Andrew Szeri
Andrew Szeri

I was reminded that graduate students are sometimes not aware that monies they receive may have a ‘catch’ attached: federal taxation. If you receive a fellowship or award, such as a summer grant or travel award — either from UC or an external source — be aware that all or part of it may be taxable as income.

It makes sense to do your homework now to avoid surprises if you are required to file quarterly estimated tax payments or a tax filing due April 15th each year. A smart place to start is to read the IRS publication called “Tax Benefits for Education.”

If you are pursuing a degree, you generally can exclude from income that part of your fellowship or grant used for:

  • Tuition and fees required for enrollment or attendance, or
  • Fees, books, supplies, and equipment required for your courses.

You cannot exclude from income any part of the grant used for other purposes, such as room and board or travel.

Although Berkeley staff or faculty cannot provide tax counseling, I encourage you to check out the campus’s free legal clinic for students.

Hope your semester is going well!