Insurance Subsidies and Grants

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.

2019-20 Grants Deadline: October 11, 2019.  

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

2019-20 Application Deadline: October 11, 2019 

This need-based 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 annual grants, up to $2,000, to PhD students who meet certain income 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.  Direct all questions to Meredith Wooten,

To be eligible, applicants must: 

  • Show they have personally purchased a current health insurance policy.
    • The policy does not have to be PSIP, but it must meet University criteria. If you chose a different plan, you must waive PSIP or you will be automatically enrolled in PSIP.
    • The health insurance plan cannot have been paid for or subsidized by their graduate group, an employer, spouse, or family.
  • Be currently registered in a Penn PhD program and in good academic standing during both the fall and spring semesters of the current academic year. 
    • Students graduating in December are not eligible.
    • Students who deposit dissertations in fall semester are not eligible.
    • Students on leave (except family leave) during either semester are not eligible.
  • Be enrolled in years 1-7. Students in year 8 or beyond are not eligible.
  • Not be receiving a stipend or funding from their department.
  • 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, submitted through Secure Share to Meredith Wooten (
    • Copy of completed application form.
    • Proof of health insurance cost and payment.
    • Copies of the 2018 U.S. tax returns and 2018 W2s for student and spouse/partner.
    • Copies of the last two pay stubs for student and spouse/partner (if applicable). (Stipend pay stubs can be found in the Penn Portal under "My Pay".)

*Our office is 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 in mid-to-late November. Funds will be disbursed in December 2019.
  • Funds will be processed through your student account. This is a separate system from Workday. You must set up direct deposit 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 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 spring 2020 semester, some or all of the grant funds may be rescinded.
  • If you have falsified information or supporting documentation on the grant application form, the grant funds will be rescinded, and you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct.
For PhD and EdD Students
Dental Insurance Reimbursement Grant

2019-20 Deadline to qualify for reimbursement: Friday, October 11, 2019

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 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.

To receive the partial reimbursement grant, you must:

  • Be currently registered in a Penn PhD or EdD program and in good academic standing.
  • Enroll in the Penn Dental Plan by the grant programs deadline: October 11, 2019.
    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.

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.

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