Graduate Financial Support

There are two basic sources of funding provided by the GSE: fellowships and assistantships. Other sources of funding, such as loans and scholarships, are administered by the University’s central financial aid office. Further information can be found on their Web site at

Graduate Student Assistantships

Assistantships are graduate financial support (aid) in the form of student employment, earning compensation for the performance of research, teaching, or course support services to the University while students continue their academic and professional development. A salary is paid twice per month (i.e., bimonthly) through University Payroll. In addition, a tuition allowance is awarded that covers partial to full tuition depending upon the student’s level of employment (i.e., the total number of weekly hours worked).

The types of assistantship appointments available to graduate students are as a Research Assistant, Teaching Assistant, and Teaching Affiliate.

The assistantship level or percentage is determined by the amount of weekly hours worked. For example, a student who works 20 hours per week is a 50% assistant (i.e., half of 40 hours or 100% employment). Likewise, a student who works 10 hours per week is a 25% assistant. The most common assistantships are offered at the 25% and 50% levels, though there are variations. While enrolled in 8 to 10 units, Stanford students cannot exceed the 50% assistantship level during the regular academic year (Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters). This is a University-wide policy applicable to all graduate students. In summers, however, students can work up to the 90% assistantship level, which translates to 36 hours per week with a minimum course enrollment of 3 units. See the Summer Funding section for more details.

A University committee determines the policies, salary structure, and terms of graduate student assistantships. In addition, GSE reserves the right to clarify and augment these regulations.

In relation to the GSE guaranteed funding policy, a student’s work performance in assistantships will be part of the student’s yearly academic progress review. The review determines whether the student’s funding may continue, conditional upon satisfactory performance in research work, for another year.

Policies Governing Teaching Assistantship and Teaching Affiliate Appointments

Course Eligibility

Courses of 3-5 units with one instructor and 20 or more students warrant one 25% teaching assistant (TA). Courses of about 40 students can generally expect two TA’s, and so forth. Courses that meet those criteria are normally approved for a TA.

Cross-listed courses: A number of GSE courses are listed in Education and in another department(s). Students in the course register under either listing. It is expected that courses with high enrollments in the non-GSE listing (or section) of the course will not automatically receive TA funding from the GSE unless an agreement is made with the department that “owns” the course. Cost-sharing between departments or schools occurs by agreement made with the faculty member, the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and the Administrator of the other department.

Special cases and exceptions: Under exceptional circumstances, courses that do not meet the above criteria may be approved for TA positions by the Associate Dean of Educational Affairs. Examples of exceptions include special instructional needs for a class (special pedagogy, or extensive student work to give feedback on, etc.). Other factors that play into a decision for an exception are availability of funding, course enrollments (past and present), and equity across faculty and areas.

Student Eligibility

GSE doctoral students within their guaranteed funding periods (normally in years one through five) receive priority for TA positions. Instructors who want to hire a GSE student who is beyond his/her fifth year in the doctoral program need to make a case, as early as possible to the Associate Dean of Educational Affairs, indicating the reasons this particular advanced student is the only qualified person available to fill the position.

In addition, GSE doctoral students receive first hiring priority for GSE course and teaching assistantships over non-GSE students. Graduate students from other schools or departments may be hired as a TA for a School of Education course in rare circumstances provided that all eligible GSE students are fully-supported on other teaching or sponsored (i.e., not base budget) research assistantships.

Students must be in good academic standing. Students on full graduate support from an alternate source may not receive additional paid TA appointments:

  1. unless other assistantships held by the student are reduced in order to accommodate the TA position up to the maximum 50% total level for all appointments per student in a given quarter, OR
  2. in cases of full fellowship funding from non-GSE sources (e.g., SGF, NSF), a maximum of one paid 25% course, teaching, or research assistantship may be added to the student’s funding package per academic year without reducing the fellowship support. Students should consult with the Doctoral Programs Officer for more information.

Types of Appointments

There are two types of student appointments:

Teaching Assistant (TA): A TA helps with course preparation and grading, holds office hours, and maintains course websites. A TA may lead one or more regularly scheduled discussion sections and hold office hours. The faculty member is the primary course instructor and awards grades. A TA receives TA course evaluations from the University for her or his section(s).

