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Graduate School

Health Insurance Subsidy

The Provost’s Office, Graduate School and Colleges have partnered to provide health insurance coverage for full-time PhD students and students hired as graduate assistants on the USC Columbia campus. Eligible students will receive a health insurance subsidy as a credit added to their Fall and Spring Bursar statements to cover the full cost of the University Student Health Insurance Plan  premiums if they enroll in the plan by the final enrollment date each semester.

Fall 2024:         June 3 - September 9

Spring 2025:   November 4 - February 3         
**Spring coverage includes Summer

How do graduate students enroll in the University Student Health Insurance?

The majority of graduate students are required to have insurance coverage and are automatically enrolled in the mandatory insurance plan when they register for classes. Students who are not covered by the mandatory requirements must enroll voluntarily in the student health insurance plan if they want the coverage. Please refer to the mandatory and voluntary enrollment information outlined on the Graduate School's Health Insurance webpage.


Who is eligible for the health insurance subsidy?

Full-time PhD* students

Full-time enrollment for PhD students includes one of the following:

  • 9 credit hours for incoming or continuing graduate students
  • 6 credit hours for students hired as Graduate Assistants (GAs) for the current term
  • 1 credit hour for students approved for Z-Status for the current term

*Degree must be PhD.    Due to budgetary concerns, non-PhD doctoral students are not currently eligible for the subsidy unless hired as graduate assistants.

Graduate Assistants

Non-PhD graduate students must meet both of the following criteria:

  • Fully hired in a graduate assistantship position (e.g., Research, Teaching, Instructional, Athletic, Resident Hall, etc).
  •  Enrolled in at least 6 credit hours (or 1-5 hours if approved for Z-status for the current term)


How and when is the health insurance subsidy applied?

Registering for required course hours and GA hiring determine when the mandatory insurance and the subsidy are applied to student Bursar accounts each semester. Once you meet the eligibility requirements described above and the Health Insurance Fee has been added to your Bursar account, the Bursar’s Office will manually add the health insurance subsidy as a credit to your statement.

Fall subsidies apply to insurance coverage from August 1 to December 31; Spring subsidies apply to insurance coverage from January 1 to July 31.

Summer subsidies are not available for new students who begin coursework in the Summer term. However, the voluntary insurance plan is available for students who enroll by the June 1 deadline. Students must pay the insurance company directly.  

How do I verify eligibility for a specific term?

The best indicator that eligibility is met for a specific term is that the health insurance subsidy shows on your tuition bill as a credit. However, if the health insurance fee and/or subsidy has not yet been applied to your Bursar statement, you should verify that enrollment, GA hiring and/or Z-Status is appropriate for your situation.

  • Please allow 3-5 business days for insurance fee and subsidy to show on your Bursar statement after all of your eligibility steps are in place.
    • Registering for full-time course hours (9 for general students, 6 for GAs, 1 for Z-Status)
    • GA hiring was initiated by the department (if applicable)
    • Submitting a Z-Status application (if applicable)
    • Enrolling voluntarily in the insurance plan through the AHP Z-Status portal (only applies to Z-Status PhDs who are US Citizens)
  • Verify in that you are actively enrolled in the appropriate credit hours for the current semester.

  •  Verify “Student Type” coding at the top of your Academic Transcript reflects the appropriate Graduate Assistant and/or Special Enrollment (Z-Status) indication for your situation. If either is missing or you are unsure of your status:
    • Contact your hiring department to determine that your graduate assistantship hiring process is underway in the HR system and has not been returned for additional documentation.
    • Contact your program office to determine if your Z-Status application (including signatures, enrollment and approved Program of Study) was submitted for the current term. Reapply if the current term is not listed on your previous application.

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