photo of Killian Court Postdoc Information
MIT

Funding and Benefits

For information on MIT policy and requirements related to the postdoc salary rate, health benefits for Postdoctoral Fellows, mentoring plans, and annual reviews, see the Vice President for Research Update.

Postdoctoral scholars are appointed with the title of Postdoctoral Fellow or Postdoctoral Associate depending on the funding source. See the MIT Policies and Procedures complete description of the terms and conditions for postdoctoral associate and postdoctoral fellow appointments.

The MIT title of Postdoctoral Associate applies to those who are paid a salary by MIT. These scholars are considered employees of the Institute and may be eligible for staff benefits through MIT's Benefits Office.

The MIT title of Postdoctoral Fellow applies to researchers who receive funding in the form of a fellowship or stipend from an outside agency, either directly or distributed through MIT on behalf of the sponsor. Postdoctoral Fellows are not considered employees of MIT, and this influences eligibility for various programs and the specific arrangements. Postdoctoral Fellows have access to health and dental insurance and other programs through MIT. For further information, see the Benefits Office description of Postdoctoral Fellow Benefits. The MIT Affiliate Health Plan is available to Fellows who are appointed at least 50% time and for a minimum of three months. See the Vice President for Research Update for important additional information.

For those who may change titles during their stay at MIT, an important resource is Impact of switching from a Postdoctoral Associate to a Postdoctoral Fellow appointment (or vice versa), available from the Office of the Vice President for Finance.


Tax Information

Postdoctoral Associates are taxed as employees and have taxes withheld from their paychecks (federal and state income taxes, as well as Social Security and Medicare, or FICA). They need to submit the necessary withholding forms to MIT online, following HR/Payroll instructions.

Tax regulations for Postdoctoral Fellows are different, including regarding tax withholding. Fellowship stipends disbursed by MIT, except for foreign sourced fellowships, are subject to federal and state income taxes but not to Social Security or Medicare taxes. The stipend income is referred to as “unearned” income by the Internal Revenue Service, and Fellows are required to pay taxes on it. For United States citizens and permanent residents, MIT does not withhold taxes, even though the stipend is taxable, and such Fellows may need to make estimated payments quarterly to the IRS (federal) and the state. International postdocs should consult the International Scholars Office website.

Additional tax and benefit Information is available through MIT’s Office of the Vice President for Finance (HR/Payroll) and MIT Employee Benefits. See in particular Payroll Information for Postdoctoral Fellows and Associates and Impact of switching from a Postdoctoral Associate to a Postdoctoral Fellow appointment (or vice versa). In addition, international postdocs should consult the International Scholars Office website.