Teaching Affiliate (TF): A TF is an advanced graduate student with substantial teaching experience and has full responsibility to deliver a course under the mentorship of a faculty member. A TF awards the final grade and is listed as the primary instructor for the course. A TF may be assigned a TA if the course is eligible. A TF receives instructor course evaluations from the University. TFs are usually hired to teach required or popular GSE courses when a faculty member is on sabbatical.

All positions are part of the University permanent records. Names of TAs and TFs are part of the University’s course files and of the graduate financial support records and the GSE course records.

Course Scheduling Considerations

Faculty members must ensure that their courses are setup as “lectures” in order to allow for the addition of discussion sections (if their TA will be teaching a section). Courses that are not setup as lectures (i.e, seminars or workshops) may not have discussion sections. Faculty or staff can consult with the GSE course manager on the University deadlines to set up courses. The deadline is usually in the Spring Quarter of the prior academic year.

English Proficiency

All international students must pass an English proficiency screening before being appointed to any teaching position (i.e. teaching assistants and teaching fellows/affiliates). Students in this situation who wish to work in a teaching position must contact the English for Foreign Students Office to arrange an English screening.
This must occur before the start of the quarter in which the teaching appointment will take place, otherwise the appointment and/or paychecks may be delayed.

Other Administrative Matters

TA and TF-ships are a form of graduate financial support. The student receives salary in addition to tuition support. As such, University policy prohibits hiring students for TA or TF work through clerical hourly positions (“casual employees”). All TA appointments are processed as graduate aid through Academic Affairs in the University’s Graduate Financial Support (GFS) system. The appointment is part of the student’s funding package, which does not exceed the equivalent of 50% time per quarter (i.e., 20 hours per week). Students who wish to add a TA-ship to their existing 50% support must discuss a reduction in their other commitments with their Principal Investigator and the Assistant Dean for Student Affairs in order to accommodate the additional TA-ship beyond the 50% level, during the regular academic year. Students cannot exceed the 50% assistantship level when enrolled in 8 or more units. (See the “Summer Support” section below for exceptions during Summer Quarter.)

The appropriate assistantship appointment form must be submitted to the Doctoral Programs Officer in Academic Affairs at least 5 weeks prior to the beginning of the quarter in order to initiate the hiring of a TA/TF. Check with Academic Affairs for specific deadlines.

The University monitors faculty teaching loads, class sizes, and TA use on a regular basis. Therefore, it is important that all course and teaching activity is documented for all students.

Student Pay

Students are strongly encouraged to sign-up for direct deposit of their stipend and salary online via AXESS.


When awarded, fellowship stipends are available the first day of each quarter when students enroll in the minimum required units by the published deadline. During the regular academic year, eight units is the enrollment minimum. During the Summer Quarter, the minimum is three units. If the enrollment deadline is missed, stipends are disbursed a few business days after the student eventually meets the minimum enrollment requirements. Mandatory charges on the student bill, including rent for campus housing, will be deducted from the stipend before it is issued. No taxes are withheld, but stipends are reportable and taxable income. (Fellowship tuition and tuition allowance are not taxable in most cases.)

Research Assistant Salary – Two Tier System

School of Education pays doctoral research assistants on a two-tier system:

  1. Tier I is for doctoral students who have not yet advanced to candidacy, typically first and second years. The salary will be the University's minimum RA salary rate, known as the pre-candidacy rate at GSE.
  2. Tier II is for doctoral students who have advanced to candidacy by the first day of the effective quarter and have been enrolled at the GSE for at least seven doctoral quarters. The Tier II pay is equal to the teaching assistant (TA) rate.

Candidacy status does not affect the pay rate for teaching assistantships and teaching affiliate appointments. Those salaries are solely dependent upon the type of appointment, regardless of candidacy status.

STEP Supervisors

All STEP Supervisors are paid the candidacy rate regardless of candidacy status.


Students with assistantships are paid their salaries through bi-monthly (i.e., twice monthly) pay checks from the Stanford Payroll Office. Students are strongly encouraged to sign up for direct deposit online via AXESS. The normal pay days are the 7th and the 22nd of every month. Student assistantship salary is taxable income, and applicable taxes and deductions will be withheld in accordance with the W-4 Tax Data form completed by each student. This form and other payroll forms will be provided to new students during the Orientation in Autumn Quarter.

Pay Periods

Assistantships are for the entire academic quarter. Partial quarter employment is not permitted for assistantships. Summer Quarter has two possible assistantship termination dates (see below).

