What are the funding dates for assistantships and fellowships for the spring semester?

Date: January 2021


Hello Deans, 

Happy New Year! I’m hoping you might be able to provide details about funding dates for assistantships and fellowships for the upcoming semester? Especially given the substantial shift in the semester calendar, I’m hearing a lot of questions about when appointments “start” and when we can expect funding to resume.

Apologies if this has been answered in prior correspondence from the Grad School, though I don’t recall seeing it. Any clarity that I can relay to my classmates — or perhaps that the Graduate School could communicate broadly — would be much appreciated.

Thank you! 

Eagerly Awaiting a Stipend Check


Hi Eagerly Awaiting a Stipend Check,

Happy New Year to you as well! There are two different funding calendars for graduate students.  One is for assistantships and the other is for fellowships.  Both are designed to minimize any gaps in funding.  Neither calendar has been modified for the spring 2021 semester so students can expect their stipends to be paid normally.

Start and end dates for assistantship appointments are specified in University Policy 1.3.  Fall 2020 semester appointments were from August 21 – January 5, and Spring 2021 semester appointments are from January 6 – May 20. Assistantship stipends are paid through Cornell’s payroll office on a semi-monthly calendar with checks processed on the 15th and 30th of the month, or the nearest weekday. 

University Policy 1.3 notes that the academic calendar varies a bit between years for start and end dates and includes time before classes start for TAs to prepare for the semester.  We know that some TAs are helping prep for online spring instruction during the month of January.  The dates for spring semester finals and grade submissions haven’t been moved significantly but there are some cases where TA duties may extend beyond May 20.  This is addressed in the policy :

“appointment periods for assistantships typically begin one to three weeks prior to the start of classes.  Graduate students funded on assistantships should thus expect their assistantship responsibilities to begin at the start of the appointment period and should plan to make academic progress in their degree program throughout the appointment period.  Because some courses may have final exam periods that extend beyond the assistantship appointment period, TAs should be informed at the time of appointment that they may be required to fulfill teaching responsibilities beyond the appointment period. The appointing department and supervising faculty should put this information in writing in the student’s appointment letter.  Total hours for TAs (including final exam responsibilities outside of the appointment period) should not exceed the university policy limit of an average of 15 hours/week for the number of weeks in the appointment period, with no week exceeding 20 hours.”

Fellowship stipends are paid through the bursar office as a lump-sum refund in mid-January.  This spring the disbursement of fellowships will occur on January 15 and direct deposits should be processed by January 22. It’s important to make sure that your direct deposit is set up before then to avoid delays.  Any student who has not received their fellowship stipend by January 23 should alert their GFA.  We know students on counting on their spring semester stipends to cover rent and other essential expenses so don’t wait in silence if there appears to be a problem – let’s get it solved!



Jason Kahabka
Associate Dean for Administration