Post Doctoral Fellowships

General Information

Payments to individuals who are appointed as post-doctoral fellows (PDFs) and perform no services for the University are treated differently from payments to employees. PDF payments are called "stipends" and are not subject to withholding of Federal and state income taxes and Social Security (OASDI) and Medicare taxes. PDFs are expected to arrange to pay estimated taxes on a quarterly. PDFs are not entitled to receive any employee benefits from the University of Chicago, but PDFs are eligible for designated health-care and other benefits plans through the University of Chicago Postdoctoral Researcher Benefit Program.

Approval Process

Post Doctoral Fellowship Appointments are approved by the Office of the Provost. Click here for the Post Doctoral Fellowship Appointment Request form.

Classification

It is extremely important to classify individuals correctly. Failure to classify individuals correctly may cause the Internal Revenue Service to impose on the University substantial penalties and interest payments under the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code. It is the department's responsibility to properly classify these individuals. In general, if a person is on a Federal training grant for post-doctoral training experience and performs no services for the University, the person should be classified as a PDF. Some foundation grants and awards also are restricted to the support of fellows. In virtually every other case, for example NIH research grants, the person should be appointed as an employee, such as a Research Associate. Please refer to the University of Chicago Postdoctoral Research Policy Manual.

Tax Information for Post Doctoral & Other Non-Degree Fellowships

The following information concerns the tax status of persons receiving post-doctoral or other non-degree fellowships from The University of Chicago. It expresses the University's understanding of the tax rules on which its procedures are based, but for definitive advice individuals are referred to their individual tax counsel or the Internal Revenue Service.

  • For U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and resident aliens for tax purposes, The University of Chicago is not obliged to withhold income taxes, nor to deduct OASDI and Medicare contributions (Social Security taxes), from the stipends of such fellowships, and will not do so, except in the case of nonresident aliens as stated below. However, the fellows will have to pay Federal and State taxes on the stipends. Each fellow should file a declaration of estimated tax (IRS Form 1040-ES) and pay quarterly installments of the tax on the stipends (and any other taxable income). Failure to file the declaration will subject the fellow to interest on any under-payment of tax when he files his income tax return for the year. 
  • For nonresident aliens, The University of Chicago will withhold upon the fellowship stipends at amounts approved by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The nonresident alien fellow may request that Financial Services furnish him with a statement of his stipend as a fellow and the taxes withheld, which he may need to give to the Internal Revenue Service authorities upon leaving the United States. (Taxes will not be withheld if the stipend is considered exempt under a tax treaty). At the end of the calendar year the University will send each nonresident alien fellow a copy of the IRS Form 1042S sent to the Internal Revenue Service reporting the amount of stipends paid during the year.

Please note, if the fellow is not a U.S. citizen then a completed form of Alien Determination of Residency Form instructions for completing this form are available from Financial Services).

Distribution of Stipend

The fellowship must be funded through the end date using the required subaccount 8370.