Financial Information


Sources of Support

  1. Neuroscience Training Program Training Grant. These traineeships come from a training grant awarded to the Program by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. These traineeships pay tuition and fees and a 12-month stipend. First priority for the annual traineeship slots is given to the incoming first-year students who are doing research rotations to choose a lab. Any remaining slots are awarded by the Student Funding Committee on the basis of a competitive application submitted by the student and faculty mentor. Students who are supported by the training grant are eligible for a $300 travel allowance. Reimbursement for the travel allowance must follow University regulations and are submitted via E-Reimbursement. These regulations are published in the Travel Reference Guide that is available on the web (http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/acct/policy/ppindex.html). Please contact the Program office prior to travel to coordinate the most efficient means of providing payment in advance or reimbursement for the travel.
  2. Outside Fellowships. Various fellowships, administered by federal or private sources, are available to graduate students in the biological sciences. The Program encourages you to seek outside fellowships when appropriate. Some examples of fellowships that have been awarded to Neuroscience students in recent years are offered by the National Science Foundation (https://www.fastlane.nsf.gov/grfp/Login.do); Individual Predoctoral Fellowships (NRSA, F31) from the NCI, NIA, NIAAA, NIDCD, NIDCR, NCCAM, NIMH, NIDA and NINDS (http://grants2.nih.gov/training/F_files_nrsa.htm); MD/PhD Individual Predoctoral Fellowships (NRSA, F30) from the NCI, NIA, NIAAA, NIDCD, NIMH, NIDA, and NHLBI ; and Individual Predoctoral Fellowships to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research (all NIH Institutes, F31 for diversity). Information about outside fellowships can also be obtained from the Program Office (9531 WIMR II, 262-4932) or from the Fellowships Office of the Graduate School (217 Bascom Hall, 262-5837).
  3. Advanced Opportunity Fellowships. These Fellowships are awarded by the Graduate School, through the SciMed Graduate Research Scholars Program (SciMed GRS) to entering students of specific underrepresented minority ethnicities. Qualified incoming students are nominated by the NTP Admissions Committee to receive these fellowships and will be notified individually if selected.
  4. Research Assistantships. Research grants and contracts awarded by outside agencies to support the research projects of individual faculty members and may include funds for Research Assistantships that can be held by graduate students. Research Assistants receive remission of all tuition, but not segregated fees.

    Beginning September 1, 2014, the Program target stipend is $25,000. If your starting stipend is below the target stipend (i.e., Research Assistants, Trainees and some outside Fellowships), it will supplemented either by the Program or your major professor up to the target stipend level.

Mechanisms of Payment

Checks are paid on the first of each month for the preceding month’s work. Your first paycheck will be available at the beginning of the month following your first full month of employment or appointment. For example, if your appointment begins on September 1st, your first check will be available October 1st. Paychecks are deposited directly at your financial institution following completion of a direct deposit authorization form. If you need to change the institution or account where your check is deposited, a new form must be filled out. Direct deposit authorization forms are available online at: http://www.bussvc.wisc.edu/howto/Payroll/pay-direct-deposit-auth-uw1032.pdf and may be completed and turned into the Program Office at anytime.

Taxes

If you are appointed as a Trainee or a Fellow, taxes will not be withheld from your paycheck by the University. However, the support that you receive is considered taxable income. The University provides trainees and fellows with a summary of stipend payments each January. You may need to file an estimated quarterly tax return with the federal and/or state government. For students who are appointed as Research Assistants, the University is required to withhold State and Federal income taxes on the entire stipend based on your W-4 information. Please note that you may change the number of exemptions on your W-4 at any time. Forms are available in the Program Office. You may wish to consult IRS publication 970 (Tax Benefits for Education) or IRS publication 678 (Foreign Students and Scholars) for further information about tax reporting. Copies may be requested by calling 1-800-TAX-FORM or they can be downloaded from the IRS website (http://www.irs.gov/ ). State tax forms are available for downloading on the web (http://www.dor.state.wi.us/).

*Please note that the Program office cannot offer tax advice. Please consult the following page provided by the University for tax filing resources: http://uwservice.wisc.edu/tax/filing-resources.php.

Loans

For information on the various types of graduate student loans, contact the Office of Student Financial Aid (333 East Campus Mall #9701, 262-3060). This Office also can provide short-term loans during temporary financial crises as well as financial counseling.

Benefits Including Health Insurance

As a UW-Madison Graduate Assistant, you are entitled to State Group Health Insurance. As soon as you arrive, you should contact the Program Office (9531 WIMR II) to receive information describing the benefits that are available to you, including health insurance, life insurance as well as supplemental dental and vision insurance and excess medical insurance. A link to the University Benefits Services page also provides helpful information: http://www.ohr.wisc.edu/benefits/. Read this information carefully as there are different deadlines for the various benefit programs, but in general you should return all forms within 30 days of your appointment date. The health insurance application must be received on or before your first month of employment to have effective coverage in that month. For example, if your appointment begins September 1, the program office must have completed health insurance application no later than September 1 in order to have coverage for the month of September.

