Positions with ASUO and ASUO-Recognized Student Organizations offer students learning and leadership development opportunities. Students in pre-identified positions within eligible organizations, as determined by PFC during the previous budget cycle and in adherence to the ASUO Stipend Model, may receive a fixed monthly allocation called a stipend. Stipends are financial awards that serve as recognition of the learning and leadership development opportunities that exist within student organizations. Stipend positions exist for the benefit of the student, not the university.
Student leadership stipend allocations are authorized and regulated by the ASUO as outlined in ASUO Governance Documents. As such, only approved I-Fee funded organizations are eligible to participate in the ASUO Stipend Program.
Stipends differ from wage positions in that they recognize student leaders for their experience and participation. Stipends are not compensation for recipient hours of service.
- Stipend allotments are not considered the equivalent of or a substitute for wages and are not paid based on hours of participation.
- Stipend amounts are fixed. Once established, the amount cannot be changed from month to month.
- Recipients must meet ASUO eligibility requirements (minimum enrollment hours and assessment of the incidental fee).
- Stipends are considered an additional financial resource and may affect a student’s financial aid package.
Stipends are Considered Income
Because stipends are considered a financial resource, they are subject to the laws and regulations of the Bureau of Labor and Industry (BOLI). As such, stipends may have tax implications and may affect a student’s financial aid package. Student organization leaders receiving financial aid who wish to explore any potential negative impact that stipend income may have on their award should contact the Office of Student Financial Aid directly. IRS Publication 970 provides guidance on tax reporting.
- Stipends may qualify as tax-exempt payments to students provided they are used for qualifying expenses and represent payment to advance the students’ pursuit of an education, not payments in exchange for services rendered to the university.
- For information regarding what constitutes a qualifying expense that can be paid with stipend funds, stipend recipients are asked to contact a licensed tax professional or to refer to IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education. The university is not permitted to give tax advice.
The following rules apply to stipend allocations:
- Stipend expenditures must adhere to the Stipend Model.
- Stipend expenditures must adhere to the level, category, and descriptions approved by PFC during the budget process. Requests to alter PFC-approved stipend expenditures require a special request outlining the existing descriptions and the proposed descriptions, and an affirmative vote of the Student Senate.
- Student organizations may not transfer funds into (Senate Rules) or out of (Stipend Model Rules) stipend line items.
- Surplus requests for stipend funds require PFC advance approval (before Senate may hear them).
- Any exceptions to the stipend model require a two-thirds majority vote of student Senate.
- Student organizations employing students on a work study or otherwise hourly basis are required to follow the Human Resources Department’s pay scale, hiring policies/procedures, and Federal work study guidelines.
Stipend payments, disbursed monthly, must be initiated using the appropriate request forms, must follow disbursement procedure, and must adhere to the limits of the ASUO Stipend Model. Questions about how to complete stipend forms should be directed to ASUO Finance.
Hourly Wage Positions
Task-focused roles with quantifiable deliverables are hourly wage positions. Position holders are compensated based on the amount of time spent fulfilling these tasks. Examples of hourly wage positions are: webmaster, photographer, and record keeper.
To compare, stipend roles are leadership focused and contain clear links to learning objectives. Stipends are NOT reflective of the amount of time spent conducting tasks for an organization. Examples of stipend roles are: Program Directors, Co-Directors, and Student Senators.
How do I know if a position should be paid hourly?
Review the position description and ask yourself these questions:
- Are the tasks in the position description quantifiable, in that they break down to a specific set of steps and a measurable amount of time?
- Are there currently (or historically have there been) other positions on campus where someone is being paid an hourly wage for the same or similar work?
If you answered yes to either of these questions, then the position is not stipend-eligible. The position could be filled by a volunteer or potentially become an hourly wage position.
What is required to change a stipend role to an hourly wage position?
- Budget authority (ASUO Senate) approval to fund Student Pay and OPE line items in the organization’s I-Fund budget.
- A UO employee supervisor must agree to hire, select, train, and supervise the position.
- An hourly wage position description must be created in consultation with the UO employee supervisor and submitted prior to ASUO approval.
- The hiring process must be compliant with UO and AAEO policies.
- Supervisor bears responsibility for completion of hiring paperwork, compliance with UO employment policies, HR responsibilities such as salary reporting and performance evaluation, and adherence to personnel budget.