Scholarly Award

Brown defines its mission, in part, as "educating and preparing students to discharge the offices of life with usefulness and reputation." This does not happen only in a classroom and through formal coursework, but also through employment, volunteerism, scholarly awards, and student leadership opportunities.

Due to the federal and state regulations regarding whether or not a student opportunity creates an employee/employer relationship between the University and the student, it is critical that student opportunities are classified into categories that enable us to ensure that Brown is in compliance. A student who is considered an employee of the University is entitled to hourly wages, while a student who is given the opportunity to participate in activities that further their own learning and development may be unpaid, or may be provided with a stipend.

Scholarly Awards


  • Activities have a clear and directed academic component. The primary purpose is to further the student's education and training. Activities are specifically designed to advance the skills and knowledge in the field of study. The student is the primary beneficiary and the work is not necessary to achieve departmental objectives.
  • Students cannot be terminated because it is not a job.  Award is given through a formalized application and competitive process. If it is determined by the department that the student did not complete the activities for which the award was given, the department may ask for all or partial funding back from the student.

Approved Undergraduate Opportunities:

  • Examples of approved Scholarly Awards include UTRAs (Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards),  RABs (Research at Brown Grants), Royce and Mellon Fellowships and Science Fellows Program.  View full list of approved Scholarly Awards. See below for instructions regarding requesting approval of a Scholarly Award not listed here.

Method of Payment:

  • Lump sum payments (single or multiple)
  • No time reporting
  • I-9 not required
  • Domestic students are not taxed, international students are subject to taxes
  • Payments for undergraduate fellowships should be processed through the Provost Administrative Service Center and will be paid via Accounts Payable


  • Non-Resident Aliens must register their information in the Foreign National Information System (FNIS) annually.  Please remind International students to complete this process before submitting payment requests to the Provost Service Center.
  • Students who are to be paid to perform research as part of an award granted to a faculty member should be considered Research Assistants and paid hourly as employees.
  • Research Awards provided to non-Brown students should be processed through Accounts Payable and students will receive a 1099.

Requesting Approval

If you would like to create or request approval for an Undergraduate Scholarly Award, Program Leader/Coordinator Opportunity, or a Volunteer Program not listed as an approved opportunity, please email with the following:

  • A program description that includes the activities to be performed.
  • How those activities will further the student's learning and development.
  • The process by which the student accesses the award or opportunity.
  • Department Name
  • Reporting Line
  • Contact Person
  • Compensation ($ amount/payment method…lump sum, two payments, bi-monthly, etc.)
  • How many students a year
  • Program verse Scholarly Award
  • Names the program may be listed as