Definitions of FULL-TIME Graduate Student Appointments

Teaching Assistant (TA) - A TA is enrolled in a degree program and teaches/guides students under the direction of a faculty member. The TA’s duties are not a requirement for the degree.

Teaching Fellow (TF) - A TF is enrolled in a degree program and is appointed to provide teaching/guidance of students directly related to the area in which his/her degree is to be conferred and in which equivalent teaching is required of all candidates as a condition for receiving such a degree.

Research Assistant (RA) - A RA is enrolled in a degree program and is engaged to aid the research of an investigator or a member of the faculty. The work, even if carried out in the student’s home department, is not a requirement for the degree.

Research Fellow (RF) - A RF is enrolled in a degree program and is appointed for research directly related to the area in which his/her degree is to be conferred and in which equivalent research is required of all candidates as a condition for receiving such a degree.

Educational Fellow (EF) - An EF is enrolled in a degree program and receives a fellowship that is normally paid from University of Pennsylvania funds that requires no service of the student for the term of the appointment. Amounts paid to such students are to aid them in the pursuit of their studies.

Pre-Doctoral Trainee (Pre-Doc) - A Pre-Doc is enrolled in a degree program and participates in a training program directly related to his/her degree. A Pre-Doc receives a fellowship that is normally paid from a federally funded training grant and no service is required of the student for the term of the appointment.

Definitions of Postdoctoral Appointments

Post-Doctoral Researcher - is an individual with the highest degree granted in his/her field who comes to the University for the principal purpose of engaging in research programs. Funding is normally from a governmental or private research grant.

Post-Doctoral Fellow - is an individual with the highest degree granted in his/her field who comes to the University for

the principal purpose of furthering his/her personal development through participation in advanced training programs and is funded by a fellowship from a private non-profit funding agency such as the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society and similar type organizations exempt from federal income tax under section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code.

N.R.S.A. Post-Doctoral Fellow - is an individual with the highest degree granted in his/her field who comes to the University for the principal purpose of furthering his/her personal development through participation in advanced training programs and is funded by an individual or institutional National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health (N.I.H.) to support the individual’s training.

Definition of Service vs. Non-service Funding Arrangements

Any payment or payments to, or on behalf of, an individual to enable him or her to pursue studies or research shall not be considered to be an amount received as a scholarship or fellowship grant, if such amount represents compensation for teaching or research services. The Supreme Court of the United States holds that the ordinary meaning of the term scholarship or fellowship is a relatively disinterested, "no-strings" non-service educational grant, with no requirements of any substantial "quid pro quo" from the recipient. Thus awards, which represent payment for teaching or research services, that are subject to the direction or supervision of the grantor, are considered compensation subject to income tax withholding. As an example, a Post-Doctoral Researcher is required to perform research services under the terms of a research grant sponsored by NIH. His/her stipend is considered service-related and therefore subject to federal, FICA, state and local income tax withholding.