Student Payment Transition: Summer 2023

The 2019 Committee on Graduate Education’s report identified issues related to student payments as a recurring source of dissatisfaction among graduate students and as an impediment to student success. Based on student feedback, beginning in Summer 2023 the University will implement the next step in addressing student concerns by transitioning to a consistent monthly payment schedule for PhD student primary funding. This particular change aims to minimize confusion and financial hardship by standardizing practices that have varied by division and school and have included combinations of quarterly lump sum funding, biweekly funding, and monthly funding for students.

This FAQ aims to answer general questions related to this change. Further questions can be directed to your area’s Dean of Students Office and the UChicagoGRAD Administrative Services team (

1. What is changing about PhD funding payments?

There is currently considerable variability across the University regarding how students receive their primary funding. Depending on the department and the funding type, students receive payments biweekly, monthly, or quarterly. Some students receive a combination of these types of payments in the same quarter and some students switch from one type to another from quarter to quarter.  The Committee on Graduate Education identified uncertainty about funding payments as a source of student confusion and dissatisfaction. Starting in Summer 2023, PhD students’ primary funding of all kinds—fellowship, pedagogical training, and research assistantships—will be paid monthly on the last business day of every month.

2. Who is impacted by these changes?

These changes will affect PhD students. Master’s students, professional degree students, and undergraduates will not be directly impacted by this transition.

3. When will I receive payments?

Starting in Summer Quarter 2023, PhD students will receive their primary funding every quarter on the monthly payment cycle. This means in general that students will be paid on the final business day of each month:

  • Summer Quarter funding will pay in July, August, and September.
  • Autumn Quarter funding will pay in October, November, and December.
  • Winter Quarter funding will pay in January, February, and March.
  • Spring Quarter funding will pay in April, May, and June.

Because the launch of this schedule change may create a financial hardship for some students, for Summer 2023, in order to ease the transition to monthly payments, continuing students will receive four payments, with two paid in July (3rd and 31st), one at the end of August (31st), and one at the end of September (29th). Example: a student with annualized funding of $33,000 will receive $8,250 in Summer Quarter, split into FOUR payments of $2,062.50 each. Incoming students starting in Autumn every year will also have their first quarter payments split into four payments in order to facilitate earlier payment.

4. Will taxes be withheld from my funding payments?

In quarters during which your funding is classified as pedagogical or research training, federal and state taxes will be withheld from each monthly payment for that quarter. In quarters during which your funding is classified as fellowship stipend, federal tax withholding will depend on your status in the US:

Residency for Tax Purposes Recipient Location Tax Withholding*
Non-Resident Outside US 0% Federal
Non-Resident w/o Tax Treaty Inside US 14% Federal
Non-Resident w/ Tax Treaty Inside US 0% Federal
Resident Resident 0% Federal
*Illinois State Tax will not be withheld from any fellowship stipend funding.

5. Will the new model affect how much I pay in taxes?

For many students (those who are residents for tax purposes (i.e., US Citizens, Legal Permanent Residents, or international students who have passed the substantial presence test and are not otherwise eligible for a tax treaty), this change will not increase how much you are paying in taxes, only how the taxes are paid. During quarters in which you hold a pedagogical or research training assignment, your funding will have federal and state tax withholding at the point of payment. Overall this could lead to a decrease in the amount of estimated taxes you need to pay during the tax year. Your PhD student funding has always been considered taxable and reportable to the IRS and Illinois Department of Revenue.

If you are a non-resident for tax purposes and have been claiming an exemption from tax withholding for both a tax treaty that applies to fellowship stipend funding and a tax treaty that applies to pedagogical training funding, and you are enrolled in a program that previously split your primary funding between fellowship stipend and pedagogical training during the quarters in which you taught, you may experience a net increase in your tax obligation.

Taxes can be very complicated, and individual situations may vary depending on the type of funding and a student’s nationality and relevant tax treaties. If you have any questions, contact

6. Will the new model change my requirement to pay estimated taxes?

It depends—for quarters during which your primary funding is through pedagogical or research training, your payments will be subject to federal and state withholding and the withheld taxes will be subtracted from the amount that you would otherwise be required to pay in estimated tax. Some students will continue to need to make estimated tax payments (particularly residents for tax purposes who receive a significant amount of funding as fellowship stipend funding).