The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has placed restrictions on the academic activities and personal lives of many students. GSAS continues to monitor the trajectory of the pandemic and will communicate with students as new information arises.
GSAS Dean Emma Dench has launched the Scholarship Restart Task Force, charged with finding ways to help GSAS students engage in their research more fully. Through this group, GSAS is convening University representatives to investigate opportunities for safely resuming the research enterprise and to develop plans for implementing those recommendations. Students currently have access to a number of important resources.
Harvard Library Resources
Harvard Library has restarted access to its physical collections and also offers GSAS students seamless access to many resources, whether they are on campus or a world away.
- Ask a librarian: Students may chat live with a Harvard reference librarian from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, make an appointment for a face to face consultation via Zoom or Skype, or send questions via email for a response within 24 hours.
- Borrow physical materials: GSAS students who live locally may borrow a physical copy of circulating items in Harvard’s collection by requesting a pick up from the item listing screen in HOLLIS. Students will receive an email when the book is ready—usually one to four days after request—with instructions for scheduling a pick up at Lamont Library.
- Scan and deliver: Make a request and Harvard Library will scan the section of the book that you need and send it via email. Need to explore something from the archives or special collections? Librarians will scan most items on demand. Students can also browse the more than six million digitized items in the Harvard Digital Collections.
- Lean Library enables students to seamlessly access digital content from journals, publications, and services to which Harvard subscribes. The extension is free to download and compatible with all major browsers.
- Digital course reserves allow teaching fellows to line up course readings through their Canvas site. Students may then log on and get access to an electronic version of the reading for two hours.
- Virtual Media Lab: The Lamont Media Lab offers remote help with video, podcasting, Zoom, data visualization, editing software, virtual reality, and more. Students may connect to their virtual help desk Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Media Lab staff are also available for consultations by appointment.
- Virtual browsing enables students to research in a less structured and directed way. By searching for a title on HOLLIS and scrolling down to “Shelf View,” students may see the other books on the shelf where the title is stored.
GSAS students needing to travel for their research may now petition the University for permission. Learn more about the policy and the petition process on Harvard’s travel guidance page.
Please note that all University-related travel, both international and domestic, is prohibited until further notice and should not be planned or scheduled at this time. Harvard also strongly discourages personal travel, both international and domestic. Students with traveling fellowships should contact your GSAS financial aid officer or the Harvard center or office that is providing your funding (such as the Committee on General Scholarships, WCFIA, etc) to discuss current and future options.
SEAS and FAS Science Research Reboot
If you are in an FAS, lab-based science graduate program, you can read guidance for the FAS Division of Science and SEAS communities around COVID-19, including an FAQ. GSAS students in graduate programs based at other Harvard Schools should follow local guidance.
If you are experiencing a financial hardship that is making it difficult for you to access the resources you need for your studies, contact your financial aid officer.
International Stipend and Tax Information
Harvard University has partnered with Western Union Global Pay to send stipend payments to international students who do not have access to a US bank account during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stipends will be automatically set up with Western Union for students who meet the following criteria:
- Are not US citizens or permanent residents;
- Have not signed up for direct deposit with a US bank account; and
- Do not have a current US address listed as their Physical Address in the my.Harvard student registration system.
Things to note if you will be paid via Western Union wire transfer:
- Watch your inbox for an email from Western Union within 10 days of the stipend pay date (typically sooner).
- Once you have set up your banking information with Western Union, you can expect the funds to be sent to your bank within three business days.
- Western Union will send a second confirmation email once the transaction has been processed.
- You only need to provide banking information once; subsequent payments will be processed using the same bank account.
- Since your Student Account will be used to send your stipend to Western Union, you will see these monthly actions reflected on your account as:
- Credit displayed as "Payroll Deduction — Int'l"
- Debit displayed as " Refund — Stipend via WU”
- Your net stipend amount may be impacted by currency conversion and bank fees. The conversion rate will be based on the rate in effect on the day that Western Union initiates the payment to you. Your bank may also charge a fee for the transaction. You may request reimbursement of these fees from GSAS; details will be made available later in the fall.
- When reviewing your pay records in the University’s PeopleSoft human resources management system, you will see:
- "Pay Amount" of $0
- "After-Tax Deductions" information which indicates "Stipend out of Ctry Deduction" in the amount of the net stipend disbursement
Typically, international student stipends are taxed based on their country’s tax treaty with the US. Students who have already received stipend payments may have noticed that taxes were assessed based on this policy. Harvard is reviewing US policies to determine if changes will be made regarding taxation of international student stipends this fall. We will be in touch as soon as we have information to share.
GLACIER Tax Compliance System
You may have recently received an email from Harvard about the GLACIER tax compliance system. International students who will not be in the US in the fall do not need to enter information into GLACIER at this time; international students coming into the US at this time will need to enter their information into GLACIER prior to arrival.
Learning and Research
Harvard University has collected remote resources that can help you throughout the academic year. Check out Remote Resources for help with teaching, learning, and researching remotely. And if you need new or additional accommodations for the online learning environment, contact the Accessible Education Office.
What you do outside academics matters more than ever. Check out Engage, GSAS’s student events platform, and learn about events to attend and student groups to join! You can also visit Harvard’s socialize remotely page for more ways to connect.
When socializing, please follow Massachusetts physical distancing measures and your local community guidance. Harvard has restricted campus access to students and personnel who are authorized to be on campus and who are undergoing frequent viral testing.
International students with visa questions should reach out to the Harvard International Office.
We understand that caring for others (children, partners, or other family members) may bring additional stress during this time. Students with families can visit the Academic Resource Center for tips on learning and working remotely with a family. We also encourage you to connect with the Harvard GSAS Student Parents Association, see what families resources are available, and connect with the Office of Student Services to assist you.
If you are teaching this academic year, the Bok Center is a tremendous resource for remote teaching support. You can also check out Harvard’s teaching remotely and the FAS Academic Policy for Remote Instruction pages.