Student Payment Processing

William & Mary makes various payments to students for tuition and fees, teaching, research, other education-related activities and employment.

In awarding and processing such payments, care must be taken to classify these payments correctly for tax purposes and the impact of the Affordable Care Act.

This document addresses types of payments made to both graduate and undergraduate students, including scholarships, fellowships, stipends, prizes and awards, compensation for services and reimbursements. 

Student Defined

To be considered a W&M Student you must:

  • Be Accepted for Admission and Enrolled in an Approved Degree Program
  • Students must be enrolled in an approved degree-seeking program to be eligible for any financial aid from William & Mary. Students studying in an approved study abroad program are eligible to apply for financial aid from the university.
  • Enrollment can be full- time or part-time
Types of Payments



Qualified Scholarship/ Fellowships

This category includes payments to the student (those in a degree program) or credits to a student’s account used only for “qualified tuition and related expenses,” which are limited to tuition and required fees, books, supplies, or equipment.

Non-Qualified Scholarship / Fellowship

A non -qualified scholarship is a scholarship payment used for expenses that are not qualified tuition or related expenses (e.g. amounts used to pay optional fees, room, board, travel and personal expenses) at the discretion of the student.

A non-qualified fellowship is payment for a research fellowship.  The student will be expected to perform independent research. If the fellow is a student this research would be part of their educational pursuits. It is important to note that the student is performing independently and not under any direct supervision or direction. They may seek advice or assistance from colleagues, or may collaborate with others in their particular discipline; but the final decisions of what to do, how to proceed, and in what direction the research goes is decided by the fellow.

Graduate Assistantship

An academic job held by a graduate student, which involves paying for services rendered. Graduate assistantships can be classified as; Graduate Assistantships (GA’s), Teaching Assistantships (TA’s) and Research Assistantships (RA’s).  These types of individuals are performing services in order to receive compensation and are subject to the control of and supervised by an employee of the University making the payment taxable and reportable to the IRS.

Undergraduate Employment

If an undergraduate student is to receive payment for an event that occurred once, then it is a one-time payment.  If the student is continuing to work for an extended amount of time it is an hourly job.


These type of payments often takes the form of a subsistence allowance given to students to help defray living expenses during the educational or training experience.  Departments must assess the purpose of the payment to determine how it will be treated (i.e. for academic pursuit of the individual or compensation for services rendered).

Research Scholarships / Fellowship

Scholarships/Fellowships given to students in a term of non-enrollment (example: summer) for the pursuit of their studies and research.


Awards are given to students in recognition of academic achievement.  (i.e. Higher GPA).


Prizes are given to students who have submitted entries to a judged competition, for example, the best architectural design, best short story, or music or poster competitions.


Students who incur costs for approved activities that primarily benefit W&M may be entitled to reimbursement.  Reimbursements will be always be processed by the Accounts Payable Office. See the university Procurement Reimbursement Policy.  


A payment in recognition of an individual’s services for which fees are not legally or traditionally required for an academic related event. Typically this includes guest speakers and other creative academic related activities. Students do not receive honoraria at William & Mary.

Guidance on how to process a student payment. 

The most important rules to remember when determining how to pay a student are:

  1. Define what type of payment the students are receiving 
  2. Verify if the student is enrolled in the semester for which the money is being awarded and
  3. Recipient tax status (US Citizen vs NRA). 

Once you have determined the answer to each 3 questions above, you may proceed with the payment request.  To determine which office processes the payment please use this document: Student Payment Processing.