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Graduate Student Subsidy

What University administrative unit has oversight of the graduate health insurance subsidy program?
Each individual school is responsible for organizing its own internal administrative networks for identifying eligible graduate students, answering questions, and managing the reconciliation of all applicable accounts. The Office of the Provost will continue to act as the administrative liaison among the individual schools, Student Health, and the central administration.

How much is the 2012-2013 subsidy?
The subsidy covers the premium cost of Aetna Student Health's single-coverage health plan. The University will subsidize 100% of the single-coverage premium in 2012-2013. In future years students may be required to pay up to 20% of the single-coverage premium. 

What classes of graduate students are eligible for the subsidy?
For the purposes of this policy, a qualified graduate student is defined as follows:

  • A graduate teaching assistant (GTA), graduate research assistant (GRA), or graduate administrative assistant (GAA) who earns at least $5,000 over the course of the academic year; or
  • A fellowship recipient (FR) who is awarded at least $5,000 in fellowship funds over the course of the academic year.

Graduate students who are GTAs, GRAs, GAAs, or FRs who do not earn $5,000 during the academic year DO NOT QUALIFY for the health insurance subsidy. Qualifying graduate students must have at least $5,000 in support under one of the two definitions listed above.  Qualified students should discuss with their school whether funds are available.

What classes of graduate students are not eligible for the subsidy?

  • Other Graduate Student Job Titles
    Graduate students employed in other capacities by the University (e.g. as graduate wage assistant or as a work study employee) do not qualify for the graduate student health insurance subsidy even if their annual income exceeds the $5,000 threshold.
  • First-Professional Students
    First-professional students in the Schools of Law and Medicine and the Darden School of Business, unless they qualify based on participation in one of the University's accredited joint-degree master's or doctoral programs, do not qualify for the graduate student health insurance subsidy.
  • Post-doctoral Fellows
    Post-doctoral fellows are not graduate students and do not qualify for the graduate student health insurance subsidy.
Who determines eligibility?
Eligibility is determined by each school or department. If you think you are eligible, please contact your department or one of the appropriate school-level contacts:






Clay Hysell 



Cathy Fox



Lloyd Banks



Barbara Graves



Brenda Kelley



Chris Peper



Erica Spangler



Victoria Savoy 



(Julia) Fay Miller



Amanda Mills


Law Martha Ballanger 924-3737


Lara Jacobsen


May students enroll outside of an open enrollment period?
Students who miss the annual enrollment deadline will have an opportunity to join the plan.  Coverage will begin on the date after an on-line enrollment application is submitted or the date after a paper application is postmarked.

May students enroll online?
Yes. Aetna Student Health offers online enrollment for both subsidy and non-subsidy enrollees for the annual coverage option. Aetna Student Health can accept a paper application for both subsidy and non-subsidy but for ease of administration and accuracy of information, student and dependent enrollment is best applied for online.

May dependents enroll in the Aetna Student Health Plan?
Yes. Graduate students who enroll with Aetna Student Health may acquire dependent coverage. All costs associated with dependent coverage will be paid out-of-pocket, either in-full or in quarterly installments.

If students select a plan other than the single-coverage plan, how are payments made to Aetna Student Health?
Graduate students who elect to enroll dependents may do so by simply indicating this when filling out their application for health insurance. Graduate students may pay the difference between the single-student premium and the cost of dependent coverage in either a one-time payment or in four quarterly payments. 

If a student already has health insurance, can s/he collect the cash value of the health insurance subsidy from his or her academic department or from Aetna Student Health?
No. The graduate student health insurance subsidy is non-transferable and non-refundable. Unused subsidies cannot be refunded for their equivalent cash value. 

Can a student apply the cash value of the subsidy toward another health insurance plan?
No. The subsidy is non-transferable.

Will students be required to claim the subsidy as taxable income?
TAs, RAs, and GAAs will not be required to claim the health insurance subsidy as taxable income.  The subsidy may be taxable income for fellowship recipients.   The University of Virginia cannot provide individual tax or financial advice. We strongly recommend that you consult a professional advisor or refer to Publication 970 on the IRS website for further information.

What happens if a qualifying graduate student ceases to qualify for purposes of the graduate student health insurance subsidy during the academic year?
A student may “cease to qualify” for the graduate student health insurance subsidy for any number of reasons, among them:

  • The student drops out of school during the course of the academic year;
  • The student is not employed in the capacity that was anticipated at the start of the academic year (i.e., the student was expected to earn $5,000 as a TA during the spring semester, but in actuality was not employed in that capacity); or
  • Fellowship funds are not awarded because the student ceases to qualify for that fellowship.
If a student “ceases to qualify” after s/he has enrolled in the Aetna Student Health plan, there will be no refund of the payment to the University of Virginia.  The University and Aetna Student Health will allow the student's health insurance coverage to continue until it expires.