Methods of Payment to Graduate Students

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) or Teaching Assistant (TA)

While acting as a Graduate Research Assistant or a Teaching Assistant, a student's stipend is processed through the payroll system. The student is paid semi-monthly a fixed amount based on the annual stipend rate. Timecards are not required or collected. Taxes are withheld from the student check; the amount will vary depending on how the student fills out the W-4 (withholding) form. The W-4 form can be changed anytime during the year through the Workday system. The student will receive a W-2 (Wage and Tax Statement) from the university at the address listed on your paycheck or on-line, depending on your preference. You are strongly encouraged to use direct deposit; forms can be obtained from Checks are mailed to student's local address of record. The first check should be available on August 31.  (Note: Students must be registered and have a completed I-9 form to receive a stipend check).


A student on a fellowship (either university fellowship or supported by a departmental fellowship i.e. the Genetics training grant support is considered a fellowship payment) is paid once per semester through the Bursar system. This check is issued at the beginning of each semester of study (August; January; June). Most stipend checks should be available at the Bursar's Office in Day Hall after registration and are released to registered Cornell students presenting a valid Cornell ID. Taxes are not withheld from fellowship checks and you are responsible for paying estimated taxes on your taxable income. You are strongly encouraged to sign up for direct deposit. Forms can be obtained at

Tuition Payments

Tuition payments are made through the university financial system and credited to your Bursar bill. Fall tuition is credited by August and Spring tuition is credited by January. The tuition payment should be taken care of automatically for most students. If you have questions regarding your Bursar bill, please see the GFA in 107 Biotech.

Health Insurance

All registered grad students are automatically enrolled in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP), an accident/illness policy that meets the health insurance standards developed by the American College Health Association. The yearly premium is paid by your source of financial support and should be taken care of automatically. Please contact the GFA if there remains a charge on your Bursar bill. Additional family coverage and/or optional dental and vision insurance is available at a cost to the student. More information can be found on the Office of Student Health Benefits web site,


Graduate student stipends are considered taxable by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the State of New York. GRA and TA stipends are administered through Payroll and typically have taxes taken out of each check. Fellowships are typically paid in lump sums throughout the year and do not have taxes withheld. Students should consult their tax advisor to determine how best to handle payment of taxes to suit their particular circumstances. Cornell faculty and staff cannot offer tax advice. General information is available on the Graduate School website as well as in the University Division of Financial Affairs.