Trainee On-boarding

Congratulations and welcome to Team-TERRA, a National Science Foundation grant funded interdisciplinary NRT for PhD students at UConn.  We are excited that you have decided to join us and look forward to a fun and stimulating year ahead. Learn more in the Team-TERRA grant proposal.

You are a Team-TERRA Trainee; now what?

Benefits to trainees

  • Trainees will learn how to work with stakeholders, develop quantitative analytical skills in predicting risk and uncertainty, explore options for managing such risks, and communicate risk and uncertainty to clients, stakeholders, and the public
  • Overall, trainees will learn transferable skills by working with real-world problems, while providing an important service to governments, NGOs, and businesses
  • $34,000 stipend for ONE year
  • Tuition and fees waived
  • Subsidized health benefits
  • Travel funds

Fellowship   

  • You are a graduate trainee on a federal award.  This means that you will be receiving monthly stipends that are disbursed from the Fellowship Workflow. The disbursement will be shown on your fee bill and is not classified as payroll. You do not need to enroll in anything except enrolling for Direct Deposit to avoid having to come to the Bursar’s Office to pick up checks.
  • A fellow must be registered for 9 credit hours (full-time student status) to receive the stipend and fee waiver. Any classes added or dropped will change the student’s fee bill.
  • Team-TERRA will pay the visa compliance fee ($350) for international students, but not the non-resident alien tax.
  • Fellowship stipend payments during the academic year begin in August and end in April.
  • Fellowship stipend payments during the summer will be paid out in May, June and end in July.
  • Your NSF NRT Fellowship is being processed by the academic semester.
    • The fall semester has 5 payments of $2550
    • The spring semester will have 4 payments of $3187.50.
    • The summer stipend of $8500 will have 3 payments of $2833.33. 
  • The NRT Fellowship pays all your tuition and fees-PLEASE BE SURE TO COMPLETE ALL COURSE REGISTRATIONS BY AUG 1st and DEC 1st..
  • Should you opt for the health/dental coverage, the NRT Fellowship will cover nearly all of the premium(s), with the exception of a small out-of-pocket expense that you will be responsible for paying. If you opt for this coverage, then our fiscal officer will let you know what your out-of-pocket would be so you can plan accordingly.
  • Each monthly installment payment is processed by the Financial Aid Office (FAO) on the first Tuesday of the first full week of each month. Payments will be distributed up to 2-3 business days after.
  • Fellowship tax implications – Pre-docs that are receiving funds via the Bursar’s Office/Fellowship Workflow will have a 1098-T. Trainees can go to Student Admin (Peoplesoft) — Bursar Services — View 1098T.  See below ‘Fellowship Tax Implications and Resources’ for more information.

      Fee Bill and Health Insurance

      • Fall and Spring fee bills will be paid prior to the due date.  
      • In August, fee bills will show SHIP (Student Health Insurance Plan). This is the basic student insurance that you may waive in PeopleSoft Student Permissions. 
      • Health Insurance Information:
        • The Human Resources Benefits Specialist sends an email out to the fellows in late August that includes CT Partnership Plan (CTPP) coverage information and instructions to submit your election to enroll/waive.
        • Human Resources posts the insurance bill to the fellow’s account in September/October and again in late February.
        • CESE Grant Management Services, Fiscal Officer then submits a grant advice for the total cost less the fellow’s health insurance premium.  Once this is done, then you will need to pay the small portion that you will personally owe.
        • Health insurance will be active as of September 1st of the year in which you enroll.
        • There is no need to re-enroll or re-apply annually if your appointment is continued even, if it changes from GA/TA to fellow or the next year from fellow to GA/TA. Coverage will automatically continue with the elections you have from the previous semester, unless you submit a change during the annual Grad Open Enrollment period, or submit changes due to a qualifying Life Event. If you have any questions regarding coverage or if you have any issues with coverage please contact  Benefits@uconn.edu.
        • Contact Anthem for temporary ids until you receive yours in the mail by going to Anthem State of CT Medical Plans or by calling 1-800-922-2232.
        • For additional information review the CT Partnership Plan FAQ.pdf and Medical And Dental Coverage through CTPP for Graduate Fellows.pdf
        • Contact the benefits specialist, Joanna SmithJoanna.Smith@uconn.edu (P) 860-486-3034 with any questions.

      What will Team-TERRA NOT pay for?

