Stipends & Taxes

There are two kinds of stipends for awards from The Graduate School, service and non-service stipends. These differ based on whether or not your funding requires teaching, research, or other academic work.

Service Stipends

A service stipend is funding that requires you to assist with teaching, research, or other academic work. If you have a stipend as a Teaching Assistant (TA) or Research Assistant (RA), it is considered a service stipend.

Awards from The Graduate School that have service stipends: University Merit Assistantship, Royster Society of Fellows Recruitment Fellowship (2nd, 3rd, and 4th years), and Weiss Scholarship Supplemental Award.

If you receive a service stipend, it will be paid directly to you at the end of each month from Payroll Services.

To set up direct deposit, contact the HR manager in your department.

Taxes will be taken out automatically from a service stipend. Before getting on the payroll, you must complete form W-4 for federal taxes and form NC-4 for North Carolina state taxes. During tax season, you will receive a W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) from UNC.

Service stipends are not included in calculating your eligibility for financial aid.

Non-Service Stipends

A non-service stipend is funding that does not require that you to assist with teaching, research, or other academic work.

Awards from The Graduate School that have non-service stipends: Summer Research Fellowship, Off-Campus Dissertation Fellowship, Dissertation Completion Fellowship, and Royster Society of Fellows Recruitment Fellowship (1st and 5th years).

If you receive a non-service stipend, it will go through the financial aid system. The stipend will be paid to your student account and applied to your bill. Any extra will be refunded directly to you by check once per semester, or you can set up direct deposit.

Student Account Services pays stipends shortly after the first day of the semester.

Fellowship length Payment schedule
Nine months
(one academic year)
Two installments:
  • Fall semester (August)
  • Spring semester (January)
Twelve months Three installments:
  • Fall semester (August- 5 months)
  • Spring semester (January- 5 months)
  • Summer semester (June- 2 months)
One semester One-time payment

Taxes will not be taken out automatically from a non-service stipend. You are responsible for reporting this on your taxes. View the Student Account Services guide to tax reporting for scholarships and fellowships.

You will receive a 1098-T (Tuition Payments Statement), which is for information purposes only. You do not need to file this form on your taxes.

Receiving Both Service and Non-Service Awards

If you are receiving both service and non-service awards, each portion is handled separately. For example, if you are a TA in your department and you have a non-service award from The Graduate School, the TA portion will be paid through Payroll in regular monthly installments. Your non-service payment will be paid to your student account.

Tax Forms Issued by UNC

Form Purpose Form Provided By
W-2: Wage and Tax Statement Provided if you are paid through Payroll Services (assistantships) Payroll Services
1099-Misc: Miscellaneous Income Provided if you are paid through the Cashier's Office (trainees on a grant). Graduate School Fellows should not receive a 1099-Misc. Disbursement Services
1098-T: Tuition Payments Statement Provided if you have been charged tuition and if you have scholarships through the Cashier's Office. Its purpose is not to report scholarship income to the IRS. It is for information purposes only. Cashier's Office

Resources and Tax Assistance

To learn more about taxes and your educational expenses, go to IRS Publication 970: Tax Benefits for Education.

If you are an international student and have tax questions, visit the Office of International Student & Scholar Services. They offer tax seminars every spring.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 800-829-1040. The VITA Chapter of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law provides help to low and middle-income taxpayers in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. The Chapel Hill Womens Center also has a VITA chapter.

Contact us

Beverly Wyrick, Director of Finance and Administration
(919) 962-6318

Medelia Stambach, Financial and Admin Assistant
(919) 843-6125

Service Stipends
Payroll Services
(919) 962-0046

Non-Service Stipends
Student Account Services
(919) 962-1368


The information on this page applies only to funding from The Graduate School.

This information is not intended as tax advice. You are encouraged to seek the assistance of a tax advisor.