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Payments and Fee Remissions to Graduate Students on Sponsored ProgramsSPA-11-010


This policy applies to all Indiana University graduate students receiving payments and fee remissions from sponsored program accounts.

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Policy Statement

It is the policy of Indiana University that any payments and fee remissions from sponsored program accounts to a graduate student must be appropriately documented, expended and reported according to the terms and conditions of the sponsored program and all institutional policies and procedures such as to comply with best practices.

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Reason for Policy

To establish guidelines and best practices for payments and fee remissions to graduate students from sponsored program accounts in order to ensure that all such payments and remissions comply with sponsor and institutional policies and procedures and to ensure that policy and practices are consistent with Handbook for Student Academic Appointments.

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Graduate Student as Research Assistant

Graduate students working on sponsored projects as research assistants are considered employees and an employer-employee relationship exists.

All such graduate students must be paid through appropriate university appointment process and the salary will be paid within the 2350-2388 object code range as appropriate.

Tuition and fees paid for graduate students as research assistants on sponsored projects are considered a fringe benefit and should be called a “fee remission” and be paid with the 5400 object code.  Full fee remissions are mandatory (less the amount of the dedicated fee paid by the student) for a maximum of 30 hours per academic year if the appointment is 50% or greater.  Fee remissions may be charged to federal and federal pass-through sponsored programs only if the graduate student is working 50% FTE or more; for other sources of funding, schools may elect to award fee remissions (less the dedicated fee paid by the student) to graduate student employees with appointments less than 50% FTE.

Because of the timing problem in obtaining accurate information on graduate students, the billing of fee remissions to sponsored programs is the responsibility of the individual academic units or responsibility centers.  The total fees (less the dedicated fee paid by the student) will be charged to the academic unit or responsibility center which will be responsible for billing individual sponsored programs for whatever part of the fees it expects to collect.

Given that fee remissions are considered a fringe benefit, the fee remission should be charged to the sponsored program where the graduate student’s salary is charged.  If the salary is transferred from one account to another during the semester, the fee remission should follow the salary.  If the salary is distributed between two or more sponsored program accounts, the fee remission should be distributed in that same proportion.

Responsibility Centers are responsible to reconcile accounts to ensure that fee remissions paid are proportional to salaries paid.  If a sponsored program terminates before the end of a semester, only a proportionate share of the fee remission should be charged to the sponsored program.

Graduate Students on Fellowship Grants

If a graduate student is being paid for non-service purposes and no employee-employer relationship exists, the payment is considered a fellowship. Postdoctoral students from all campuses are paid under object code 5821 based on the fellowship award form. Payments to pre-doctoral students (degree seeking) are paid under object code 5820.

Tuition and fees paid for fellowships are considered a non-service award and should be called a fee scholarship. The object code to be used is 5870.

Federal regulations do not allow fellowships on federal projects except on specific training or fellowship grants or other special circumstances as specifically indicated in the award terms. On all other Federal grants, graduate students should be paid as graduate assistants.

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Failure to adhere to this policy may result in charges for payments and fee remissions from sponsored program accounts to graduate students to be considered unallowable and may be moved to a non-sponsored departmental account.

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  • Important Notice 97-1: “Payments to Graduate Students and Related Fees”
  • Important Notice 92-4: “Fee Remissions”

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