Professional Careers

The Graduate Wife Dictionary: Vocabulary of Grad School

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When stepping into the world of graduate school, how many of us knew the lingo used? We know we spent a good while asking our husbands, “What does that mean?” when they first started grad schools. For those of you starting out on your graduate journey, our team thought we’d create a list of words we’d wish we had known when we started our journey! We hope it helps. -Mandy & M.C.


1098-T– A 1098-T is a U.S. government tax form that shows what a student paid to a university in tuition and fees, and any scholarships the student received from the university. The 1098-T is usually provided by the university’s Bursar, and is either mailed to the student or available online in January of each year. 1098-Ts are used to help calculate income tax owed and education related income tax credits.

Federal Direct Plus Loan for Graduate Students- Federal Direct Plus Loans for Graduate Students are student loans available through the U.S. Department of Education to fund graduate studies. Unlike scholarships and grants, loans must be repaid. You can learn more about Federal Direct Plus Loans for Graduate Students here:

Fulbright Fellowships/Grants- A Fulbright Grant or Fellowship is a grant provided through the U.S. State Department to support research and study abroad. You can learn more about the Fulbright program here:

Grant Funded Position- A grant funded position is a job at a university that is paid for by funds from outside of the university, for instance from the state or federal government or a non-profit foundation. A faculty member, department, or research program applies for the grant to support a specific research project or program. The granting agency provides money to the university which may then be used to pay the salaries of faculty members or graduate students who are working on that specific project. Grants may only be for a short time, or may have to be renewed frequently. If the grant ends or the grant money runs out, the grant funded position will also end.

Lifetime Learning Tax Credit (LLC) – The lifetime learning tax credit is a US government federal income tax credit available to graduate students. To learn more about this credit and if you or your partner is eligible visit the IRS’s website:

Scholarship- A scholarship is money provided to a student specifically for paying his or her tuition.

Stipend- A stipend is money paid to a student in exchange for work as a graduate assistant or to cover living expenses while on a fellowship. A stipend is different from a scholarship because it covers expenses beyond tuition, while a scholarship only covers tuition. It is also important to note that while scholarships are usually not taxed, a stipend is considered taxable income.

W-2- A W-2 is a U.S. government tax form that documents how much an employee earned and how much tax was taken out of their paychecks over the course of a year. It is used when filing income tax returns and may also be used as evidence for need based scholarships. In the case of a graduate student, a stipend would appear on a W-2 as taxed income, while a scholarship would appear on a 1098-T as untaxed income.






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