Pay periods within each quarter are based on a calendar year, not the academic year. Pay cycles run two weeks behind the actual pay date. Therefore, a student's first Autumn Quarter pay check is issued on October 22 (for work completed during the pay period of October 1st to the 15th). Thereafter, students are paid every 7th and 22nd of the month.

  • Autumn Quarter pay periods run from October 1 – December 31
  • Winter Quarter pay periods run from January 1 – March 31
  • Spring Quarter pay periods run from April 1 – June 30
  • Summer Quarter pay periods run from July 1 – August 31 or July 1 to September 30, depending on the type and duration of the assistantship.
    • All summer teaching assistantships and teaching affiliate appointments end on August 31
    • Some research assistantships end on August 31 whereas others end on September 30, depending upon funding and project needs.

Pay Rates 


Time/Hours a week

Tuition per quarter*

Bi-monthly pay

Quarterly pay

Research Assistant

25%, 10 hours

5 units of tuition



50%, 20 hours

8, 9 or 10 units



Research Assistant

25%, 10 hours

5 units of tuition



50%, 20 hours

8, 9 or 10 units



Teaching Assistant

25%, 10 hours

5 units of tuition



50%, 20 hours

8, 9 or 10 units



Teaching Affiliate

25%, 10 hours

5 units of tuition



50%, 20 hours

8, 9 or 10 units



*One 25% assistantship covers full TGR tuition. If a TGR student secures more than one assistantship in a given quarter, TGR tuition is usually split evenly among the funding sources.

*Pay rates are for the 2023-2024 year (autumn through summer) only.

Sick Time for Graduate Student Employees

A new California law titled “AB 1522 - Healthy Workplaces, Healthy Families Act of 2014,” known as the “Paid Sick Leave Law” took effect July 1, 2015, and requires employers to provide sick time to all employees. More information about this law can be found on Stanford's website and on the State of California website.  

This law affects graduate students hired hourly and graduate students with teaching and research assistantship appointments.

Hourly student employment. These students will accrue sick time as they work, and will record sick time used on their Axess time card. More information is in the new Admin Guide 10.3.1 and on the attached FAQ page.

Assistantships. Students with assistantships will receive a lump sum of 24 hours of sick time per calendar year at the start of their assistantship.  More information is in the updated Admin Guide 10.2.1, and on the attached FAQ page.

Registration Requirements

All students who receive funding (assistantships, fellowships, and loans) must register in at least 11 units in their first three quarters in the GSE doctoral program and in 8-10 units for subsequent quarters during the regular academic year (i.e., Autumn, Winter, and Spring). In the Summer Quarter, students must register in at least 3 units to receive any type of graduate aid funding, when applicable, which includes assistantship salary, tuition allowances, and stipend payments.

Additional Work

During the academic year (Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters), GSE students may work for pay as “casual labor” at Stanford for up to 8 hours a week, beyond the 50% assistantship level, provided that the work would not normally be paid as an assistantship. The University requires that the additional 8 hours of work be in an area or a project which differs from the student’s regular 25% or 50% assistantship. (Please note that the rules regarding additional casual employment differ for international students due to visa regulations. Students should consult the Bechtel International Center).

The GSE funding policy is that Stanford Graduate Fellows (SGFs) and others, who are fully funded (i.e., equal or above the 50% assistantship level) by external fellowships or other funding sources, can work a maximum of one 25% assistantship per academic year, excluding summer, in addition to keeping the full funding level of their fellowship or other funding source. Alternatively, SGFs can bank their funding in a given quarter, when eligible, and instead work at the 50% assistantship level when such assistantships are available and secured. In these cases, working at the 50% level while other funding is banked does not count as the one allowable quarter of 25% assistantship in addition to the fellowship.

Regardless of funding source or level, all students may work up to 8 hours per week as a casual employee, as discussed above, with few exceptions that are largely due to the student citizenship status; international students have slightly different policies because of their visas – contact the Bechtel International Center.

Summer Funding and Employment

Doctoral students can work as regular graduate assistants or casual hourly employees, or any combination therein, for Summer Quarter. For example, a student could work as a 50% teaching assistant (TA) only. Or, they could work as a 50% TA plus work 16 hours per week as a casual hourly employee on a project. Various rules apply for enrollment and maximum hour requirements. Please see the sections below for more information.