There are several plans offering services within the State Group Health Insurance Program. They offer different types of coverage ranging from the Standard Plan to Health Maintenance Organizations. You may elect to change your health plan once each year during a two-week "dual-choice" enrollment period, which typically falls in October. Changes made during dual-choice are effective January 1 of the next year.

If you get married, divorced or have/adopt a child while appointed as a graduate assistant, please consult with the Program Office regarding changes to your benefits. Typically, you have thirty days from the date of a major life event to change your coverage.

Graduate assistants (excluding teaching assistants and program/project assistants) are not eligible for vacation, sick, holiday or other leave benefits. Requests for vacation, sickness, maternity leave, or holidays should be reasonable and are approved by the student’s major professor.

Disability Information

The University of Wisconsin-Madison campus has an office to assess students for accommodations because of a disability. For more information on these services, please visit the McBurney Center website (http://www.mcburney.wisc.edu/). Providing documentation of disability is the responsibility of the student. Eligibility for services is based on a combination of the student’s description of need, the thoroughness of the disability documentation, and documentation policies. At the conclusion of the intake a verified individualized services and accommodations plan (VISA) is written for each student and training in use of the accommodations or services is provided.

Mental Health Resources On and Off Campus

Your health insurance provides some coverage for mental health services. In addition, Counseling Services through University Health Services is available on campus free to all students. In addition to individual counseling, group sessions are available. Groups of special interest to graduate students include a Graduate Women Group and Dissertation Support Group. For more information on Counseling Services, please visit their website (http://uhs.wisc.edu/services/counseling/) .

 


Funding for Travel to Scientific Meetings and Courses

All travel expenses for which you expect to be reimbursed should be approved before travel occurs. Contact the Program office prior to travel to learn about state and federal guidelines.

Funding Through the Program

Students supported by the Program’s Training Grant are eligible for $300 of travel expenses. In addition, the Program holds an annual Travel Award Competition in May. The Program awards $500 travel allowances that can be used in the following fiscal year (July 1-June 30). There is a short application that needs to be filled out to apply for these awards. The Student Awards Committee administers this competition. From the pool of applicants, a WI Chapter nominee will be selected for the Society for Neuroscience Graduate Student Travel Award and Postdoctoral Travel Award. In the past this award has been worth at least $750 plus the meeting registration fee.

Outside Funding

There are several opportunities for students to obtain outside funding for travel. Many meetings have competitions for student travel awards. Here are just a few examples.

  1. SACNAS offers travel scholarships to attend the SACNAS National Conference. More information can be found on their website (http://sacnas.org/events/national-conf/travel-scholarships) .
  2. The Society for Neuroscience offers a Neuroscience Scholars Program for under-represented minority students. More information can be found on the Society for Neuroscience webpage (http://www.sfn.org/Awards-and-Funding/Individual-Prizes-and-Fellowships/Fellowships/Neuroscience-Scholars-Program).
  3. The UW-Madison Graduate Student Council and Graduate Student Professional Development Office offer Vilas Travel Awards for dissertators. Information regarding this award can be found on the Graduate Student Collaborative site (http://grad.wisc.edu/pd/vilas/research/).

Guidelines for Reimbursement of Entertainment Expenses

Entertaining Guest Speakers/Interviewing Applicants

Typically, speakers in the Neuroscience Lecture Series and interviewing applicants meet with students and faculty in the Program for meals during their visits to Madison. The Program has funds to reimburse faculty and students for these meetings. In order to distribute these funds equitably, the following rules for reimbursement apply (in addition to state and/or federal rules).

Student Lunches

  1. Students in the Neuroscience Training Program will be reimbursed for lunch only with guest speakers sponsored by the Program and applicants interviewing with the Program. Students are encouraged to go to lunch with other speakers, such as those who give departmental seminars, but reimbursement cannot be provided by the Program for these lunches. Reimbursement for alcoholic purchases is not allowable.
  2. The reimbursement rate per student is $10.00 including tax and tip. This rate is the current reimbursement rate set by the state legislature for in-state lunches. Reimbursement for each lunch will be limited to 5 students plus the speaker. If the lunch is with an interviewing applicant, the number of Program students attending should not exceed the number of applicants.
  3. To process a reimbursement, the Program Office needs the original receipt including an itemized bill for the cost of the lunch and a list of people who attended the lunch. If an itemized bill is unable to be provided by the restaurant, please notify the Program Office when the receipt is turned in. Reimbursement takes approximately 1-2 weeks.

Student Dinners

  1. The reimbursement rate per student is $20.00 including tax and tip. This rate is the current reimbursement rate set by the state legislature for in-state dinners. For dinners with an interviewing applicant, the number of Program students attending should not exceed the number of applicants.
  2. To process a reimbursement, the Program Office needs the original receipt including an itemized bill for the cost of the dinner and a list of people who attended the dinner. If an itemized bill is unable to be provided by the restaurant, please notify the Program Office when the receipt is turned in. Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages is not allowable. Reimbursement takes approximately 1-2 weeks.

Any variations from these guidelines must be approved prior to the event by the Program Office.