The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Bucknell to alter summer undergraduate research funding

For students across Bucknell who engage in research over the summer months, they may see a slight change in how the finances are dealt with this year.

A new law is being interpreted in a strict lens indicating that a summer stipend given to an undergraduate in roles such as fellowships, internships or similar positions should be considered a scholarship. Consequently, it would be subtracted from the student’s financial aid for the following academic year. As a result, Bucknell has been trying to figure out a new arrangement for summer work to avoid summer research placing an undue financial burden on students. 

According to Tom Cassidy, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, “our aim is to modify summer payments for students to guarantee they are not put at a disadvantage.” 

This year, undergraduates engaged in research projects will be employed as casual workers. Payment to these students will occur biweekly, aligning with the student payroll schedule.

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There are differences in how students conduct research, such as in a lab with an experiment or with a professor reading scholarly articles. Students will meet with the faculty who facilitate student summer research to ensure that they are aware of how much they are getting paid for their specific program or the completion of their tasks.

According to Cassidy, “Our objective is to ensure that summer researchers receive their initial paycheck prior to commencing their research activities.”

One question that may arise is whether this alteration applies to everyone. The answer is no. Undergraduates engaging in non-research-related summer roles will be hired as hourly employees.

Summer housing will be conducted similarly to previous years. Summer researchers will still be eligible for housing credits which are subject to taxes being withheld from the undergraduate researcher’s pay. 

Those who have not been employed on campus will have to complete the I-9 as part of their onboarding process in order to receive their first paycheck and be paid in the future.

Additionally, for the grants, gifts and other project funds that are used to support an undergraduate researcher, such as those funded by the government, the Office of Sponsored Projects has changed the payment type that impacts the overall budget. If gift or project funds are used to support an undergraduate researcher, those funds will incur a required 6.8% that will go towards Social Security and Medicare taxes. 

Students who need to travel during the summer as part of their research, such as attending conferences or going on an excursion, will still need to obtain academic approval if the stay is overnight. 

For students who have questions or concerns, and specifically research students staying at Bucknell this summer who want to know more about how their schedule will coincide with how much they are getting paid, it is advised you reach out to Tom Cassidy or visit this website.

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Michael Taromina
Michael Taromina, News Editor

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