Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships are awarded in the amount of $24,000 annually and are subject to taxation at 14%. Students who are awarded graduate assistantships are not eligible for an additional 20 hours of on-campus work each week since the assistantship expects you to perform 20 hours of service per week to the awarding department.

Paying Tuition

ISSS is unable to answer questions about tuition balances and how to pay tuition other than the brief outline below. All questions about student finance and tuition should be addressed to offices other than ISSS.

If you are a degree-seeking (direct-entry) undergraduate or graduate student and you or your parents are paying your tuition, please review the information from the Office of Student Financial Aid and log into your BlazerNET to pay online. All international students who do not have permanent residence in the US (a “green card”) are charged an ISSS Activity Fee each semester to support the cultural and entertainment programming provided to international students. If you receive a green card while you’re a student, please email a copy of it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to have the ISSS Activity Fee removed from your tuition bill going forward.

If you are an Academic English or Pathway Student, please contact Lilian Msongole at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions about payment amounts and times.

If your home government (such as SACM, Kuwait, or the UAE) pays your tuition and fees directly to UAB each semester, please contact Michelene Castor, Financial Affairs Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (205) 934-9893.

If you have lived in Alabama for more than one year, you may qualify for in-state tuition as an Alabama resident, please review the information on the Office of Student Financial Aid website. You may be eligible to complete the Application for Residency Reclassification form online via BlazerNET. ISSS does not determine when or if you qualify for in-state tuition. Being a “resident” of the state of Alabama has a very specific definition and is determined only by the UAB Registrar. ISSS cannot answer questions about the application for residency reclassification process.

Scholarships

Thanks to generous donors who realize the value of international education and global community, UAB offers several scholarships specifically for full-time, degree-seeking international students. UAB’s Office of Student Financial Aid administers the vast majority of scholarships available at UAB via the BSMART database. Please consult their webpage for the most comprehensive information. All incoming freshman (first-year) international students are automatically considered for the UAB International Scholarship, which is based on Grade Point Average (GPA), upon application to UAB. ISSS does not administer this scholarship. Please direct all inquiries to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The ISSS office conducts interviews for the following scholarship opportunities in February each year.

Pushpamala Deosthale International Programs Scholarship

  • available to international sophomores (second-year) and juniors (third-year) based on a combination of GPA, extracurricular involvement, and recommendation letters

Spain Hickman Estess International Scholarship

  • sponsored by the Rotary Club of Shades Valley
  • available to international juniors (third-year) and seniors (fourth-year) based on a combination of GPA, leadership skills, and extracurricular involvement

Caroline and Charles W. Ireland International Student Scholarship

  • available to degree-seeking students at the undergraduate or graduate levels, or postgraduate students pursuing research and/or classes

Joseph F. Volker International Scholarship

  • available to degree-seeking students based on a combination of GPA, demonstrated leadership potential, and involvement in extracurricular activities

You can read about each scholarship here. Also, watch our Facebook page and read the weekly Globetrotter newsletter for announcements about interview dates in February and March.

ISSS does not administer any scholarships other than the ones named above and does not have details about any other funding opportunities. Please, direct questions about all other scholarship opportunities to the Office of Undergraduate Scholarships at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or your academic department. Many UAB schools and departments have additional sources of funding or scholarship opportunities available thanks to scholarships provided by generous alumni and faculty and public or private sponsors. Each scholarship will have its own specific criteria. Please take time to explore UAB’s Blazer Scholarship Management and Resource Tool (BSMART) to identify other scholarship opportunities for which you may be eligible.

More Info on Scholarships and Private Loans for International Students →

Taxes - Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to pay taxes on a scholarship?

That depends on the type and source of scholarship. If the scholarship funds are paid by an institution located in your home country, you will not have to pay US tax. If the scholarship money is paid by an institution located in the US, it will be subject to US taxes.

Part of my scholarship was subject to US tax, but my friend’s scholarship was not taxed. Why?

There are essentially two types of US-based scholarships: “qualified” and “non-qualified.” They can be taxed differently based on whether the scholarships are specifically designed to pay only tuition, room and board, or all expenses combined. Everyone’s “scholarship” is not the same.

My friend and I both received scholarships, but she got a Form 1042-S in the mail and I didn’t. Why?

Not everyone who receives scholarship funds will receive a Form 1042-S. It depends on the type of scholarship/fellowship. If your scholarship/fellowship was paid directly to your personal bank account, you will likely receive a Form 1042-S. If the funds were paid straight to UAB/ Student Accounting and never touched your personal bank account, you will not receive a Form 1042-S.

Why did I receive three separate copies of my Form 1042-S?

Please keep Copy B for your personal records, enclose Copy C with your federal tax return, and enclose Copy D with your state tax return.

Why does my Form W-2 have four segments? What do I need to do with them?