As of the 2020-21 Academic Year, students in the GSE are guaranteed summer funding for years 1-5.  Summer funding will be equivalent to the minimum 50% level (i.e. the pre-candidacy RA-ship rate) and 1-unit/TGR tuition. If a student does not have an assistantship, fellowship, or stipend that covers them at this level, the University provides gap funding in the form of a stipend that will ensure the student meets this minimum guarantee. For more information, please review the Summer Funding FAQ page.

Assistantships in Summer Quarter

Assistantships are full quarter appointments with a fixed salary based upon a student's percentage of employment (e.g., 25% TA). Assistantships require enrollment in at least three units for Summer Quarter, even when students work as a casual hourly employee in addition to the assistantship.

The maximum percentage for summer assistantships is the 90% level (i.e., 36 hours per week). Students can combine different assistantships to reach the 90% level, or they can blend assistantships with hourly employment. Regardless, students cannot exceed 36 hours of employment per week when enrolled in any courses for the summer.

The amount of tuition allowance depends upon the percentage of the assistantship. For example, a 25% assistantship pays for 5 units and a 50% assistantship pays for 10 units. However, students are only required to enroll in a minimum of three units for Summer Quarter, so any unapplied tuition allowance will be refunded to the GSE. For example, if a 25% assistant enrolls in three units, two units worth of tuition credit will be refunded to the school; it will not be applied to the student account for other non-tuition or future charges.

The Cardinal Care health insurance subsidy rules are the same in the summer as during the regular academic year. See the Health Insurance Subsidy section.

Casual Hourly Employment in Summer Quarter

Students who work on an hourly basis are hired as casual employees by GSE Human Resources, not the Doctoral Programs Officer.

Enrollment is not required for summer casual employment if the student is not also employed as a graduate assistant. In other words, students who are working solely as hourly employees are not required to enroll in summer.

Casual hourly employees with no graduate assistantships do not receive any tuition allowance. Students in this category who enroll in courses are fully responsible for any tuition and related costs incurred. Students who need to take courses and work in the summer are strongly encouraged to pursue graduate assistantships to cover the related tuition costs.

Students who do not enroll in Summer Quarter and are employed as casual hourly employees can work up to 40 hours per week (i.e., the 100% level).

Pre-Term (STEP)

If students will be working with STEP pre-fall term, this may be considered a summer casual hourly position. However, students working pre-fall term for STEP will receive the tuition portion of the pre-fall commitment in the fall quarter (equivalent to 25% TA tuition). By default, half of fall tuition will be covered by pre-fall tuition, so students will only need a 25% assistantship fall quarter to cover the rest of the tuition. If students choose to work 50% in the fall, the pre-fall tuition will be cancelled.

Note: If students are signed on for a year's commitment STEP supervisor role, they will receive an additional stipend in early October.

GSE Fellowships and Grants

Funding During the First Year

Most doctoral students in their first year in the GSE receive a funding package that is a combination of graduate assistantships, fellowship stipends, and fellowship tuition and allowance. The package normally consists of a 25% assistantship, fellowship stipend, and fellowship tuition plus tuition allowance (from the assistantship). Basically, tuition at the 11–18 unit rate is covered by the funding package, and assistantship salary plus stipends are paid in total amounts equivalent to the 50% graduate assistantship salary level.

Because GSE doctoral students in their first year are required to take 11–18 units per quarter in their first three quarters, they receive a combination of fellowships and 25% graduate assistantships. Students cannot work more than 25% time when enrolled in more than 10 units. Once students drop to the 8–10 unit enrollment level after their first year in the doctoral program, GSE fellowships are replaced with 50% graduate assistantships. A bi-monthly salary and a tuition allowance (for 8–10 units) are provided for 50% assistantships.

Guaranteed Funding Period

The first five years of the GSE doctoral program are commonly referred to as the “guaranteed funding period” for the purposes of graduate aid. This is a safety net that helps students when they are unable to secure 50% worth of graduate assistantships (or combined fellowships and assistantships) on their own during the first five years of the program. The guaranteed funding covers deficiencies below the 50% assistantship level in the form of an assistantship paid from the GSE operating (or base) budget during the academic year, and in the form of a stipend during the summer.

