Stipend and Benefits Information

Stipends and Taxes

Service Stipends

A service stipend is funding that requires you to assist with teaching, research, or other academic work. Your academic or hiring department initiates the payroll action in the HR/Payroll system in ConnectCarolina. Payments are disbursed through direct deposit at the end of each month.

Taxes are deducted from service stipends. Before getting on payroll, you must complete several hiring forms, including the W-4 for federal taxes and the NC-4 for North Carolina state taxes.

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

Definitions:

* Students in the above positions EXCEPT Graduate Assistant may be eligible for benefits in the form of tuition, fee awards and health insurance.

For more information on the job codes associated with student employment, please visit Student Employment.

Non-Service Stipends

A non-service stipend is funding that does not require you to assist with teaching, research, or other academic work. These stipends are considered financial aid and are included in calculations for loan eligibility. You should check with the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid to determine how your loan eligibility will be affected before accepting a non-service stipend.

The University processes non-service stipends through GradStar, a ConnectCarolina system that is linked to financial aid and student accounts. The stipend will be applied your account against all outstanding charges (including tuition, fees, campus health charges, parking or library fines, etc). Any extra will be refunded via direct deposit.

The University Cashier disburses stipends shortly after the first day of the semester.

Taxes are not automatically deducted from a non-service stipend. You are responsible for reporting your taxable income. View the University Cashier’s guide to tax reporting for scholarships and fellowships.

All students receive a 1098-T (Tuition Payments Statement), which is for information purposes only.

Definitions:

Receiving Both Service and Non-Service Stipends

Service and non-service stipends are administered separately. For example, if you are a TA in one department and have a non-service stipend from The Graduate School, the TA portion will be paid through Payroll in regular monthly installments. Your non-service payment will be deposited into your account by the Cashier’s Office.

Tax Forms Issued by UNC

Form Purpose Form Provided By
W-2: Wage and Tax Statement Provided if your stipend is paid is paid through Payroll Services (assistantships) Payroll Services
1099-Misc: Miscellaneous Income Provided if your stipend is paid through Accounts Payable (trainees on a grant). Disbursement Services
1098-T: Tuition Payments Statement Provided if there are payments for “qualified tuition and related expenses,” including non-service stipends, tuition, and fees.
Note: The 1098-T does not to report scholarship income to the IRS; it is for information purposes only.
University Cashier

Resources and Tax Assistance

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

International students should consult the Office of International Student & Scholar Services.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income individuals who cannot prepare their own tax returns. To locate the nearest VITA site, call 800-829-1040. The UNC-Chapel Hill School of Law and the Compass Center for Women and Families each host a VITA chapter.

Tuition and Fees

Policies

The cost of tuition at UNC-Chapel Hill is based on your academic program and residency status. Mandatory fees are fees charged to all students. In addition, there are special fees charged for specific purposes that may not apply to all students.

If you are determined to be a resident of North Carolina for tuition purposes, you will be charged the resident rate of tuition (also called the in-state rate), based on your academic program.

If you are determined to be a non-resident of North Carolina for tuition purposes, you will be charged the non-resident amount of tuition (also called the out-of-state rate). A full list of all tuition and fee rates can be found here, Cashier's Office Tuition and Fee Rates.

Definitions:

Eligibility Requirements for Tuition and Fees

You must meet the following criteria to qualify for tuition remission, in-state tuition, and fees:

