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Service Free Stipends

There are two very different types of payments that are often referred to as "Stipends": Service Stipends and Non-Service Stipends. The non-service stipend is also known as the Service Free Stipend (SFS). As expected, determining the correct type of stipend leads to a great deal of confusion when our international personnel complete the Glacier record. Therefore, it is important for them to know exactly what type of stipend they are receiving.

The word stipend simply means a fixed and regular payment or allowance. Two types of stipends are issued by Vanderbilt University Medical Center:

  • Service stipend -- A form of payment for an internship or apprenticeship that is lower than what would be expected as a permanent salary for similar work. If the individual will teach, perform research, or otherwise be required to do some work in order to receive the payment, it is treated as wages and will be paid through the payroll system.
  • Non-service stipend -- A form of payment whereby the person is not required to do any kind of work (past, present, or future) as a condition of receiving the payment. Non-service stipends are given as a means of assisting an individual to pursue academic study or research. The monthly stipend request form is used for these payments.  These stipends are also called Service-Free Stipends (SFS).

Department administrators should request Glacier access in a timely fashion if they expect to issue a SFS. Time can be saved if the stipend recipient's Glacier record is completed quickly and completed before the check request or stipend payment request is sent to the ITO. The Glacier Access Request can be completed online by clicking here.

Persons receiving wages and a stipend must have a Social Security Number (SSN). Persons who have not or will not be working must have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). 

Individuals who are receiving wages must have a Social Security Number (SSN). Individuals that are receiving scholarship income (stipends) that is taxable will need to complete IRS Form W-7 in order to obtain an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) when they file their tax return. ITO will need a confirming statement signed by the international individual so please instruct the individual to sign the Statement for Activities Performed Outside the USA.