We’ve compiled frequently asked questions pertaining to financial support and fellowships for graduate students. We are adding to this page on an ongoing basis as new questions arise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will I be able to review my loan package?

Loan eligibility will be calculated and available to review on the My Finances page in CalCentral after June 1.

Q: If I fill out a FAFSA, am I obligated to accept my loans?

Completing a FAFSA does not obligate you to accept any offered aid. The FAFSA is required to access any federal loan and work-study eligibility.

Q: Who can I contact about my loans?

Federal Student Loans are administered through the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. You can submit inquiries through the Cal Student Central portal for funding questions.

Q: How am I considered for a funding package?

Students are considered by their program for funding packages at the point of admission; there is not a separate funding application. The FAFSA is required to be considered for work-study or loans.

Q: I did not receive a funding package from my department, can I receive funding from the Graduate Division?

Funding is offered to students at the point of admission by their individual program. The Graduate Division does not provide any funding packages to students.

Q: How do I sign up for Direct Deposit?

Enroll in Direct Deposit. Stipend recipients who do not opt for Direct Deposit will have checks produced and mailed to your “Local Address” in CalCentral.

Q: Is health insurance covered by my fellowship award? 

All eligible registered graduate students, including registered international students, are automatically enrolled in the Berkeley Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). If your fellowship includes payment of your registration fees, then you may expect to have health insurance coverage for the semester.

Q: I was awarded an external fellowship, and it provides a stipend but does not include fees or tuition. How can I cover my fees if I plan to be enrolled?  

The Graduate Division provides tuition and fee support for recipients of some external fellowships. See Tuition Support for External Fellowships.

Q: Will I be taxed on my fellowship? 

Some fellowship income is subject to federal and state income tax; information and rules can be found in IRS Publication 970. The university does not withhold federal tax from fellowships awarded to U.S. citizens and permanent residents; some international students are subject to 14% withholding. Fellowship recipients may need to make estimated tax payments; see IRS Publication 505 . Since the university cannot offer tax advice, or accept responsibility for the tax consequences of any information provided, students requiring tax assistance should contact a tax adviser or the ASUC Student Legal Clinic, Eshleman Hall, Level 3, Room 312F, [email protected].

Q: I’m on filing fee. Am I eligible for funding?  

Candidates on Filing Fee status are technically not registered students, and thus are not eligible for fellowship funding.

Q: How do I find out about available GSI and GSR positions?

Handshake is the University’s primary platform that connects students with open employment positions, and is used by more than two thirds of Cal students.

You can browse open GSI / GSR positions on our website or by logging into Handshake directly. 

Departments and research centers manage their student hiring individually so you can also refer to your advisor and/or program or school website additional openings.

Q: My former employer is sponsoring my graduate studies.  How do they send their funds to UC Berkeley? 

A third-party organization may sponsor a student’s enrollment by committing to paying a student’s mandatory tuition and registration fees. The Third Party Contract (TPC) Office within Billing and Payment Services manages this process.