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.
Stipend Budgeting and Rules
Stipends are considered and approved as part of ASUO’s annual budget process. Any ASUO-Recognized Student Organization may request stipends as part of their organization’s requested budget (in the fall). Their request will be evaluated based on the requirements and rules outlined in the Stipend Model and a decision will be rendered by the Programs Finance Committee during the organization’s budget hearing.
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 advance approval of the Programs Finance Committee (before Senate may hear them).
- Any exceptions to the stipend model require a two-thirds majority vote of student Senate.
Set Up and Disbursement Process
Stipend payments, disbursed monthly, must be initiated using the appropriate request forms, must follow disbursement procedure, must adhere to the parameters of the ASUO Stipend Model, and must follow university financial rules and policies. Questions about how to complete stipend forms should be directed to ASUO Finance.
The Stipend Set Up and Disbursement Process Involves Three Steps:
STEP ONE: Student leaders serving in stipend-eligible roles within stipend-eligible organizations initiate (set up) their stipend by completing an Initiate Stipend — Recipient Form.
STEP TWO: Representative from each stipend-eligible organization initiates (sets up) their organization's stipends for the year by completing an Initiate Stipend — Organization Form.
STEP THREE: On a monthly basis, by the 15th of each month in order to ensure timely disbursement, student organization director, president, or stipend coordinator completes an Authorize Monthly Stipend Disbursement Form for their organization. Failure to do so by the 15th of the month may result in disbursement delays for that month for the entire student organization.
- Upon completion of steps 1-3, recipient information will be transmitted by ASUO Finance to the university for processing.
- For a recipient’s initial disbursement, there may be a delay associated with the set-up of their account in the university system. This delay can occur regardless of whether the recipient has received a stipend in the previous year. In some cases, account set up has delayed a recipient’s initial stipend by up to two weeks.
Stipend Disbursement Periods
Stipends are disbursed in accordance with the schedule outlined in the ASUO Stipend Model. For most student organizations, this is during the nine months from October to June. For law school student organizations, this is during the nine months from September to May.
Stipends that are not initiated (set up) by the end of week 8 for each term will be forfeited for that term. Stipends unclaimed (not authorized for disbursement) by the end of each term will be forfeited for that term.
How to Set Up Direct Deposit (for stipend recipients):
Direct deposit is a highly recommended method by which to receive stipend payments. To set up direct deposit:
- Login to Duckweb
- Go to Student Menu
- Select Direct Deposit
- Select Add New Direct Deposit
- Enter Routing/Bank Information
- Check the box next to Employee Reimbursement and Student Refund
Off-Cycle Requests for Stipend Revisions
Once the fiscal year has begun, student organizations who wish to request revisions to the leadership roles associated with their stipend allocation must submit a request in writing to the Programs Finance Committee no later than November 1.
- The requested revision may not include an individual stipend award which is lower than $50 per month.
- The requested revision may not include an individual stipend award which is higher than $250 per month.
- The requested revision may not cause the organization to exceed their total stipend budget for the current year.
- The requested revision must adhere to the stipend model and to all other allocation rules.
To request an off-cycle stipend role revision, student organization leaders should submit a Stipend Position Change Form before the November 1 deadline. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
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.
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.
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?
- Student Senate action and ASUO President approval is required in order to create Student Pay and OPE line items in the organization’s IFund 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.
If a stipend-eligible role is transitioned to an hourly wage position, such a change is permanent. The position will be re-categorized as an hourly wage role and may not revert to a stipend-eligible role in future.