The fifth-year funding package, which consists of a 25% assistantship and a fellowship stipend equal to the salary of a 25% assistantship, is only guaranteed if the student has completed their dissertation proposal and gone TGR prior to the first day of autumn quarter of their fifth year. Students who do not meet this requirement may still seek out funding on their own, but they are not covered by the funding guarantee and forfeit the funding package.

Students must contact faculty members directly to identify research, course or teaching assistant opportunities. In cases where students cannot secure 50% assistantships, they should reach out to the Doctoral Programs Officer as soon as possible. Every effort will be made by Academic Affairs to help identify opportunities. Funding through the base budget is used as a last resort.

Graduate assistants who will be paid from base budget will be placed with a faculty member and/or on a project that normally does not afford to hire a research assistant. In order to be paid from the GSE base budget under the guaranteed funding provisions, students must work at the GSE on a project to which they are assigned. Students who are funded through base budget must be in residence (i.e., at Stanford) and available to work on campus for a regular weekly schedule. By securing assistantships on their own (i.e., not from base budget), students ensure that they will work for projects, courses, and/or faculty of their choosing that best match their interests and goals.

The guaranteed funding period applies to doctoral students in their first five years of enrollment. Other than for a childbirth or medical accommodation, or for a leave of absence taken under extenuating circumstances approved by the Associate Dean, students cannot bank partial or full quarters of guaranteed funding for future use. The impact of leaves of absence on the guarantee period must be discussed in advance with the Director of Degree Programs. Regardless of how students fund their studies, the GSE's guaranteed funding only applies to the first five years of enrollment in the doctoral program, except in the cases noted above. Students who choose to work below the 25% (in years 1 and 5) or below the 50% assistantship level (in years 2-4) in a given quarter and/or rely upon other sources of financial support, such as loans or personal funds, do not bank the guaranteed funding for subsequent quarters.  For example, if a student wishes to not work on an assistantship during her or his fifth year, she or he is not eligible to receive additional guaranteed funding from the GSE in the sixth year. The GSE's funding guarantee is contingent upon students being able to physically come to campus for work. If a student chooses to spend a quarter away from campus, they may seek out assistantship work that can be done remotely, but the GSE will not guarantee funding for a student in this case, even if they are in their guaranteed funding period. Students should contact the Associate Dean of Educational Affairs if they would like to request an exception to this policy.

Travel Fellowships

These fellowships are intended to enhance student careers by enabling them to attend professional meetings to present papers or to advance in their research. Students must document that they are presenting a paper at a conference or provide documentation on how this will benefit their research for fellowship eligibility.

Students are eligible for a maximum of $700 (for North America travel or virtual opportunities) or $1100 (for international travel). These funds are determined on an individual basis as a partial contribution to expenses. The GSE cannot guarantee that the maximum will be awarded. For the purposes of this fellowship, travel within all of North America constitutes domestic travel (including, but not limited to, Canada and Mexico).  Please check with the Director of Degree Programs if you are unsure as to whether the country you are applying to constitutes domestic travel.

GSE students are limited to one pre-candidacy and two post-candidacy fellowships. Pre-candidacy travel fellowships are forfeited if not used before advancing to candidacy. These cannot be banked for future use after advancing to candidacy. It is a “use it or lose it” deal.

Further information and the forms are available on the GSE website, and the Director of Degree Programs can provide further information.

School of Education Dissertation Support Grant (School of Education-DSG)

The GSE makes available grants of up to a total of $6000 per student for advanced doctoral students needing support for dissertation research activities.

These grants are available to students who do not have access to other funds to cover their dissertation costs.

Ann Porteus ( administers this program and should be contacted for any questions. Ann will send an email to all doctoral students at the start of autumn quarter with application instructions and materials.

Assistantship Support from Stanford (i.e., non-GSE Departments, Schools, Centers

GSE students may work in research or teaching assistantships outside of the GSE. Pay rates are set by the hiring department or school and may be less than what the student would normally receive at the GSE. However, the University’s minimum salary levels for graduate assistantships must be met. The student is expected to discuss the relevance of this non-GSE appointment with her or his advisor. Support through other Stanford departments or schools is considered part of the GSE guaranteed funding period. Students who receive non-GSE funding in their first four academic years do not prolong or bank their GSE support by doing so. See the Guaranteed Funding Period section for more details about guaranteed funding.