  1. You must be a full-time, degree-seeking in a residential program administered by The Graduate School. You are considered a full-time student if you are enrolled for each term and
    • Registered for 9 or more graduate credit hours in a fall or spring term
    • OR registered for a minimum of 3 hours of thesis substitute (992), thesis (993), or dissertation (994) in a fall, spring, or summer term. A student may register for additional courses as needed, but if registering for less than 9 hours, this must include a minimum of 3 hours of 992/993/994 to be considered full-time
    • OR registered for fewer than 9 graduate credit hours in a fall, spring, or summer term, exclusive of 992/993/994, and granted a Waiver of Hours for that term.
  2. You must receive a minimum stipend level per semester, as set by The Graduate School. Stipend levels are subject to change each year.
    Minimum Stipend 2019-2020
    Doctoral programs and Master’s/Doctoral Programs: $7,850/semester (RAs and TAs) Terminal Master’s Programs: $5,700/semester (RAs and TAs)
  3. You must have an appointment as a teaching assistant, research assistant, trainee or non-service fellow. The appointment must be in effect for a period of no less than one full semester for you to be eligible for, and to retain, tuition remission, in-state tuition, and fees. NOTE: Graduate Assistant (GA) appointments are not eligible for tuition and fees.

All students who meet the eligibility requirements outlined above will receive in-state tuition and mandatory student fees. First-year doctoral students who are non-NC residents will also receive tuition remission. Tuition remission is only guaranteed for doctoral students who are non-NC residents in their first year. After the first year, tuition remission is at the discretion of the academic program. The academic program also has discretion over tuition remission for Master’s students. Students hired as Graduate Assistants (EHRA) or as hourly temporary (SHRA) employees are not eligible for tuition, fee, or health insurance benefits.

If at any point in the semester you are determined to no longer meet the eligibility requirements to receive tuition and fees, the full amount will be rescinded, and you will be personally responsible for paying the full costs of tuition for that semester. Discuss any extenuating circumstances with your director of graduate studies and The Graduate School.

The Graduate School provides tuition remission, in-state tuition, and fees for fall and spring semesters only. Departments may provide tuition and fees for summer semesters from their own sources.

Duration of Funding Support

Individual programs may grant additional semesters of support from their own budget or other departmental sources of funding. You must maintain eligibility to receive additional tuition remission, instate tuition, fees, and health insurance.

Additional semesters of support from Graduate School funding sources are not allowed.

If you complete a degree in one academic program and then enroll in another academic program or change academic programs without receiving a degree, you are only eligible for the maximum semesters of eligibility as noted above.

Appointment Deadline

You should be appointed to your assistantship at the beginning of the relevant semester, preferably no later than the first day of classes (as indicated in the University Registrar's Calendar.)

Registration Deadline

You should be registered no later than the last day to register/add classes (as indicated in the Academic Calendar). Failure to register on time or add/drop classes after census date could result in financial consequences.

Health Insurance

All graduate students enrolled in at least 1 credit hour, in a degree-seeking program, and eligible to pay the student health fee at UNC-Chapel Hill are required to show proof of active health insurance coverage. For information about the mandatory health insurance requirement visit the Campus Health website. Proof of active creditable health insurance may include:

Graduate Student Health Insurance Program (GSHIP)

Eligible graduate students with a Research Assistantship (RA) or Teaching Assistantship (TA) or Fellow or Trainee appointment, must be enrolled in GSHIP by their academic department. For more information on plan benefits, consult the BlueCross BlueShield website for the UNC-CH RA/TA plan.

The policy year is August 1 – July 31. You must meet the following requirements to be enrolled in the RA/TA insurance plan:

Remember:

GeoBlue Student Health Insurance Plan

This plan, made available in cooperation with BlueCross BlueShield, is specifically for international students. For more information on plan benefits, consult the GeoBlue website. International students will receive specific GeoBlue enrollment instructions through International Student and Scholar Services and Campus Health.

Mandatory Student Health Insurance Plan

This plan, administered by BlueCross BlueShield of NC, is for students who do not have other creditable insurance coverage. Each semester the insurance premium amount will be charged to your account in Student Center in ConnectCarolina. You must register for classes to activate insurance coverage. For more information on plan benefits, consult the BlueCross BlueShield website for the UNC-CH mandatory plan. Emails are sent weekly from Campus Health reminding students to take action.

Hard Waiver Process

If you have other creditable insurance coverage, you must complete the waiver process each semester before the published deadline. For details on the waiver process, deadlines and procedures consult the Campus Health website.

Contact Us
Graduate School Fellowships Office
gradfunding@unc.edu