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Supplementary Summer Block Grant Program (SSBG) FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is there a minimum number of credits for which SSBG fellows must be registered over the summer?

There is not a minimum. Registration in any part of the summer term will meet this requirement.


2. Are students who received Covid-19 Emergency Grants for Graduate Students eligible for SSBG fellowships?

Yes, as long as they meet all the criteria specified in the SSBG guidelines. In other words, being awarded a Covid-19 Emergency Grant does not preclude a student from being awarded an SSBG fellowship.


3. Are SSBG fellowships taxable?

Students should consult the Graduate College’s Tax & Loan Information for US Students with Fellowships page for details on the taxability of their stipends.


4. How should a department request an SSBG fellowship for a student?

Departments should submit an SSBG Information Form for each student in keeping with the Graduate College’s submission protocol. See the SSBG webpage for a link to the form and instructions for the protocol.


5. What fees will be charged to students funded by the SSBG?

Students will be charged campus summer fees. Visit the Registrar’s website for information on these. 


6. Will receiving an SSBG affect students' financial aid eligibility?

The SSBG may affect students' financial aid eligibility for summer 2020, but only if they have already reached their maximum cost-of-attendance for the summer. It will not affect their AY20-21 eligibility. If students need verification of their summer financial packages, they should contact Student Financial Aid for assistance.


7. If a student is already receiving two months of departmental support during the summer, may the SSBG provide only one month of support during the third summer month?

Yes, but only if the departmental support over those two months provides at least $1,111 per month.


8. During the two SSBG-supported months, may the SSBG amount for one month differ from the SSBG amount for the second month?

No, the SSBG amount and the non-SSBG amount much each be consistent over the two months. If the departmental appointment in month one pays X and the SSBG pays Y, then X and Y must each remain constant for both months.


9. May a department pay a student with a combination of SSBG and departmental funds at $1,111 per month for two months?

Yes, as long as the combined monthly stipend is at least $1,111 but no greater than $2,083.


10. If a student has a three-month summer assistantship that pays less than $2,083 per month, can the SSBG be used to pay the student up to the $2,083 cap? 

Yes, but the SSBG may be used only for two of those three months. 


11. During which months can a student receive SSBG funding, and who chooses the months?

If the SSBG is being used for two months, then those two months must be consecutive. There are two possible appointment periods: 5/16/2020-7/15/2020 or 6/16/2020-8/15/2020. Departments are free to choose which of those two appointment periods to use per student.


12. Are there, or can there be, any work obligations for the SSBG fellowship?

The SSBG award is a fellowship, not an assistantship. Therefore, there are no work requirements involved. If a student is receiving only an SSBG fellowship, then there is no expectation that the student will provide any service. If, however, the student has both an SSBG award and an assistantship, then the student is required to fulfill the work obligations of the assistantship.


13. Can any unused SSBG funds be applied to a department’s AY20-21 budget?

No. All SSBG funds must be used by 8/15/2020.


14. Can students supported by a Graduate College Fellowship, an Aspire Fellowship, or an Illinois Distinguished Fellowship receive SSBG funds?

No. These students are already receiving $2,083 monthly for the three summer months.


15. Can incoming graduate students receive SSBG funding?

If an incoming student is registered for the duration of either allowable SSBG funding period (see #11 above), then he/she is eligible for SSBG support. Otherwise, the student is not eligible.


16. If the SSBG cap of $2,083 is lower than the department’s standard assistantship rate, may the department bypass the cap and use the SSBG to pay the student the standard rate? 

No. If SSBG funding is used, then the monthly cap is $2,083. If a student is making more than $2,083 per summer month, then the student may not receive SSBG funds during that month. If, over the course of the entire summer, the department wishes to pay the student the standard assistantship rate AND provide supplemental SSBG funds to that student, then the department must use the SSBG funds during the summer month in which the student is not receiving the assistantship. In other words, it is acceptable for a department to provide two months of assistantship at a rate higher than $2,083 and then pay a third month of up to $2,083 with SSBG funds.