented fair and equitable selection process which explains the specific criteria used to choose the recipients of these funds.  This selection criterion must be forwarded to Financial Aid to document the basis of the support. 

Scholarships

Student support may also come in the form of scholarships, which are typically based on merit or need and are awarded to offset educational costs.  Such awards do not require any specific services to be performed by the student but, like student fellowships, generally do require minimum enrollment levels.  There is no employee-employer relationship.  Scholarship funds are posted as a credit directly on the student’s university account to cover tuition and other expenses.  Scholarships are offered through a variety of sources and have varied eligibility criteria.  OSU scholarships are available from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, through the application for admission through the graduate school, and from academic departments.   

Both OSU and OSUF receive donations and gifts specifically designated for student scholarships.  Payment of scholarships with these funds is recorded as an expenditure of the university in the 5xxxx account series on M2xxxx or FSxxxx funds, at the same time that the student’s account is credited for the scholarship award.  (See FIS 302-03: Posting of Financial Aid).  This includes athletic grants-in-aid scholarships.  OSU scholarships are available from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, through the application for admission, from the Graduate School, and from academic departments.  Most University awards are based on academic merit and financial need.

For more information regarding scholarship administration at OSU, please see the OSU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship website.

Graduate Assistantships (Payroll)

Students can receive financial support from the University as an OSU employee.  Graduate students may be placed in academic appointment positions.  These Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) or Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) appointments range from .10 FTE to .49 FTE.  The compensation for the work completed is in the form of salary and benefits, as well as, tuition remission.  Salary is paid through payroll and tuition remissions are posted directly to the student’s OSU account.  The tuition remission offsets only the tuition portion of enrollment costs.  Other fees related to enrollment are not remitted and are the responsibility of the student.  (See section 302-01 of the Payroll Policies and Procedures Manual for tuition remission requirements)  If in a qualifying appointment, graduate assistants are represented by the Coalition of Graduate Employees and earn health insurance benefits.  To be eligible for a Graduate Assistantship appointment, students must meet specific eligibility requirements established by the Graduate School and monitored by the Office of Human Resources.  See OSU Graduate Assistantships on the Graduate School website for additional information.

Graduate students on assistantship positions are required to maintain an enrollment of at least 12 credits each term (during the academic year) and to be making satisfactory progress toward an advanced degree.  Per the continuous enrollment policy established by the OSU Graduate School, a minimum enrollment of three (3) credits during the summer is required for all graduate students using any institutional resources during that time.  For more information about this policy, see the OSU Graduate School website.

Graduate students may also work as student employees during summer session and the academic year in addition to their graduate assistantship.  If a graduate assistant on less than .49 FTE takes on extra duties, the total compensation from any location within the Oregon University System shall not exceed the total equivalent of .49 FTE for any term.  The university does provide liability insurance and workmen’s compensation on the students’ behalf.

Student wages (Payroll)

Students may work as hourly employees.  Hours worked must be documented to receive pay and are paid monthly.

Students (graduate and undergraduate) who are employed as hourly wage employees do not receive health insurance benefits or tuition remission.   Student employees can work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and are required to complete and submit time cards to verify hours worked.  During officially recognized breaks, students may work up to 40 hours per week.  The University does provide liability insurance and workmen’s compensation on the students’ behalf.  See OSU’s Student Employment Manual for further information.

Procedure

FELLOWSHIPS:  When student recipients are selected for institutional fellowships from sponsoring agencies, departments should complete a Fellowship Stipend Checklist and forward it to the Fellowships Coordinator in OPAA.

The checklist should include information on any tuition and fees to be paid on behalf of the fellowship recipient.  The student is assessed tuition and fees as normal.  If the sponsoring award allows for coverage of tuition for student fellows, a payment will be applied to the student account by OPAA.  Such payments are reported to the OSU Office of Financial and Scholarships monthly for consideration in the student’s financial aid.   Should a tuition payment be in excess of institutional charges, resulting in a credit balance on the student’s account, a refund check will be issued according to the standard processing of student accounts.  Some training grants and external fellowships provide a cost of education allowance in addition to a competitive stipend.  When the cost of education allowances fall short of meeting the tuition needs of fellows or trainees, the Graduate School may provide tuition support to cover the shortfall in instructional fees.  For complete details, see http://oregonstate.edu/dept/grad_school/faculty/traininggrant.html.

