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Stipend and Salary Resources

Finances and Your Funding

Most graduate students are paid quarterly, but this may vary depending on the source of your funding (Stipend/Fellowship vs Salary). Your stipend checks and refunds can be tracked and managed through Axess.


Entering students are offered a stipend and tuition. Students are required to apply for predoctoral fellowships from the National Science Foundation during their first year in residence. Applications are available on the Web and are due in November. Students are also encouraged to apply for other outside fellowships. ASSU fees, late fees, etc. are the responsibility of each student. If you are living in campus housing, the system is set up to automatically subtract the housing fees from the stipend amount Health insurance will be paid by the department if not covered by fellowship institutional allowances. Students may receive stipends quarterly or semi-monthly. A U.S. Social Security number is required to receive any funds disbursed by Stanford.

For those students on fellowships who are paid quarterly, the stipend checks are issued the day before classes begin and are mailed by the Student Financial Services Office to the student's address in Axess. Fellowship stipends are taxable but not subject to withholding or reporting by Stanford. Students receiving stipends are responsible for making any necessary estimated tax payments.


Tuition (10 units) is fully covered by research assistantships or traineeships. Tuition paid by the department is paid directly to the University. Students will receive tuition credit on their University bill.

Salary (Assistantships)

Students being paid on any type of assistantship, usually a Research Assistanship funded by the PI, or students paid on any other type of hourly appointment that requires submission of hourly time sheets, are paid on the same schedule as the staff and faculty. Students are paid semi-monthly on the 7th and the 22nd of the month (or on the preceding work day if these dates fall on a weekend of holiday).

Salary assistantships are taxable and subject to withholding, and are reported by Stanford on a W-2 form. International students may qualify for federal "tax treaty exemption" - if one exists between the US and theory country. Direct-deposit is also available; see your Student Services Administrator for assistance.

Direct Deposit

Fellowships stipends and assistantships payments can be handles through direct deposit to your bank account. To set up direct deposit, login to Axess — Employee Information tab — Financial Information — Direct Deposit and follow the directions.


Checks and other types of payments to the student will not be issued if the student has unpaid fees from previous quarters (housing, activity fee, etc.) has not submitted the federal employment eligibility form (I-9 for employee Payroll only), federal and state tax withholding certificate, and patent agreement form (SU-18, done online in Axess). Outstanding bills from the library, University, or Vaden Health Center will also result in holds. Hold must be cleared with the originating offer before stipend check will be issued.

If you owe money for tuition or health insurance and receive full funding from your department, and need help resolving any issues please see your Student Service Administrator.

National Science Foundation Fellowships

The NSF Pre-Doctoral Graduate Research Fellowship is a prestigious and nationally competitive three-year fellowship. PhD students may apply during their first and second years, and everyone who is eligible should apply. Our students are highly competitive for outside fellowships, and we encourage and mentor these applications. There are many workshops for students that cover fellowship writing. Application deadlines for 2013 are the week of November 4 (specific date depends on your discipline), with reference letters due by November 14. For more information, application details, and eligibility requirements, see the NSF website.


Stipends are subject to income tax, but not withholding, so the student must pay estimated taxes (form 1040ES). Please view information found at the Student Financial Services website.

Student Affairs houses information and forms regarding tax status and payments.

If you receive a stipend taxes are most likely not taken out unless you are an international student. Students who receive a stipend will need to pay quarterly estimated taxes to the IRS. You are responsible for quarterly taxes if your taxes will be $1000 or more and you paid taxes last year. You are subject to a fine plus interest if you do not pay estimated taxes.

Quarterly taxes are due each year on April 15 (Q1), June 15 (Q2), September 15 (Q3), and January 15 (Q4).

Other Stanford Financial Resources

The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education also explains detailed tax information.

Student Financial Services includes detailed information about:

  • Taxes
  • Student travel reimbursements and reimbursement forms
  • University bill details
  • Payroll deductions

CashCourse is an information portal aimed to help students be more financially savvy, and includes advice about:

  • Dealing with credit and debit cards
  • Budgeting and financial planning
  • Money management
  • Protecting your credit

The Financial Aid Office includes information about loans options, including emergency loans for students experiencing an unexpected financial hardship. Please see graduate basics for information.

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