Stanford Graduate Fellowships

Stanford Graduate Fellows (SGFs) at the GSE are expected to use their SGF fellowship funds during the first 3 years of their program, followed by 50% (maximum) research and teaching assistantships in the fourth year and either 50% research and teaching assistantships or the fifth-year funding package during the fifth year. See the Guaranteed Funding Period section for further details.

The SGF program provides great opportunities for students to engage in faculty research regardless of the faculty member’s ability to fund the student. SGFs have flexibility to select their research or teaching advisor and to not be tied to a particular funding source. Like other departments at Stanford, SGFs at the GSE are expected to participate in faculty research activities and groups in a similar fashion as research assistant who are paid by the same projects. This participation, known as apprenticeships, ensures that the student is receiving adequate academic preparation to become a researcher and scholar. This participation becomes part of the student’s progress towards the degree; the student is expected to speak to his or her apprenticeship experiences during the First- and Second-Year reviews. SGFs must discuss with their faculty advisor the expectations and scope of work and time commitment that the student will be expected to make for apprenticeships. At the dissertation stage, students on SGF support are expected to use any remaining SGF funding to free their time for emphasis on dissertation research and writing, not apprenticeships. In the spring of 2005, the Deans, Area Chairs and the University Stanford Graduate Fellowship Committee approved a policy change for SGF recipients at the GSE:

The Fellowship provides funding for two summers with 8–10 units of tuition. Students may elect to use their summer funding in their first and second, second and third, or first and third years.
Through Autumn, Winter, and Spring Quarters, students may have a maximum of one 25% teaching or research assistantship in addition to their Fellowship stipend. This means SGFs can work one 25% assistantship in addition to their SGF stipend per academic year, unless they bank quarters. If a student wishes to work a total of 50% worth of teaching or research assistantships in a Autumn, Winter and Spring Quarters, she or he must bank the SGF funding for that quarter and be supported only by the 50% assistantship(s) during that banked quarter.

During summer quarter, SGF recipients are expected to enroll in 8 units and use full summer tuition, unless a banked quarter is arranged. Banked quarters must be used before the end of the SGFs fifth year in the doctoral program. Further details are available on the SGF website. Questions about general SGF policies should be directed to the SGF Program Officer or to the GSE Doctoral Programs Officer.

Outside (non-Stanford) Support

Students are encouraged to actively seek and apply for outside fellowships. Per University policy, depending on the amount of the external funding, it will substitute in part or entirely the GSE’s support; outside awards are supplemented up to the level of support the student would normally receive from the GSE during their five years of guaranteed funding (this includes working a research or teaching assistantship). Students who receive outside awards must contact the Doctoral Programs Officer to discuss the details and structure of the award, especially if it requires institutional contributions.

In some cases, outside agencies and companies may want to pay the cost of attendance for a GSE student. Arrangements for the payment to be made directly to Stanford should be made by the company with Student Financial Services through the University’s third party billing system. Students should contact the Student Services Center for more information. Students can submit a HELP SU ticket for assistance.

In all cases of external (i.e., non-Stanford) funding, the Doctoral Programs Officer must receive a copy of the award letter outlining the terms, amount, and duration of the award. This award letter enables Stanford to pay the student the University health insurance subsidy, when eligible, even if the external funds are not handled in any way by Stanford. 

As is the case with other Stanford departments, the GSE requires its doctoral students to participate in faculty research activities and groups, usually as paid research assistants. GSE doctoral students who are not paid via an assistantship because they are funded by an external source are nonetheless required to participate in research activities at the GSE. This participation (i.e., apprenticeships) ensures that the student is receiving adequate academic preparation to be a doctoral level researcher and scholar. When fully funded by an external source, students have the opportunity to pursue research as an apprentice with a faculty member whose project is most interesting to the student regardless of that faculty member’s ability to fund the student. An apprenticeship becomes part of the student’s progress towards the degree; the student is expected to discuss his or her apprenticeship experiences during the First- and Second-Year reviews. Apprentices must discuss with their faculty advisor and the principal investigator (if different) the expectations, scope of work, and time commitment that the student will be expected to make. At the dissertation stage, students fully funded by external sources are expected to focus primarily upon dissertation research and writing, not apprenticeships.

Leaves of Absence

When considering a leave of absence, students should always consult with the faculty and/or staff responsible for administering their funding–whether the GSE, another Stanford department, or an outside agency–to discern whether a leave will affect their continued funding. Repayment of funding and tuition received for leaves taken mid-quarter may be required, depending upon the funding source and applicable stipulations of the award. Students with outstanding educational loans should consider carefully the effect of taking a leave on their loan status.


