Living Allowances

Living Allowances

Faculty sponsors and departments that wish to provide a Visiting Scholar (VS) or Visiting Student Researcher (VSR) with UC Berkeley funding to supplement living expenses may do so. Per UCOP APM-430 policy, visitors are not eligible for salary or wages but may be provided with supplementary support in the form of a living allowance. These payments are reviewed and approved by the VSPA. 

A request for a living allowance may be made once the scholar’s appointment is approved in the VSPA Gateway system, the University Services Fee has been paid, and local residency has been confirmed by VSPA staff.

  • The Living Allowance Annual Maximum is $30,000. 
  • Payments must be scheduled to be paid during the scholar’s appointment dates via the BearBUY system; the travel/reimbursement system is not the appropriate system for stipend payments for visiting scholars and visiting student researchers.
  • Scholars or students must reside locally and have an active appointment. Confirmation of local residency in the Berkeley area must be received before a stipend will be issued.
  • Retroactive payments are not allowed, and written confirmation of the scholar’s local residency is required before approval is granted. Scholars who reside outside of the San Francisco Bay Area are not eligible for living allowances.
  • The limit for living allowances is $30,000 per appointment year. Requests for exceptions to the limit may be submitted in writing by submitting an exceptional request letter in Gateway. The letter must include the requested date, reason for the exception, and amount of living allowance, and be addressed to VSPA Senior Manager Cecilia Fura. 
  • Please allow for ample review time when submitting a request, and do not submit a request for payment on the same day.
  • Honorarium: Visiting Scholars may receive an honorarium which is a one-time payment granted in recognition of a special service or distinguished achievement for which propriety precludes setting a fixed price, such as a special lecture, participation in a workshop, panel discussion, or similar activities. This payment must be processed as a stipend through VSPA's Gateway system. 
Foreign Visiting Scholars and Visiting Student Researchers:
  • If the visiting scholar or visiting student researcher is a visa holder, we advise that they register with the GLACIER/Foreign Tax Compliance System. Foreign national visiting scholars and visiting student researchers will need a GLACIER record if the faculty host will provide them with a living allowance payment.
  • Under US tax regulations, stipends and travel paid to visiting scholars are considered taxable income to the scholar.  If you are a US citizen, we recommend that you consult a tax advisor to confirm the impact of these regulations on your individual tax situation. If you are a non-US citizen, we recommend that you consult with Glacier, the advisory firm engaged by the University of California
  • BRS Partners: For non-VSPA visitors (Staff Volunteer) on B Visas please refer to Glacier's website regarding payments for "usual academic activity" and UCOP's policy on honorariums. Please also refer to BIO's website on B Visas for further information.

If you do not currently have Disbursement Preparer access in Gateway, your supervisor should send an email request to authorizing the access. New users can refer to our stipend user guide for assistance.

Changes to approved living allowance request payment schedules or amounts may be made by the BRS Human Resources partner before the request is approved. Once the request is approved, requested changes may be sent to and the VSPA will make the change.