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REU Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why does the Graduate College process payments for REUs?

Historically, many REU and “REU-like” programs across campus have employed a variety of different program structures and payment methods. These variations have caused logistical problems for business offices and HR departments, at times causing students to be paid late. In addition, the question of whether the REU participants are to be considered students, interns, fellows, or employees has created much confusion, as these different designations have different implications.

DAWS was used as a stopgap measure for ensuring summer REU student payments, but it was not designed to be used for that purpose. By appointing REU participants as “REU Fellows” the payment process will bring the campus into compliance with Federal law and will standardize the process across all units to promote better compliance monitoring and operational efficiency.

2. How are you defining “REU”?

“Research Experiences for Undergraduates” programs (REUs) are defined as those hosting exclusively undergraduate students pursuing a summer research experience. These may include students from Illinois and other institutions who are here, typically for the summer, for primarily educational purposes. These may include federally funded programs (e.g., NSF REU, NIH R25, and USDA AFRI) and programs funded with departmental or donor funds. As far as the Illinois campus is concerned, this is not considered an “internship,” but rather a hands-on training and educational experience, as defined by the Fair Labor Standards Act.

3. How should REU participants be paid?

Each participant receives a fellowship stipend, which is a form of student aid that is provided to support the participant’s education and/or training. Qualified participants will be designated “REU Fellows.” REUs provide educational research opportunities to undergraduate students, and, as such, the participant stipend is not “pay” as it is not intended to reimburse students for services rendered or deliverables received.

4. Will students need to be registered for the summer?

No. Students will not need to be registered as Illinois students (non-degree or otherwise). Their fellowship appointment will generate a UIN that will provide them access to basic campus services such as the library and the bus system.

Programs that include academic course credit can register REU participants for independent study credit as an Illinois student. The participant’s compensation will need to be modified to offset the tuition and fee charges associated with registration for credit. Please consult with the Office of the Registrar and/or the Graduate College for more information.

5. Will students have access to all campus services automatically through this Fellowship?

No. The only way for students to automatically have access to all student benefits is for them to register at least half-time (3-5 credit hours) for the summer term. This would trigger the student fees required for access to campus resources. However, as always, programs will have the ability to add-on access to campus resources (e.g., the ARC, the bus system, McKinley Health Center) on an “à la carte” basis. This simply requires contacting the appropriate resource and paying the fees necessary for guest access over the summer for an REU Fellow.

6. Is there a mechanism by which REUs can partner fully with the Graduate College Summer Research Opportunities Program?

Yes. For REUs interested in partnering with the Graduate College Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), which serves students from historically underrepresented populations at Illinois (African American, Latina/o, and Native American students), please reach out to Gabriela Vargas (gvargas2@illinois.edu), Research Programs Coordinator, early in the grant proposal writing process.

7. Will students be covered under university liability insurance in case of accident under this Fellowship?

No. As part of the Fellowship application process, students will need to indicate that they can produce “proof of insurance” as a condition of their participation in the respective programs. Students will also need to indicate that they have completed all necessary safety training, and that they have signed an “acknowledgement of risk” form/waiver for participation in on-campus research activities.

8. Will students receive a UIN, netid, i-Card, and Illinois email account with this Fellowship appointment?

Yes. Once the student receives their UIN, which is generated along with their appointment, they can create a University of Illinois netid (https://netidclaim.illinois.edu/) and get an i-Card from the Illini Bookstore. Once they set their AD password, they are able to setup an Illinois email account at: https://partnercomputing.illinois.edu/.

9. Will students fill out the I9?

Form I9 is not required for REU participation since participants receive a fellowship stipend. Participants are not performing work and are not receiving any form of work payment.

10. Will students apply for SSN?

Current UIUC students with UINs do not need to supply a social security number. Participants who are not current UIUC students must provide an SSN or TCN to create their UIN and to initiate their fellowship appointment.

