Insurance Subsidies and Grants

Fall 2020 Deadline: September 18

No extensions or exceptions can be made for those who miss the deadline or do not meet eligibility criteria. 

Spring 2021 Deadline: February 17

Applications for Spring 2021 grants will open on January 18, 2021. More details will be posted soon. 

The University offers two grant programs for PhD students to help offset the cost of health insurance and dental insurance. These grants are funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Graduate Student Center and the Office of Student Registration and Financial Services. 

Individual insurance plan deadlines may vary. Please read program and plan details carefully. 

For information on grants to reimburse family expenses and health insurance for dependents, please go to:

Health Insurance Grant

2020-21 Application cycle: August 10 - September 18, 2020.   

Spring 2021 Application cycle: January 18 - February 11, 2021 

This grant program helps to offset the cost of health insurance for PhD students who are no longer funded by their departments. The Health Insurance Grant Program provides need-based grants of up to $1,000 per semester to PhD students who meet certain eligibility criteria. This grant is funded by the Office of the Provost and administered by the Graduate Student Center and the Office of Student Registration & Financial Services. Applications and supporting documents must be submitted electronically by official deadline. 

The grant is intended to offset out-of-pocket costs for purchasing health insurance ans is not an up-front subsidy. Students are responsible for the full cost of purchasing insurance and may incur late fees if these are not paid on time.

To be eligible, applicants must: 

  • Show they have personally purchased the Penn Student Health Insurance Plan (PSIP) or an unsubsidized health insurance policy for the 2020-21 academic year.
    • Students enrolling in PSIP must provide documentation that they have personally paid all associated charges for coverage.  
    • Non-PSIP plans must meet University insurance compliance criteria. Non-PSIP plans cannot have been fully or partially paid for or subsidized in any way by a student's graduate group, an employer, spouse, or family.
    • Please note: If you choose to enroll in a non-PSIP plan, you must waive PSIP or you will be automatically enrolled in and charged for PSIP.
  • Be currently registered in a Penn PhD program and in good academic standing throughout the period covered by the grant.  
    • Students on leave (except family or medical leave) during either semester are not eligible.
    • Due to disruptions to the spring semester affecting student graduation dates, we are extending eligibility during the 2020-21 academic year to include students who will graduate in December 2020. 
  • Be enrolled in years 1-7. Students in year 8 or beyond are not eligible.
  • Not be receiving a full fellowship from their program, the University, or an external funding body.
  • Preference will be given to students with an annual household income of:
    • $58,000 or less for household of 3 or more
    • $38,000 or less for household of 2 
    • $30,000 or less for household of 1

How to Apply

Submit the completed online application and all required documentation through Secure Share by the posted deadline. Incomplete forms, forms submitted without documentation, and forms submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

A complete application includes:

  • Online Application
  • Required documentation uploaded into the form:
    • Proof of cost and payment for an eligible health insurance plan. 
    • Benefits summary for non-PSIP health insurance plan, if applicable. Benefits summary must outline what the insurance plan covers and show that it meets University insurance requirements.  
    • Copies of the 2019 U.S. tax returns and 2019 W2s for student and spouse/partner.
    • Copies of the two most recent pay stubs for all paid positions, both on- and off-campus, for student and spouse/partner (if applicable).

Please have digital copies of all relevant documentation ready before you begin this application.  Failure to provide all necessary documentation will result in delays reviewing your application or rejection of application. You may be asked to provide additional documentation or information needed to evaluate your application. 

*We are committed to ensuring the security of your information. We have put in place reasonable physical, technical, and administrative safeguards designed to prevent unauthorized access to, or use of, the information collected online. 

Grant Conditions 

  • Grants are not guaranteed. Grants are disbursed as funding allows, with priority given to the students who demonstrate the highest financial need.
  • Grants are awarded in the range of $500 - $2,000.
  • Grants are awarded annually, and you must reapply each year.
  • Grant recipients will be notified by late October. Funds will be disbursed in November 2020.
  • Funds will be processed through your student account. This is a separate system from Workday. You must sign up for student account refunds in PennPay or a paper check will be mailed to your permanent address on file with SFRS.
  • If you have an outstanding balance on your student account, the grant will be applied to your bill.
  • Grants are taxable. You are responsible for reporting the grant income and paying applicable taxes. Depending on your tax status, taxes may be withheld prior to the grant disbursement.
  • If you are receiving federal student loans, this grant could reduce your loan amount. You are responsible for contacting Student Financial Services for a budget re-evaluation if you receive the grant. Students can submit a request for a budget increase if they wish to receive their full loan amount in addition to the grant.
  • If you do not remain in good academic standing during the period covered by the grant, some or all of the grant funds may be rescinded.
  • Applicant funding status and fellowship stipend amounts will be verified with graduate groups and school finance administrators. You are responsible for notifying us if your funding status changes during the period covered by the grant. Failure to do so will result in grant funds being rescinded.
  • If you provide false or misleading information or documentation in your grant application, the grant funds will be rescinded, and you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.

Direct all questions to Meredith Wooten,

For PhD and EdD Students
Dental Insurance Reimbursement Grant

2020-21 Deadline to qualify for reimbursement: Friday, September 18, 2020

The Office of the Provost provides grants to reimburse 50% of the cost of Penn Dental insurance for all PhD students who purchase insurance for the full 2020-21 academic year. Additionally, the Graduate School of Education reimburses 50% for all Full Time Residential EdD students who are within their first seven years of study. Both programs are administered by the Graduate Student Center and Penn Dental.

The grant is intended as a partial reimbursement and not an up-front subsidy. Students are responsible for the full cost of purchasing insurance and may incur late fees if these are not paid on time.

To receive the partial reimbursement grant, you must:

  • Be currently registered in a Penn PhD or EdD program and in good academic standing. Dual degree students must be registered in the PhD portion of their degree during the fall semester to be eligible. 
  • Enroll in the Penn Dental Student Plan by the grant program deadline: September 18, 2020.
    Penn Dental Plan deadlines may vary. Please review plan documentation and details carefully. Students who enroll in Penn Dental after the deadline are not eligible for the grant.

Eligible students who purchase the Penn Dental insurance plan for students by the deadline will automatically qualify for the grant. No additional application or steps are needed. 


Grant Disbursement Process

Eligible students who enroll by the deadline will automatically receive the $215 grant by late October - early November. The disbursement process involves a few steps:

  • The $215 credit will be applied to your student account, which can be accessed through PennPay online.
  • If you have any outstanding charges, the funds will be applied toward your bill.
  • The credit (less any unpaid charges) will be processed as a refund payment
    • If you have signed up for student account refunds, you should receive a direct deposit within a few days. 
      Please note: this is not the same as signing up for direct deposit of your stipend or paycheck. A separate form must be submitted to receive these funds via direct deposit.
    • If you have not signed up for account refunds, a check will be mailed to the address on file with Student Financial Services. You can check and update all addresses on file through Penn-in-Touch and your profile on the Penn Portal.
  • Refunds are typically processed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Questions about the status of your account should be directed to Student Financial Services.

Direct all other questions to