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Pay Postdocs

How to Generate Support Payments for Postdocs

Jump to information about:


Stanford and NIH Levels of Support

General Information

Entering Salary Paylines into PeopleSoft for Payroll

Indicator Tools: Fellowship or Sponsored Project

How to Pay Stipends (Fellowships)

Outside Funding

Tax information


Postdocs must be supported by Stanford grants and contracts, training grants, departmental/School fellowship funds, external fellowship funds, or a combination of these sources. Postdocs may not be self-supporting. Scholars are normally appointed at 100% time. If an appointment is to be made for a lesser percentage, it must be pre-approved by the Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs. Clinical fellows will follow the PGY levels established by the department of Graduate Medical Education (GME) at the Stanford Hospital & Clinics. All other postdoctoral scholars, regardless of their source of funding, must be paid at least the minimum level established annually by the Vice Provost and Dean of Research and the Vice Provost for Graduate Education. A school may establish a higher minimum compensation for postdocs within that school.

General Information


GFS Policy Information  Access to GFS through PeopleSoft requires completed training and permission from your Business Manager or Student Services Manager.

If you have GFS pay line entry or other GFS questions, please see the GFS How To page.

SALARY is "pay for work performed." Stanford pays salaries twice a month on the 7th and 22nd. Taxes are withheld. Salary is paid through PeopleSoft GFS. Please note that although a scholar may be supported on salary, this does not reflect an employee-employer relationship with Stanford University.

STIPEND is a "living allowance for research", also known as a fellowship. Fellowships are paid on the 25th of each month. Taxes are not withheld unless the recipient is a non-treaty foreign national. Stipends are paid through PeopleSoft GFS.


Entering Salary Paylines in GFS for Payroll

There are different Assistantship types of payroll appointments in the GFS system. Check with your local Business Manager if you have questions.

1. RAF (Research Affiliate) Full Postdoc Fringe Benefits Rate Use RAF Assistantship type when salary accounts for at least 50% of total compensation (at least 20 hours salary).

E.g., two separate salary lines, one 12 hours and one 18 hours will be charged the full benefits rate.

2. RAFC (Research Affiliate Contingent) Contingent Benefits Rate Use RAFC Assistantship type when salary accounts for less than 50% to total compensation (less than 20 hours salary).

E.g., one salary line for 10 hours (25% of total compensation) will be charged the contingent benefits rate.

3. CS (Clinical Specialist) Clinical specialists exist in certain departments in the School of Medicine.

Caveats when entering into the GFS student file:

If you can, make salary appointments at 5% or more. This will prevent the ‘tuition’ (registration fee of $125/quarter) from being taxable income for the scholar. The tuition is paid by the scholar's School.

These payroll entries are made by the department administrator into the GFS student file and routed for owning department approvals. Once all approvals have been made, the GFS system communicates with the Human Resources payroll system to generate the pay instructions for the scholar. The rollovers from GFS to the HR payroll system are currently only on the 15th and last day of each month. See Payroll Deadlines for more information.

Indicator Tools: Fellowship or Sponsored Project

The Postdoctoral Decision Model contains information about determining whether funding being provided to support a Postdoctoral Scholar should be treated as a fellowship or as a research grant/contract, i.e., as a sponsored research project.

How to Pay Stipends (Fellowships)


A postdoc that is on a department or external fellowship/scholarship, or a NIH training grant or NRSA, is supported through stipend payments. Stipend payments are processed once a month by the Student Financial Services office and distributed on the 25th of each month. See Fellowship Deadlines for more information. These stipend payments do not have federal, state, or local taxes withheld by Stanford for the scholar (unless the scholar is a foreign national from a non-treaty country). A scholar supported by scholarship payments should estimate and pay applicable quarterly taxes.


Outside Funding

In the event the scholar is NOT supported and paid through Stanford (with either Salary or Stipend via Payroll), proof of the scholar receiving outside support is required to keep the scholar registered. Information on the ‘outside direct’ funding is entered into GFS as Outside Funding by the GFS Administrator in your Department/School.

Proof of outside funding is a copy of the award letter from the sponsoring institution that must be in English or include a translation to English. The letter should state the begin and end dates of support, the amount of the support in U.S. dollars and the name of the institution's fellowship which is supporting the fellowship training while at Stanford. Currency exchange rates are found at Oanda.

It is important to send proof of extension of outside support to OPA as the scholar 's training is extended. Please monitor your scholars on outside support closely to ensure currency exchange fluctuations do not result in a funding shortfall below the minimum required amount.

Appointments for scholars on personal funds are never permitted.

Quarterly Review of Currency Exchange Fluctuations

Foreign currency must be reviewed quarterly to ensure fluctuations in foreign currency exchange have not resulted in the postdoc's funding falling below the minimum annual rate. Any funding shortfalls due to currency exchange fluctuation are the responsibility of the PI/Department; any necessary payment adjustments should be made at least on a quarterly basis.

How to Review for Currency Exchange Fluctuations

  • How often does the postdoc receive payments?
    • This will drive how often you need to check (i.e., yearly payment should be reviewed yearly; monthly payment should be reviewed at least quarterly).
  • Are the payments deposited into a U.S. or foreign bank account?
    • If foreign bank account, a conversion is required; U.S. banks do the conversion for you.
  • Based on the USD amount, ensure that it meets or exceeds the postdoctoral minimum funding rate for that time period.
  • If a shortfall is found, the PI/Department will need to supplement up to at least the minimum funding rate until the next payment.