In some cases, fellowships may contain support beyond a stipend and tuition/fee support.  In these cases, items such as research supplies, research-related travel, and books is allowable when budgeted on a sponsored award.  These are typically charged to the award as reimbursements to the student(s).  Department personnel can process these in Banner as an invoice and use a personal reimbursement request for backup and signatures (see GCG 208-02 Reimbursement for Participants for further information).

STUDENT AWARDS AND SCHOLARSHIPS:  Any student award not paid from an outside sponsor, including those paid through the OSU Foundation, should be processed for payment via the Financial Aid Office system.  These scholarships are posted to the student’s OSU billing account, per university policy. Scholarships for full-time enrolled students are disbursed based on donor authorization or, if not specified, on a pro-rata basis for the academic year. It is important to reconcile scholarship funds with the Financial Aid Office and OSUF.

Additional Items to Consider

  • When paying stipends to non-resident alien participants, be aware that these payments may be subject to tax withholdings by the IRS.  All stipends paid to non-resident aliens should be processed by OPAA for determination of tax withholding requirements.  When applicable, OPAA will make the withholdings and forward the necessary information to OUS for payment to the federal government.  Non-resident alien employees may also be subject to tax withholdings, as determined by payroll.

    When paying international fellows, check with the Office of International Student and Faculty Services (ISFS) to determine if the visa category that the fellow holds requires him/her to maintain an employee-employer relationship (i.e., H-1B visa category).
  • Similarly, support for educational expenses (including tuition and fees) that exceeds the student’s actual cost of attendance may be subject to tax withholdings for students who are non-resident aliens, per IRS regulations.  In cases in which tax withholdings are required, all forms of compensation and other educational support payments in excess of a student’s cost of education will be reported to the IRS on form 1042-S.
  • When determining how to pay a student participant or trainee (i.e., stipend vs. hourly pay), one of the determining factors should be the student’s role in the project and what requirement he/she is expected to meet in reporting time and/or progress.  Key control factors include who determines what is worked on and how the work is done.  If OSU controls that, the person is an employee and should be paid through payroll.  If the individual has this control, they likely are not an employee.  The impact of the pay method on students’ financial aid, is not appropriate criteria for determining which method to use.
  • If a visiting scholar or researcher is to be paid while at OSU assisting with a research project, be sure to clearly specify the intent of the compensation.  If the intent is to only offset his/her travel costs, paying this as a reimbursement or per diem may be most appropriate.  This may or may not impact withholding requirements.  The tax treaty with that specific country, if applicable, is the determining factor in whether or not tax withholdings are required.  If, however, the visitor is to also be compensated for personal services, paying them on a stipend basis or on payroll will be necessary. It is important to remember that international visitors who are non-resident aliens may need to have taxes withheld from this compensation and will need to have the necessary VISA documentation (see International Programs website for additional information about applying for a VISA and for VISA types.  Refer to IRS publications 901 and 515 for further information about tax withholdings and tax treaties for non-resident aliens.
  • Individuals (including employees) who host English Language Institute participants in the Homestay Program may be compensated.  These payments are initiated by International Programs.  This is an allowable cost as these are paid with designated operations funds.
  • Any student payments paid from university funding sources as support for a sponsored award need to be paid from a designated cost share index set up by the Office of Post Award Administration.
  • Per FIS policy 410-32 Participant Support Costs, participants may include students, visiting scholars, scientists, workshop attendees, or teachers (K-12). OUS employees cannot be paid as participants.
  • When paying support for participants (both non-OUS and OUS), the flowchart in FIS policy 410-32 may be a helpful resource for determining the correct account code, tax implications, and receipt/documentation requirements for various circumstances. 

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