Most graduate students are teaching assistants (TAs) for their first two years and then research assistants (RAs) as they perform research for their dissertations, under the supervision of their advisors. Teaching assistants receive a monthly stipend from September to May. The Physics Department pays their tuition and continuation fees. Most students work as RAs during the summer between their first and second years
Research assistants are employed on a research grant and receive a salary. Since research grants are not allowed to pay fees, the students receive a monthly salary which is equal to the monthly stipend paid to teaching assistants, plus an amount equal to the continuation and health fees, and plus an extra $50 which reimburses students for the approximate amount of taxes paid on the continuation and health fees. The entire amount that research assistants receive is taxable as normal income. US citizens and permanent residents are eligible for the Lifetime Learning Credit on their Federal Income Tax forms to recover 20% of their educational expenses (fees, plus other expenses such as books and supplies), up to a maximum of $1,000 (see IRS Publication 970 and Form 8863). Note that tuition does not count as income, and can not be claimed as an educational expense.
Duke allows large fees, including continuation, parking and health insurance, to be paid through payroll deduction. Fees are broken into monthly amounts that are automatically deducted from students' monthly pay. Payroll deduction is, in effect, a 0% loan. You will still receive bills from Duke every month for the total amount, but these can be disregarded if you have payroll deduction set up. Always check your pay stub to ensure that money is being deducted. Payroll deduction for continuation and health fees is usually handled by the department and requires signing a form prepared by Donna Ruger. Deducting health insurance and parking fees can usually be set up when signing up for those services, but can also be added later by visiting the Bursar's Office in the Allen Building.