      • meal plans
      • non-resident alien taxes
      • visa application/SEVIS fees
      • a student portion of fall and spring medical and dental insurance premiums (cost depends on coverage
        selected)

      Trainee, first month

      • Parking fees: All Fellows will have GA parking status. Fellows will need to log into the Parking Portal on this link and their parking access and price will be the same as GA’s.
      • Attend Team-TERRA classes (see curriculum below).
      • Team-TERRA website is your main source of information about the program.
      • How to acknowledge Team-TERRA Support
      • Github for storing your research/codes.
      • Listservs – You have been added to 3 Team-TERRA listservs; Trainees, Personnel and Community.
      • Professional headshot (required). 
        • Click http://s.uconn.edu/portraits to schedule a time to have your free photo taken. Most weeks it is on a Wednesday afternoon and/or Thursday morning.
        • Please email it to charlotte.nelson@uconn.edu.

      Curriculum

      The program is 2 years in duration

      1st year

      Fall:

      • EEB 5872 Environmental Risk Assessment (3 credits) 
      • EEB 5882 Environmental Risk Practicum 1  (3 credits) 
      • EEB 5895 Section (018) Environmental Risk Communication (1 credit) 
      • Either EEB 5480 or EEB 5482 Science Communication; they are offered in alternate years. (3 credits) 

       Spring:

      • EEB 5882 Environmental Risk Practicum 2  (3 credits)
      • GIS course elective (3 credits)

      2nd year

      Committees

      • Trainees are expected to join at least one committee each year.   Sign ups will take place in September by completing a form and indicating your top choice(s)

      Travel Awards


      Fellowship Tax Implications and Resources

      • Fellowship payments are subject to federal and state income taxes unless the payment is used to pay for qualified tuition and required enrollment fees. Fellows will be personally responsible for any income taxes resulting from the receipt of this fellowship payment. You should be advised that fellowship payments used to pay for travel, supplies or equipment used in your independent research are not exempt from taxation. Consistent with IRS guidance, fellowship payments, although taxable, are not subject to income tax withholding if paid to a U.S. citizen or resident alien. It is the sole responsibility of the student to report and pay taxes on the taxable portion of any fellowship, stipend, award or grant that he/she receives. Fellowship recipients may wish to consider making estimated federal and state income tax payments.  Consistent with IRS guidance, the University does not withhold taxes on the taxable portion of fellowships, stipends, awards or grants except in limited circumstances involving nonresident aliens. If you are a nonresident alien, federal income taxes may be required to be withheld from your payment unless you qualify for exemption by way of an income tax treaty between the United States and your country of tax residence. Fellowship recipients may wish to consider making estimated federal and state income tax payments.
        • Please see information about obtaining the 1098-T from the student admin portal at this link and FAQs from the Bursar Office at this link
        • The Office of Tax and Compliance at UConn has published a “Student Tax FAQ” document that will answer many personal income tax questions UConn students encounter.  This document can be found here
        • The IRS’s published guidance regarding student tax matters is “Publication 970 – Tax Benefits for Education.”  This document can be found at: here
        • The University operates a “Volunteer Income Tax Assistance” program, which may be able to provide free personal income tax preparation services.  Additional information can be found here
        • State income taxes are not withheld from taxable fellowship/scholarship payments.  There is no mechanism to withhold state income taxes from taxable fellowships/scholarships paid to US persons or international students (nonresident aliens).  It is recommended that students make sure they have some funds set aside for any projected CT income tax that they may need to pay with their annual CT income tax return. As an alternative, if a student is also an employee of UConn and is receiving wages, they could also increase their CT income tax withheld from their wages to cover any additional CT income tax that will be owed on taxable fellowships/scholarships.
        • If a student is expecting to have a large CT income tax liability for some reason, they could also consider making quarterly estimated tax payments to the state.
        • Below is a link to the 2022 CT income tax rates which may be helpful when determining projected CT income tax.  Please note that CT does not follow the federal tax treaties.  If a nonresident alien student’s taxable fellowship/scholarship is not subject to US income tax or US income tax withholding under the tax treaty, it may still be taxable for CT income tax purpose. 2022-Connecticut-Income-Tax-Tables-to-102K.pdf
        • Topic No. 421 Scholarships, Fellowship Grants, and Other Grants – Internal Revenue Service

      Publications

      • Once you publish an article, please send a pdf along with a citation in APA format to charlotte.nelson@uconn.edu

      NSF NRT Monitoring Survey (Annual Report) 

      • Each spring you will be asked to complete an NSF NRT survey about your Team-TERRA experiences, related research, academics and activities-the time burden will be about 2 hours.

      Questions/Suggestions for this page

      Contact the Program Coordinator, charlotte.nelson@uconn.edu or (c) 860-480-5154.