Sources of Support
- Neuroscience Training Program 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.
- 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) and Individual Predoctoral Fellowships NRSA F31, F31 Diversity Fellowships, and F30 for MD/PhD students (https://researchtraining.nih.gov/programs/fellowships). Information about outside fellowships can also be obtained from the Program Office (9531 WIMR II, 608-262-4932) or from the Fellowships Office of the Graduate School (217 Bascom Hall, 608-262-5837).
- 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.
- 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 July 1, 2019, the Program target stipend is $29,000. 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.
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 (https://www.revenue.wi.gov/Pages/Form/2016-TaxIndividual.aspx).
*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.
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 “open” 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.
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 (https://www.uhs.wisc.edu/mental-health/).