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Graduate School

Graduate Students: Health Insurance Update

Dear Graduate Student Community,

In May, we announced that, starting Fall 2021, we will offer fully subsidized health insurance for all full-time PhD students and graduate assistants who elect to receive the student health plan. This support is made possible through a collaborative effort on the part of the academic deans, the Graduate School, the Provost’s Office, and UofSC strategic funds.

This summer, a working group comprised of representatives from the Bursar’s Office, the Graduate School, the Provost’s Office, and University Health Services met to discuss the implementation process. The purpose of this memo is to update you on that process.

As in previous years, all graduate students enrolled in six credit hours or more, all international graduate students, and all graduate assistants will be billed the mandatory health insurance cost unless they provide proof of satisfactory insurance coverage through the waiver process by the September 10th deadline. Students will not need to apply for the subsidy. Eligible students will be identified via an automated process based on the required minimum number of hours for full-time enrollment.

As a reminder, this includes:

o All PhD students not covered by an assistantship who are registered for at least nine credit hours

o All graduate assistants (e.g., GTAs, GRAs, GIAs) who are registered for at least six credit hours

o All PhD students approved for z-status who are registered for at least one credit hour. Note: PhD students who have been approved for Special Enrollment/Z-Status and are not in one of the categories for the mandatory billing will need to enroll in the Voluntary Student Health Plan using the link for z-status on the student health insurance website.

The following additional notes are provided in response to some frequently asked questions:

  1. This subsidy is only available for students enrolled in degree programs housed under the purview of the Graduate School on the Columbia campus. After the open enrollment period ends on September 10, 2021, students will not be eligible to receive student health insurance until the next semester.

  2. Doctoral students in clinically-based or practice-based professional degree programs (e.g., EdD, DPT, DNP) and master’s students must be hired as graduate assistants in order to receive the university health insurance subsidy.

  3. Fellowship recipients must meet the criteria for full-time PhDs (including z-status) or Graduate Assistants, as described above, in order to receive the university health insurance subsidy.

Any further questions or concerns may be directed to

Thank You!



Tracey L. Weldon
Interim Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for Graduate Education

Stephen Cutler
Interim Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs

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