Stipend Resources

Stipends are not compensation, and cannot be paid, for services rendered. A stipend is distinct from wages or salaries because it is not intended to compensate a student for work performed. Rather, it is intended to free up a student to undertake a role in connection with educational studies or research that would normally be uncompensated. Students primarily receive benefits from academic studies or research toward their education. Where similar work is currently being paid to other students as wages, stipends are inappropriate. Work without a direct connection to a student’s educational studies or research is not appropriate for stipends. Stipends may not be paid to students unless (1) the student’s activities related to the stipend are substantially unsupervised and (2) the hours in which the student performs the services are not easily tracked.  

Currently, payment of stipends other than to GW students is not permitted via SMA and can be submitted via Concur.  

The Stipend Management Application (SMA) is used to create, monitor and approve stipends that are authorized at the departmental level and to submit for payment the monthly amounts necessary to fulfill the university’s commitment toward these students. SMA provides:

  • An automated workflow to ensure that stipend payments are approved by the correct individuals
  • A mechanism for restricting the creation and approval of stipends that do not follow the appropriate approval path
  • Departments the ability to make changes to existing stipends online
  • Departments the ability to approve and release payments monthly prior to the due date

NOTE:  Stipends being paid from any MFA Oracle alias, MFA banner index, MFA PTA/GRANT and/or MFA natural accounts/distributions must be put through Concur Invoice. SMA/EAS doesn't handle MFA distributions/allocations at this time.

Use of iBuy+ Invoice versus the Stipend Management System (SMA)

Individuals receiving payments that assist them towards their academic career should be paid through the SMA system to correctly capture those costs for year-end.  If your department pays these types of items and does not have access to SMA, please reach out to the IT help desk to get access.

When evaluating how to pay, it’s best to look at what it’s “for” versus what it’s “called”. We often see one submission labeled an award, scholarship and a fellowship all for one payment.

Here’s a quick guide to help:

  • Paying a GWU student to assist them in their education and/or academic relations?  Use the SMA system.  These tend to be called scholarships and fellowships.  However, they can also be an award.
  • Paying a student a prize because they won “Best of” or came in first?  That would go through the Concur Invoice solution.
    • Please attach a memo/backup documentation indicating what the prize is for and how it was determined the person received it.
    • US Citizens/permanent residents must have an SSN in GWB/Banner. Non-Us Citizens/permanent residents may be subject to withholding upon the Tax department's review. 
    • Current addresses must be in GWEB/Banner to prevent delay in processing. The preferred method is ACH (direct deposit). Banking should be sent to Payroll to enter as soon as possible.
    • Did the student have an application process for selection in the program? This would go through SMA.
  • Non-GWU Student Stipends, Scholarships, and Fellowships
    • Submit/create a request with adequate supporting documentation through iBuy+ Invoice.  The backup documentation should include:

      • The student's name
      • W9 and/or W8BEN must be included, with their current address
      • If the recipient is not a US citizen, include copy of foreign passport and US visa (if applicable).
      • Memo with the selection criteria/description/purpose/intended use of funds of the award/scholarship/fellowship
      • The completed and signed Payment Characterization checklist
      • The amount
      • To receive payments via direct deposit, the Supplier Registration Form must be completed and signed with a certified digital or pen to paper signature.


  • Paying an employee – Anything other than a reimbursement for expenses, must go through Payroll.

Accessing SMA

To access the SMA, go to myGW portal and complete the following steps:

  1. Click on Sign In at the top left corner of the page
  2. Click on the Tools and Resources tab
  3. Click on the Stipend Management Application (SMA) link located at the top right corner in the Enterprise Systems section.
  4. Basic SMA navigation tips are available. If you are having a technical problem with SMA, submit a ticket with the Division of Information Technology Support Center.

Stipend Calendar

Stipends use a weekly payment cycle.  To be included in a weekly cycle, please release the stipends by Tuesday at 2 p.m.  Payments will be produced each Wednesday.  Note:  Stipends not released by 2 p.m. each Tuesday will be paid on the next weekly payment cycle.

The benefits of the weekly payment cycle include more timely payments to students, elimination of monthly calendars, and reduction of the "on-demand" payment cycles when the stipends are not released timely.  Direct any questions to Cynthia Brown at [email protected] or Rachel Waple at [email protected] .

Direct Deposit

Stipend recipients are encouraged to receive payments electronically. Simply complete the Authorization Form and return to GW's Payroll Services.

Stipend Repayment

If a stipend payment needs to be repaid, the method depends on the status of the payment.

  • If the payment hasn't cleared, submit a stop payment request via Concur.
  • If the stipend has cleared, repayment can be done through the Touchnet system. The stipend number must be included in the submission.