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Handbook of Operating Procedures

Trainee Stipends

Policy Number: 140


Stipends paid by the university


All funds administered as stipends by the university

Date Reviewed:
January 2017
Responsible Office:
Sponsored Projects Administration; Payroll
Responsible Executive:
Senior Vice President, Finance and Business Services


It is the policy of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (“university”) to encourage trainees to apply for stipends in the furtherance of their education and research and to encourage university representatives to apply for fellowships and training grants in the furtherance of their research and in the development of research scientists for the future. When such fellowships and grants are awarded, it is the responsibility of the principal investigator and his or her departmental management to appoint stipend recipients.

To qualify as a stipend recipient, an individual must be a candidate for a degree, either at the university or elsewhere, or must have received a doctoral degree from an accredited domestic or foreign institution. This policy does not apply to high school students participating in summer student programs.

In all cases, the university will adhere to the regulations and guidelines of the awarding agency in the appointment of candidates for stipends and in the payment of stipends.


Stipend: For purposes of this policy, a stipend is defined as a fixed sum of money paid periodically by the university to an individual to defray living expenses.  A stipend can be from a training grant (institutional or federal); a merit fellowship awarded by the university; fellowships awarded by an outside agency; or a practicum required for a degree program. In all cases, no service is required of the stipend recipient.


For purposes of this policy, trainees include:

  • Graduate Research Assistant (GRA): a student who is obtaining relevant research experience while pursuing a graduate degree. 
  • Predoctoral Student/Scholar/Fellow (Pre-Doc): an individual who has at least a Bachelor’s degree but not a doctorate.  Pre-Docs are generally developing their research skills and knowledge prior to pursuing a doctoral degree.
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow (Post-Doc):  an individual who holds a doctoral degree and is engaging in mentored research/training to acquire additional profession skills needed to pursue a chosen career path.  See also HOOP 122, Postdoctoral Research Fellows.


A. Payroll/Appointment Types

Trainees who receive a stipend only are not employees of the university. 

Trainees who are employees of the university (50% time or greater) and also receive a stipend award will be paid as employees and are eligible for benefits as provided by university policy and applicable law.  See also HOOP 167, Student Employment Appointments.  The stipend award will be paid as a salary supplement.  These individuals will receive a W-2 form annually for tax purposes.

Trainees who are less than 50% employees of the university are casual employees.  Casual employees cannot have both employment with the university and a stipend award.  Special circumstances may be considered by the department and Payroll on a case-by-case basis.

Detailed procedures regarding the processing of payments to employees who also receive stipends can be found on [link to be added].

B. Taxes

The university will not withhold taxes from payments to  trainees who  receive only a stipend.  The university will withhold taxes from payments to employees of the university who also receive a stipend. Individuals considered non-residents for tax purposes will be taxed at the required 14% tax rate, unless eligible for an income tax treaty exemption, and will receive a 1042 tax form from the university.


    • Sponsored Projects Administration
    • 713-500-3999
    • Payroll
    • 713-500-3962