Postdoctoral Scholars/Fellows

Postdoctoral Scholars/Fellows at the University of Iowa are engaged primarily in research, unique from either students or faculty members.  There are two classifications for Postdoctoral Scholars and Fellows.

  1. Postdoctoral Research Scholars (appointment code FP01)
  2. Postdoctoral Research Fellows (appointment code FP02)


Scholars/Fellows may enroll in UIGRADCare or the Student Health Insurance Program (SHIP) and Student Dental. 

The University Benefits Office will send a packet of materials at the time the appointment begins. This will include rates, information, and an enrollment form to complete and return. Information on the plans can also be reviewed at the insurance section of this web site.

Health and Dependent Care Spending Accounts

Any Scholar or Fellow who has income subject to state and federal tax withholding may participate in these accounts.  For more information on them, along with the advantages of participating and the enrollment process, visit the Flexible Spending Account web site. 

Disability and Workers’ Compensation

Postdoctoral Scholars are covered by Workers’ Compensation.  Postdoctoral Fellows, however, are not covered because this type of appointment is not classified as a University employee.  Neither Scholars nor Fellows are covered by the University's Long-term disability insurance.

Social Security and Retirement

Postdoctoral Research Scholars (FP01) who are U.S. citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents are required to participate in the Iowa Public Employees’ Retirement System (IPERS) retirement plan (except those considered to be foreign scholars).  The employee will be required to contribute 5.95% of their salary; while the University will contribute 8.93%.  This deduction will automatically come out of the monthly paycheck on a pre-tax basis.  IPERS will send more information along with a beneficiary designation form.  The form should be returned to either  IPERS or to the University Benefits Office. For further information, visit the IPERS web site.

Upon termination of their appointment, if an individual does not continue as a regular State of Iowa employee, they may request a refund of their contribution in one of two ways.  If the appointment is less than six months, they should contact the University Benefits Office for a “Wage Adjustment Request.” If the appointment is greater than six months, they should complete an IPERS refund form, which can be found at the above website or by calling 800-622-3849. This refund form provides the option of either rolling over the funds into another retirement plan or receiving a lump sum payment.  If the individual chooses to receive a payment, they will be liable for state and federal taxes along with a 10% tax penalty for withdrawal prior to age 59-1/2.

Postdoctoral Research Scholars also have the option to participate in the Voluntary Retirement Savings Program (VRSP) if they have taxable income.  Information on this program is available on the retirement section of this web site under Saving Extra for Retirement.  Scholars or Fellows who receive salary may participate in the Roth 403b plan described on the above web site, even if they do not have taxable income.

Postdoctoral Research Fellows (FP02) are exempt from payment of FICA (Social Security) and Medicare taxes; therefore, they are also exempt from the payroll deduction for IPERS.  Federal and State tax deductions will not be withheld from paychecks; however, the individual may still be responsible for payment of taxes. Individuals in this category are not eligible to participate in a VRSP.

Paid Leave

Postdoctoral Scholars at The University of Iowa are entitled to annual paid leave of 15 working days and annual sick leave of 18 working days but do not accrue vacation and are not entitled to vacation pay. The agency supporting a Postdoctoral Fellow may require different policies. The appointing department is responsible for arranging and accounting of leave for Postdoctoral Scholars.

Access to University Facilities and Activities

Postdoctoral Scholars/Fellows will receive a University identification card.  This card provides access to library and information resources, cultural and athletic events, and the ability to charge items to a University billing account.

More information for Postdoctoral Scholars/Fellows can be found on the Office of Postdoctoral Scholars web site.

Annual Notices

Federal law requires the University to broadly disseminate certain policies to faculty, staff, and students on an annual basis. The University of Iowa Benefits Office is committed to being environmentally friendly whenever possible while still accomplishing our objectives, so we have moved these notices online.

Benefits Office

Campus address
120 USB
U.S. mailing address
The University of Iowa
University Benefits Office
120 University Services Bldg.
Iowa City, IA 52242-1911