The tuition portion of fellowship and/or assistantships appears as a credit on the student’s quarterly online bill in AXESS. Bills prior to the start of the quarter will reflect a tuition charge at the 8-10 unit rate, regardless of the number of units the students plans to register for, and it may not reflect the tuition credit if the student has not provided her or his assistantship paperwork to Academic Affairs. If students register for more than 10 units, their bill will be adjusted to the higher 11–18 unit rate. When students register for less than 8 units during the regular academic year (autumn, winter, and spring), their tuition will not be reduced and funding will not be disbursed unless the student is in approved Terminal Graduate Registration (TGR) status or has submitted a petition for a Graduate Tuition Adjustment.

Campus Health Service Fee

The Campus Health Service Fee covers many services provided by Vaden Health Center. This includes primary care medical visits, psychological evaluation and short-term therapy at Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and access to health and wellness programs.
The mandatory fee applies to all undergraduate and graduate students enrolled on the Stanford campus, including visiting researchers and students participating in high school summer programs that result in course credit at Stanford.

Cardinal Care and Health Insurance Subsidy

Cardinal Care is an annual enrollment insurance plan which includes coverage in summer quarter, whether the student is enrolled that quarter or not. The annual cost of this coverage will be charged over three quarters of the academic year, i.e., in Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters.

Students enrolled in Cardinal Care will be covered during leaves of absence, breaks, quarters in which they are not registered (including summers), and immediately following graduation.

The insurance carrier, Health Net of California, will provide the medical benefits and Value Options will administer the mental health benefits.

Enrollment in Cardinal Care is a once-a-year event. In their first registered quarter of each academic year, students will decide whether or not to waive Cardinal Care coverage for that year. International students will be required to enroll in Cardinal Care, but may request an exception if they have an insurance plan with benefits that meet or exceed minimum standards set by the university.

Stanford University will automatically pay a health insurance subsidy that covers part of the Cardinal Care premium for students who fall into one of categories below and who do not waive Cardinal Care coverage online via AXESS.

Health insurance subsidy eligibility and amounts are determined by the criteria below:

Enrolled students with 25% assistantships or more, or with fellowship stipends (non-tuition stipend payments) at or above the minimum salary for a 25% assistantship (CA or RA), will receive a subsidy payment equal to the full amount of the premium cost. 
Enrolled students who do not qualify for the subsidy described above, but who have lower-level assistantships, or fellowship stipends at or above the minimum salary for a 10% assistantship, will receive a payment equal to one-half of the premium cost.

Students automatically receive the subsidy when their complete assistantship paperwork is submitted by the established deadlines to the Doctoral Programs Officer. Forms received after the Monday of the third week of classes normally results in the health subsidy being charged to the hiring faculty member or principal investigator's account. The student still receives the subsidy, but it is paid for by a faculty account instead of the University's funds.

A table outlining the Cardinal Care costs and University subsidy can be found here: .

Managing Student Online Bills (Statements)

All graduate students have an online bill or statement viewable in AXESS. Those who are employed as research or teaching assistants also have an online pay statement, which is separate from the online bill.

Bills/Invoices in AXESS

Students can log in to AXESS to view their billing history and balance due. The online bill contains information about financial aid (e.g., stipends and loans), expenses (e.g., housing and dining), and payments (e.g., credit card or check payments by the student). The tuition allowance from assistantships, stipends from fellowships, the health subsidy, and student loans will appear as “Anticipated Aid” in the online statement at the start of each quarter. Once those funds are disbursed, they move from the Anticipated Aid to the Payments section. Salary from assistantships does not appear as Anticipated Aid. Students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit online via AXESS to expedite receipt of refund and stipend payments.

Students can now pay their bills online via Flywire in AXESS. More information is available in AXESS or at

Online Pay Statements

Salary from assistantships is paid bi-monthly approximately on the 7th and 22nd of each month. This money appears in the online pay statement (i.e., not the online bill/invoice) in AXESS only after the pay has been disbursed. Students can verify that an assistantship is in the system by looking for their tuition allowance in the Anticipated Aid section of their online bill. Assistantships will not appear in the online pay statement prior to the first pay date. Students are encouraged to sign up for direct deposit online via AXESS.

