Definition

A stipend is a fixed amount paid to a student to offset living expenses.

Stipend payments are to be made in accordance with sponsor regulations.

For most federal sponsors, a stipend is paid to a graduate student or post-doc in a training program to offset their living expenses. Under the UW's Executive Order #30, stipends are "used for students receiving fellowships and traineeships supported by funds provided by federal or private sources."

The term "stipend" can cause confusion as different entities and individuals use it in different contexts. Some non-federal sponsors will use the term concurrently with compensation for work performed. The nature of the payment, not the name used by the sponsor, controls as to whether the payment is a stipend or a wage. If the payment is compensation for work performed, the payment is not a stipend – it is compensation. If the payment is specified to help defray living expenses, or a similar description, it can be classified as a stipend.

A stipend is not compensation provided for work performed as an employee. There are no effort requirements related to receiving a stipend and the payments are not documented through the Grant and Contract Certification Report (“GCCR”) process.

Coding

Stipend payments may be paid under Object Code 08-02 Stipends unless the recipient is entitled to health insurance provided by the UW.   When a stipend recipient is entitled to health insurance, the stipend is paid out under 01-9X (Pre-Doc Stipends) or 01-5X (Post Doc Stipends); both Object Codes include health insurance.  This can be the cause of confusion as a Stipend is not payment for salary or effort even though the “01” codes are typically used for salary/compensation.  Payment of a stipend under 01-9X or 01-5X is not meant to signify payment for salary or effort but is instead only used so a health insurance benefit can be provided to the stipend recipient.

Stipends Paid In Lieu of Wages

Since stipends are not compensation for effort, they cannot be paid in lieu of wages. Stipend payments are thus not documented in GCCRs.    GCCRs are required as part of UW’s compliance with the documentation requirements for compensation under 2 CFR 200.430 – Compensation.