Research Assistantship

Research Assistants (RA)

RA's work on research projects under the supervision of a faculty member. RAships are available only through the request of a faculty member.

Research assistants (50% RAship) is offered during academic quarters (Autumn, Winter and Spring) and students receive 8 to 10 units of tuition coverage and a salary in exchange for 20 hours of work per week.

Enrollment requirements:  students must enroll in 8-10 units, (at least 3 units of CS 499) with their advisor.

Some students opt to work fewer hours per week, and their salary and tuition benefits are adjusted accordingly.

Summer RA funding and enrollment:  Some RAs may receive 90% level support during summer quarters from their advisor.   In this instance, the tuition is covered for 3 units and salary offered is higher in exchange of 36 hours of work per week.   This is only allowed in summer quarter and is at the discretion of the advisors.

Enrollment requirements for summer with 90% RAship support:  students must enroll in 3 units, (at least 1 unit of CS 499) with their advisor. See the RA rates 2022-2023 PDF attachment below.

Payroll Information for RAs

All student employees must meet several academic requirements before receiving a paycheck. Student employees also need to be sure their employment forms are up-to-date and on file with the Payroll Office. Please understand that if any requirements or forms are missing or outdated, your paychecks will be withheld, most likely until the next pay period.

Any student employee must meet several requirements before receiving a paycheck. You must be registered in any quarter in which you are paid (including summer), make suitable academic progress, and maintain good standing in the University. If this is your first employment by Stanford, you will also have to fill out several forms:

Please refer to the website for details and the verifications are done by SoE welcome center.

How and When You Are Paid

Assistantship salaries are processed through Stanford's regular Payroll system. Assistants are University employees.

Deductions: Federal, state, and social security taxes are withheld from salary checks. This withholding is reported like any other salary. Tuition amounts are not taxable or reported.

Schedule: Tuition is automatically paid at the beginning of the quarter.

Payroll checks come twice a month, to the department, or you may arrange for direct deposit to your bank. Work performed from the 1st to 15th of a month is paid on the 22nd; the second half of the month is paid on the 7th.

Student appointments, which are established in terms of the academic year, always follow a quarterly schedule:

Quarter Appointment span First check Last check
Fall Oct 1 - Dec 31 Oct 22 Jan 7
Winter Jan 1 - Mar 31 Jan 22 Apr 7
Spring Apr - Jun 30 Apr 22 July 7
Summer July 1 - Sept 30 July 22 Oct 7

If a Check Does Not Arrive on Time

First, examine your own status. Are you registered? Is there a Hold on your registration? If this is your first check, have you filed all the appropriate paperwork? For an RA, the faculty member may have forgotten to initiate or renew your appointment for the quarter. In any event, we will try to find the problem and help you fix it.  You can email us at .

Tax Information for Graduate Students

Taxes constitute a complex subject. Below some general information is provided, but it should not be taken as official advice. Detailed information may be found at

Tuition Support

  • Tax exempt

Salary (Assistantships)

  • Taxable and subject to withholding (but not FICA, Medicare or VDI)
  • Reported by Stanford on a W-2
  • International students May qualify for federal "tax treaty exemption" if one exists between the US and their country (Form 8233, Payroll office). The exempt amount is reported on Form 1042S. Should file federal Form 1040NR (available at the International Center at tax time and online) each year, and probably CA Form 540 (also available online).

Stipend (Fellowships)
U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and resident aliens for tax purposes:

  • The stipend is taxable; however, it is not subject to withholding or reporting by Stanford.
  • Students are responsible for making any necessary estimated tax payments.
  • Federal Form 1040-ES is available in the Bursar's office. California Form 540-ES is enclosed with the CA tax return (or call 1-800-338-0505).

International students:

  • The stipend is subject to 14 percent withholding; however, students may be eligible for a tax exemption if their country has a tax treaty with the US (Form W-8Ben, Payroll office).
  • Stipend and tax withholding are reported by Stanford on Form 1042-S (not W-2) and mailed to the student Should file federal tax Form 1040NR and probably CA Form 540 at tax time each year.
  • All fellowship recipients can reduce their taxable income by amounts spent on fees, books, supplies, and equipment (usually not computers) specifically required for courses; students should keep all receipts for these items.
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