This page includes some frequently asked questions from graduate students - which we hope to update as we continue our town hall meetings. Do you feel there is a question missing in this forum? Contact the VP of Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Q: What are the new resources that are available related to health and dental insurance?
In the spring of 2017, the University announced the creation of two grant programs for PhD students to help offset the cost of health insurance and dental insurance. These grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Graduate Student Center and the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services.
For information on grants to subsidize family expenses and health insurance for dependents, please see http://familycenter.upenn.edu/grants.php
Important: For the above resources, you need to apply for them by September 29, 2017.
Q: As a graduate student, is my fellowship taxable?
You will find the best place for information about taxes in the Graduate Student Center Resource Guide.
If you are an international student, OIP (Office of International Programs) has a great page on Tax Basics for International Students.
Students will receive W-2s from the University during the service years of their time at Penn. They will also receive a 1098-T detailing tuition and other educational expenses.
Students who receive non-service fellowships may only receive a letter from the university letting them know how much they have received in fellowship over the past year. That does not mean that the money is not taxable; an individual must determine his or her tax status. A good place to start is the GSC Resouce Guide page on taxes linked above. If you have questions on preparing your taxes, please address them to a tax professional. SASgov cannot legally provide any tax advice.
Q: Does penn have a grievance procedure?
The School of Arts and Sciences has an Academic Grievance Policy through which students could resolve grievances with their professors and departments. This new policy detailed the steps students could take to resolve issues such as grading and evaluations, program requirements, examinations, teaching and research responsibilities, dissertation, and time-to-degree.
In the policy, the first three sections describe the steps students should take to resolve various grievances. In the fourth section, the policy puts in place an Academic Grievance Committee, comprised of faculty and fellow SAS students, that can hear cases if a student does not believe that the issue has been resolved after a discussion with the Associate Dean.
If you have a grievance, the place to start is either by talking with the instructor (in the case of grading or evaluation) or the Graduate Group Chair or Program Director.
If you have questions about the grievance policy or how to approach a problem you are facing, please contact SASgov’s VP for Policy at email@example.com .
Q: As a Graduate student, do I have to serve Jury Duty?
From time to time, students may be selected by the Jury Selection Commission of Philadelphia if they are registered to vote in Philadelphia or hold a PA driver’s license with a Philadelphia address. Students can request a postponement or be excused by indicating on the summons that you are a student, suggesting a date in the future, and including along with the summons a copy of their Student ID, a letter from the school on school letterhead or a copy of their schedule.
More information can be found at the Jury Selection Commission’s website.
This information applies only to service in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania (i.e. Philadelphia). Other Pennsylvania counties, the US District Court covering eastern Pennsylvania, and other states all have their own policies so if you have been summoned to serve elsewhere, please inquire with that authority to learn about how you can receive a postponement of your service.
Q: My fellowship requires I serve as a Teaching Assistant. Where can i learn more about this role?
In addition to information that may come from your Graduate Group Chair or Program Director, students who will be first-time Penn TAs will receive TA training at the end of the summer break. Most but not all SAS graduate students who will be teaching for the first time are required to attend. If you have questions about whether you have to attend, please ask your Graduate Group Chair or Program Director.
TA Training is run by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), which also offers a Teaching Certificate for graduate students. You can find more information on their website.