Commonly Asked Tax Questions
Graduate funding is considered taxable income. Taxes are your responsibility. Do not put off thinking about them until early April, or you might incur fines and other legal penalties.
If you are receiving an assistantship from the University or one that is administered by the University, state and federal income taxes should be withheld. Check your August pay stub or deposit advice to see that and the withholding amounts are “in the ballpark.” If you are receiving a fellowship from the University, no taxes should be withheld and you will have to file quarterly Estimated Tax Returns with the IRS and the State of Missouri. Forms and instructions for estimated tax returns may be obtained from the Internal Revenue Service. If you have questions about Federal Income Tax Information call 1-800-829-1040. Visit their web site for forms and to see if you are eligible to file online.
Another resource is the Key Tax Issues for Fellowship Stipend Recipients Information page which is found in the Tax Policies and Procedures Section of the Washington University Website.
If the University is not withholding from my check, is there anything I can do to change this?
No. The University’s policy is to withhold on graduate assistantships, for which students provide services to others part of the time while spending most of their time on their own work, and not to withhold on fellowships, which require only that students progress full-time in their work. This distinction reflects federal law and therefore cannot be changed by Washington University.
What if I am a Fellowship Stipend Recipient?
Review the Key Tax Issues for Fellowship Stipend Recipients presentation.
What about tuition scholarships for tax purposes?
Do not report them on your tax forms. Every tuition scholarship in the Graduate School meets the current IRS criteria for tax exemption.
What about Social Security and Medicare?
As a full-time student, you are exempt from Social Security and Medicare taxes (FICA). This exemption is dependent on your full-time student status and may not apply in the summer. If you are not taking classes in the summer but you are working at an on-campus job, you will have FICA taxes withheld.
What if my estimated payments were too low and I cannot afford to pay the tax amounts due on April 15th?
You are responsible for paying your taxes and should consult the IRS about payment options and more accurate estimation in the future. While some may be able to obtain a short-term loan from the Graduate School, be aware that Graduate School loan funds are extremely limited: first come, first served.
I am an international student. How do the rules apply to me?
Every case is different. Go to the Office of International Students and Scholars for advice.
Withdrawing from a degree program
Requests for refund of tuition paid by a student who is withdrawing from a degree program should be made by submitting a Withdrawal Form to the Graduate School Office.
Students receiving financial assistance from the Graduate School (fellowships, assistantships, etc.) are required to maintain fulltime student status.
Withdrawing from a specific course
Requests for refund of tuition paid by a student who is withdrawing from a specific course should be submitted in writing to the Graduate School Registrar. The last date of class attendance is ordinarily used in determining the amount that can be refunded. Students withdrawing within the first two weeks of classes will receive a full refund; those withdrawing before the end of the fourth week pay 20 percent; those withdrawing before the end of the eighth week pay 40 percent. Students who have had their full tuition remitted for them by the Graduate School or by a third party will not receive any refund.
Student Health & Wellness Fee
What is the Student Health & Wellness Fee
The mandatory student health and wellness fee is designed to improve the health and wellness of the entire Washington University community. The 2017-2018 fee of $375 is billed to the student tuition statement as $187.50 each semester. Eligible graduate students will also receive a subsidy towards the health fee.
Health Fee Subsidies & Coverage Requirements for Graduate Students
Information for the 2017-2018 Academic Year
Washington University requires all full-time Danforth Campus students to have health insurance and offers an injury and sickness insurance plan underwritten by United Health Care Company. Domestic students may waive the University plan if they can prove adequate coverage through another plan. International students must be covered by the University health insurance plan. Information about the waiver process is available at the Student Health Services website.
Many graduate students receive subsidized assistance in payment of their insurance premiums and student health fees. These subsidies vary by program and school:
Full-time eligible graduate students in Arts & Sciences funded programs on Danforth campus will receive a health fee subsidy provided by the Graduate School.
Engineering Ph.D. students will normally receive subsidized insurance through the School of Engineering and may contact Johanna Sengheiser at 314-935-6183 with any questions.
Social Work and Public Health Ph.D. students do not receive the Arts & Sciences subsidy but normally receive a matching benefit from the School of Social Work. For more information please contact Marissa Hardwrict at 314-935-2941.
Graduate students in programs housed on the Medical Campus should contact their program for information on health fee coverage.
Enrollment & Subsidy Information
Washington University’s 2017-2018 student health insurance plan is underwritten by United Healthcare Insurance Company (UHC) and administered by United Healthcare Student Resources. All full-time graduate Arts & Sciences students on the Danforth Campus are required to have adequate insurance coverage. Domestic students may choose to waive WU coverage if they can document that they have adequate coverage through another plan. The University plan is mandatory for international students. Annual coverage runs from August 1, 2017 through July 31, 2018. The insurance premium is billed annually and will appear on the fall billing statement.
Washington University assesses a student health and wellness fee designed to improve the health and wellness of the entire Washington University community. A fee of $187.50 is billed to students’ tuition statements each semester.
For details about the insurance plan and other available health and wellness services please visit the Student Health Services website at http://shs.wustl.edu/Insurance/Pages/default.aspx
Eligibility for the Graduate School subsidy: Full-time graduate students in Arts & Sciences disciplines on the Danforth Campus who are fully funded and receiving full tuition remission are eligible for the Graduate School 90% subsidy for the University’s basic insurance plan and the student health fee.
Attention Engineering students: Ph.D. students in Engineering programs are not covered under the Arts & Sciences subsidy but may receive subsidized insurance through the School of Engineering. Contact Johanna Sengheiser at 314-935-6183 for more information.
Attention Social Work and Public Health Sciences students: Ph.D. students in Social Work and Public Health Sciences are not covered under the Arts & Sciences subsidy but may receive subsidy benefit through the School of Social Work. Contact Marissa Hardwrict at 314-935-2941 for more information.
Attention Medical Campus students: Arts & Sciences graduate students in programs housed on the Medical Campus should contact their program for information on health fee coverage.
Costs for 2017-2018
Basic plan insurance premium
Student health and wellness fee
$375year / $187.50 semester
Attention International Students: Due to additional insurance requirements international students will be assessed an additional $5.00 per semester that is not covered by a subsidy.
Graduate School Subsidies
A student eligible for the 90% subsidy for both the health fee and University insurance plan can expect to pay a total of $200.50 for the year.
A student eligible for the 90% subsidy who waives the University insurance will pay $18.75 per semester or $37.50 for the year for the student health fee only.
Breakdown of Costs and Subsidies
Base Plan Insurance 90% Subsidy
$1467 per year
Student would owe $163 for annual enrollment
Student Health Fee 90% subsidy
$337.50 per year/$168.75 per semester
Student would owe $37.50 per year/$18.75 per semester
All questions regarding Student Health Insurance and the Student Health & Wellness fee may be directed to Student Health Services at 314-935-6666.
For questions regarding the Graduate School subsidy, contact Pat Howard at 314-935-8525.
Student Health Insurance
What is the Student Health Insurance
For 2017-2018, the carrier for student health insurance is United Healthcare and the annual cost of $1,630 appears in full on the fall billing statement. Domestic students have the option to waive coverage if they can document that they have adequate coverage through another plan. Eligible graduate students will receive an insurance subsidy but only the University plan will be subsidized. For additional information see: http://shs.wustl.edu/Insurance/Pages/default.aspx