11. On the REU webpage it states, “Starting in January 2015 and evolving over subsequent years, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has developed the policies and procedures.” Where can we find this information?

Visit the OBFS website at: https://www.obfs.uillinois.edu/payments-vendors-students/payments-students/
Click on “Research and Travel Payment” then on “How to process.”

12.  For clarification, the stipend payment process for summer, fall and spring REUs will happen through the Graduate College, correct?

Correct, stipend payments for all REU programs will be processed through the Graduate College Business and Fellowship Processing unit. 

13.  Our HR office has been contacted by our staff asking how to complete the REU information form. Will instructions on how to complete the form be posted on the website as well?

A revised REU form is available on the Graduate College website, along with instructions on how to complete the form

There is a section labeled “Time Sheet Org.” Does this mean that REU fellows will need to complete timesheets?   

REU fellows do not need to complete timesheets. “Time Sheet Organization” identifies the department that houses the REU program.      

14.  The student who has been identified as the REU student for the summer is not a UIUC student.  The first field on the form asks for a UIN.  How do I go about getting a UIN for a non-UIUC student?

Please complete the form using the student’s SSN or TCN and send it as instructed on the form. The SSN / TCN will be used to generate the UIN for the student and will be communicated to the contact listed on the REU form (and any additional person identified on the form to receive this information). 

15.  A student begins her position on May 20th with a program duration of 12 weeks. Her stipend is $1000 per week for a total of $12,000 for the program.  What is the schedule for payment of the stipend?

The REU stipend payment schedule follows the same timetable used by payroll to disburse monthly wages. The payment period would begin May 16th with the first payment occurring on June 15th in the amount of $4,000. The 2nd payment will occur on July 15th with the final payment made on Aug. 15th. Please contact the Graduate College for advice on methods to ensure participants can receive funds in a more timely manner at the beginning of the REU program.

16.  I am also in receipt of a risk/waiver form. Is this something that needs to be completed, signed and sent with the rating form or do we maintain that document here?

The Risk/Waiver forms must be completed and retained in the department offering the REU program.

17.  Is there any other information I need to send along with the rating form (resume, transcript, etc.)?

Yes. Please include with the REU information form a signed Offer/Accept letter from all students participating in REU programs

18.  Can you tell me how we will get notified of when our student’s forms have been processed and issued UIN’s?

The Graduate College will notify the department when the UINs are created.

19. How long does it take for their UIN’s to be generated?

A UIN is created when complete information regarding the participant is received by the Graduate College, and entered in the system for new hire, typically within three business day. 

20.  Also, I submitted one of our programs REU information forms yesterday and realized they weren’t completely filled out. How can I recall the form?

Please call the Graduate College at 333-0036, or send an email to reu-programs@illinois.edu with the REU student’s name in the subject line, stating you will be re-submitting a “REVISED” form through the method instructed on the form.

21: Our summer REU program participants will arrive in one week. When can we expect UINs for this group?

Planning a head is key. If complete information is properly sent to the Graduate College at least two weeks prior to arrival date, then UINs will be available on arrival, except for foreign nationals (new in the country) who must make appointment and meet with Payroll and Benefit Office to obtain their TCN.

22. Will the Grad College be contacting the scholars about their direct deposit set-up for their fellowship payments?

The direct deposit set-up is part of the New Hire process. Each participant will receive an email that will direct the participant to all the necessary forms for New Hire. All necessary forms must be completed including the direct deposit form by the participant.

23. We are hosting an additional REU student through another multisite REU program that one of our faculty is part of. The student is being paid by the University of Minnesota but will be on our campus. How do we get this student a netID so that they can do safety training, get keys, etc?

Please complete the REU information form for the student as you would for a regular participant. When you get to the payment amount put a monthly stipend amount of $0.00 and a total of $0.00. In the comment box, indicate that student will participate with no payment for the period indicated for the program. The Graduate College will use this information to generate UIN and Net ID.