Graduate Assistants & Fellows
Most Northeastern PhD students are supported on SGAs (Stipended Graduate Assistantships). SGAs include coverage for tuition and the Northeastern University Student Health Plan (NUSHP). Rates for spouses or dependents are available at the NUSHP website and these additional costs are the responsibility of the student. PhD students who enroll in NUSHP are required to pay the University Health and Counseling Services fee. SGAs carry a 20/hr per week commitment, may require that a student be on campus unless instructed otherwise. Students on SGAs are generally ineligible for on-campus employment.
The stipend portion of the SGA is dispersed in semi-monthly installments and will have taxes withheld (you will receive a W2 the following January). Domestic students can update their withholding on Workday. International Students must complete the paper Form W-4. Withholding needs to be designated as “Single” & “NRA” for Northeastern to ensure students are taxed correctly and any treaties with other countries are properly designated. The W-4 form can be found here. NUID # & “NRA” should be written in on the top of each form.
The tuition waiver portion of the award is considered a scholarship and therefore is not considered taxable.
If you wish to have your stipend disperse via Direct Deposit, please set up Direct Deposit via the Student Hub. Instructions can be found here.
SGAs are entitled to a 10% discount on books and a 15% discount on other merchandise at the bookstore. To receive these discounts, present a valid Husky card with an SGA sticker (available from your department) for the current academic year.
Many Northeastern PhD students during the course of their studies receive external fellowships to support their studies. Fellowships managed by Northeastern may be funded by internal or external funds and provide a stipend at the level of an SGA or higher and cover tuition and Northeastern University Student Health Plan (NUSHP) costs. The conditions for each fellowship varies and is based on the funder’s requirements. Students on Northeastern managed fellowships include coverage for tuition and the Northeastern University Student Health Plan (NUSHP). Rates for spouses or dependents are available at the NUSHP website and are the responsibility of the student. PhD students who enroll in NUSHP are required to pay the University Health and Counseling Services fee.
The stipend portion of the Fellowship is dispersed in semi-monthly installments and will not have taxes withheld. It is the student’s responsibility to file taxes and to disclose the Fellowship stipends received. The tuition waiver portion of the award is considered a scholarship and therefore will not be taxed.
Please set up Direct Deposit via the Student Hub so that your stipend posts to your bank account. Instructions can be found here.
Note that it is possible that a PhD student will receive a combination of SGA funds and Fellowship funds during the course of the calendar year and, therefore receive a W2 for a portion of their total stipend. Fellowships are awards that do not require a 20/hr per week commitment. Some students may receive Fellowships from their colleges with a service expectation and in those cases these Fellows will be appointed as SGAs. Please consult the SGA section above for more information about Stipended Graduate Assistantships and W-2s.
Information for college administrators on fellowship and award processing can be found here.
Distribution of Funding
Graduate assistants and fellows do not need to complete the Form I-9.
International students who are serving as Graduate Assistants should make sure they have their SSN on file with the University Registrar. To apply for the SSN, follow these steps:
- Log into myOGS to submit the F-1 On-Campus Employment Request e-form.
- A designated school official from OGS will review and sign the letter. You will be emailed when your letter is ready for pick-up. Pleas allow 5 business days for processing.
- Then, make an appointment with the Social Security Administration Office to present the letter and apply for the SSN.
- Once you receive the SSN, complete and submit the Social Security Number Update form.
What to Expect
Unlike most financial aid awards that are offered for the entire academic year, assistantships are only awarded one semester at a time. Receipt during a particular semester does not guarantee an award for the same amount during subsequent terms.
All on-campus student employees and all off-campus work-study student employees are required to enroll in direct deposit. To enroll in direct deposit, log into the Student Hub, select “My Links”, then “Student Financial Services”, then “Direct Deposit Form.” Paychecks will be deposited into the account you designate.
The scholarship portion of these awards will not actually post to your account until later classes begin, so your initial billing statement will not reflect this award.
Stipend amounts are determined by the graduate school or academic department. Generally, the total award amount is divided equally over the number of weeks of service, resulting in a consistent distribution of funds.
Semi-monthly paid research assistants or teaching fellows receive their funding on the 15th and the last day of the month, provided the department they are working for has submitted the required information before the payroll deadline.
Stipends are paid on a bi-weekly schedule.
Stipends are subject to federal and state taxes.
The W-4 Form indicates how much in taxes will be withheld from your paycheck. To provide this information, you’ll need to update your tax information via Workday. To do so, go into your applications and select the Pay app. Then select “Withholding Elections” and update the form. Please note that you will have access to the Pay app only after you’ve been hired. By completing this information on Workday, this takes place of the paper W-4 Form and allows you to make any necessary changes, electronically.
You can access your 2021 electronic W-2 through the Student Hub!
During Your Service
Graduate assistantships and fellowships are great ways to build your resume, and good performance may help you secure references for future employment.
You should show up on time to each shift and be ready to work. If you are not sure what work needs to be done, ask your supervisor. If you have ideas about how to improve a process, share them!
If you are going to be late, contact your supervisor to let them know. If you need to request time off or a change to your schedule, speak to your supervisor as soon as possible.
If you need to leave your position for any reason, let your supervisor know as soon as possible. Whenever possible, you should give your supervisor at least two weeks’ notice before your last day.
Know Your Rights
Equal Opportunity Employment
Northeastern University is committed to providing a living, learning and working environment free of discrimination and harassment. This policy applies to all members of the university community, including students, faculty, staff, affiliates, and volunteers when acting on behalf of the university, whether on or off campus, as well as to contractors, parents, and visitors when they are on university property.
Policy on Parental Leave for Graduate Students
This policy offers graduate students who become parents with the option of requesting a leave from their academic requirements and other teaching and research responsibilities. The policy applies to all full time, registered graduate students at Northeastern in good standing.
Sexual & Gender-Based Harassment
Northeastern University is committed to providing equal opportunity to its students and employees in an environment free of Sexual and Gender-Based harassment. Because Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment interferes with the expectation that all individuals at the University will learn and work in an environment that is free from discrimination, it will not be tolerated in any form.
Northeastern University strives to provide an environment for students, faculty and staff that is respectful, fair and free of unlawful harassment or discrimination. In keeping with its commitment to provide equal opportunity to students, faculty and staff, and in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest, favoritism, exploitation, harassment or breaches of professional standards, the university prohibits romantic or sexual relationships where there is supervision, direction or control between the parties.