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.

Gender Transition - All of the health plans offered through the University of Iowa provide benefits for medically necessary covered services associated with gender transition when ordered by a health professional. Please contact Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield at 800-643-9724 for more information and to discuss the gender transition medical policy. 

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) are required to participate in a retirement plan. The employees will be defaulted into IPERS (the Iowa Public Employees' Retirement System) except those considered to be foreign scholars.

If they would prefer to participate in the TIAA retirement plan, they may log on to Employee Self Service, select the Retirement Enrollment link under the Benefits section and make their election within 60 days of their hire/eligibility date. Foreign scholars will be defaulted into TIAA.

The retirement plan election is a one-time opportunity. It is an irrevocable decision and cannot be changed at a later date.

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

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 or TIAA.  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.