The ability to view the online pay statement is disabled when students are no longer employed by the University (e.g., during quarters in which they are not working as research or teaching assistants). Therefore, it is recommended that students print their online statements if they anticipate needing a hardcopy at a future date. Otherwise, hardcopies can be ordered directly from the University Payroll Office for charge.

Payroll Deductions

Students can apply for payroll deductions online via AXESS to cover housing, dining services, and other costs. These expenses can be deducted directly from their net pay from assistantship or other salaries. Student Financial Services, in conjunction with the Stanford Payroll Office, administer this program. Questions or issues should be submitted online via the HELP SU system. The “Student Accounts” or “Payroll” category should be used when filing the help ticket. Or, Student Financial Services can be reached at (650) 723-2181.

Emergency and Additional Support Funding

Financial Aid Office Stanford Support Programs

The Financial Aid Office has limited funds available to help graduate students dealing with challenging financial situations. These currently include the Grad Cash Advance Program, Emergency Grant-in-Aid Funds, the Graduate Student Aid Fund, the Graduate Family Grant Program, and Graduate Housing Loans.  Please see below for details.

Grad Cash Advance Program

A Cash Advance option is available to graduate and professional students to assist with expenses before graduate financial support is posted to their student account and/or TA/RA salary is paid.  Active degree-seeking graduate students can request an advance in the amount of $1000, $2000, or $3000 per term via Axess. For more information including repayment requirements, visit Student Financial Services.

Emergency Grant-In-Aid Funds

Emergency Grant-in-Aid Funds assist graduate students who experience a financial emergency or unanticipated expenses (e.g., medical or dental) causing financial hardship. Please note that students at the Graduate School of Business, Law School, and Medical School (MD program) are not eligible for this program; these students should contact their respective financial aid offices for assistance. For more detailed information and application procedures please refer to the Emergency Grant-In-Aid instructions and application form.

Graduate Student Aid Fund

The Graduate Student Aid Fund has been established to assist a limited number of graduate students with University fees such as the Campus Health Service Fee and Cardinal Care Insurance when those fees cause a significant hardship.  Students who demonstrate need will be eligible for small amounts to cover specific charges.  Please note that students at the Graduate School of Business, Law School, and Medical School (MD program) are not eligible for this program; these students should contact their respective financial aid offices for assistance. For more detailed information and application procedures please refer to the Graduate Student Aid Fund instructions and application form.

Graduate Family Grant Program

The Graduate Family Grant will provide up to $10,000 per year for graduate students with dependent children (including those in professional programs). Funds may be used flexibly to cover expenses such as childcare, healthcare, and rent.  Please review the program guidelines before completing the application.

Graduate Housing Loan

Graduate and professional students may apply for loan funds from the University to help with move-in costs for off-campus housing, such as first and last month's rent and security deposit. Details on eligibility, loan terms, and application process are available at Graduate Housing Loan

GSE Student Emergency Funding Program

The GSE Student Emergency Funding Program assists GSE graduate students who experience a financial emergency or unanticipated expenses* causing financial hardship. This program is designed to assist those who cannot reasonably resolve their financial difficulty through fellowships, loans or personal resources. 

Emergency funding provides grants that reimburse actual expenses. These awards are not a loan, and do not need to be repaid. Emergency funds awarded are tax-reportable income.

Eligible expenses: Unanticipated or unusual expenses (most commonly medical, dental, or legal, but other expenses can be considered) outside of the standard student budget outlined by the University that may hinder the student’s academic progress will be considered.  Costs must have been incurred while enrolled at Stanford, and costs for a previous or future academic year will not be considered.  Each case is considered on its own merits.

*Emergency funding is not intended for tuition or fees, standard living expenses, research-related expenses, travel to and from internship/practicum/research sites and conferences, or when other aid has ceased.

Limit:  up to $2,000 per academic year

Process: Student submits an Emergency Grant-in-Aid application to the Financial Aid Office (FAO). FAO reviews the application and makes the determination that the student is eligible for emergency funds. If FAO is not able to cover your expenses either partially or in-full (max amount of $5,000 per year), then you may apply for GSE Student Emergency Funds by submitting a copy of the Emergency Grant-in-Aid application (include supporting documents) and the response from FAO to Connie Chang, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs. You may receive a max amount of $2,000 in GSE Student Emergency Funds per year.