Gently tear the four segments apart using the perforated lines between each segment. Enclose Copy B with your federal tax return, keep Copy C for your personal records, enclose Copy 2 with your state tax return, and keep the other Copy 2 also for your personal records (since you do not need to file a city or local income tax return).

I was not employed in the US during the past calendar year, and I did not receive a scholarship from any US source. Do I still have to file a tax return in April?

You do not have to file a “tax return,” but you still must print and sign Form 8843 and mail it to the IRS at: Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service Center, Austin, TX 73301-0215.

What is Form 8843? Do I have to file it?

Form 8843 is used to confirm how many days you were present in the US so that you can be exempt from certain federal taxes. You should file a Form 8843 with the IRS every year. F-1 and J-1 students should complete the sections for name, taxpayer ID, and US and international addresses, plus Parts I and III. J-1 exchange visitors should complete the sections for name, taxpayer ID, and US and international addresses, plus Parts I and II. There are samples on our website at the following links:

Is money I receive from my parents from abroad taxable?

No. This money is considered foreign-source income and will not be taxed if you are still a non-resident alien for tax purposes.

I worked in the Den/at the Commons/Sodexo/Campus Dining. Where can I find my Form W-2?

Our office does not have access to students’ Form W-2. You should receive your Form W-2 in the mail in February every year. If you don’t receive it, make sure your residential address is correct with Sodexo and visit Richard or Roseanne in the HR office. They will help you log in to the ADP system and download your Form W-2.

I received a Form 1098-T (Tuition Statement) in the mail from UAB. Can I claim tuition expenses on my tax return so that I get a refund?

No. International students are not eligible for the tuition expenses tax deduction. Please just keep the Form 1098-T for your personal records, and do not mail it in with your tax return.

I received a Form 1095-B/C (Health Insurance Coverage) in the mail. Can I claim healthcare expenses on my tax return so that I get a refund?

No. International students are not eligible for the healthcare expenses tax deduction. Please just keep the Form 1095-B/C for your personal records, and do not mail it in with your tax return.

I received a Form 1099-G (Certain Government Payments) in the mail. Do I have to report last year’s state income tax refund as income on this year’s federal tax return?

Yes. Add the amount on the Form 1099-G on Line 4 of this year’s Form 1040NR-EZ.

My friend filed Form 1040 or used Turbo Tax and received a larger refund. Can I do that, too?

No! If you are still a non-resident alien for tax purposes you must file either IRS Form 1040NR or IRS Form 1040NR-EZ. Generally, all F-1 students who have been in the US for any part of five or fewer calendar years are considered “non-resident aliens for tax purposes.” Failure to file the correct tax form is fraud and can place your immigration status in jeopardy. Your friend may have been in the US for more than five calendar years, changed immigration status to H-1B, or experienced another change that caused them to become a “resident alien” for tax purposes.

UAB accidentally withheld some of my FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes last year. How can I get a refund?

UAB does not refund FICA taxes withheld in previous years. The following is from the IRS website:

If you are unable to get a full refund of the amount from your employer, file a claim for refund with the Internal Revenue Service on Form 843, Claim for Refund and Request for Abatement. Attach the following items to Form 843:

  • A copy of your Form W-2 to prove the amount of social security and Medicare taxes withheld,
  • A copy of the page from your passport showing the visa stamp,
  • Your most recent Form I-94,
  • Most recent Form I-20 (if F-1 student) or DS-2019 (if a J-1 student or research scholar), and
  • A statement from your employer indicating the amount of the reimbursement your employer provided and the amount of the credit or refund your employer claimed or that you authorized your employer to claim. If you cannot obtain this statement from your employer, you must provide this information on your own statement and explain why you are not attaching a statement from your employer. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to request this letter. Our office cannot issue this letter.
  • If applicable, Form 8316, Information Regarding Request for Refund of Social Security Tax Erroneously Withheld on Wages Received by a Nonresident Alien on an F, J, or M Type Visa (PDF)

Send all of the above to via certified US Mail (with a tracking number) to:

Department of the Treasury,
Internal Revenue Service,
Ogden, UT 84201-0005.

I’m a non-resident alien/F-1 student, but UAB withheld some FICA (Social Security and Medicare) tax from me this summer. Why, and how can I get a refund?

Sometimes the tax software fails to apply the FICA exemption when F-1 students are enrolled less than full-time. If you took an official “vacation” semester and were enrolled less than full-time while you worked on campus, the software may have failed to keep you FICA exempt. If you think you are owed a FICA tax refund, please email the UAB Payroll office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Our office has no access to the Payroll system and does not issue refunds. Only Payroll can do that.

Can I file a tax return to get a refund of my Jefferson County and City of Birmingham income tax?

No. Those taxes are not refundable. County and city taxes are not covered by any tax treaty.

I left UAB last semester and no longer have access to Oracle to download my Form W-2. How can I get it?

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your DOB, last four digits of your Social Security number, and the residential mailing address where you want the W-2 sent.