Changing from Postdoctoral Associate to Postdoctoral Fellow

Health Insurance

A change in appointment title from postdoctoral associate to postdoctoral fellow changes your health plan options and rates, and could possibly change your options for choosing a primary care physician and specialists. If you are currently on MIT employee health insurance, that plan is still available but can not be subsidized by MIT, so your rates will increase. Postdoctoral fellows are eligible for affiliate/SHIP health insurance through MIT Health, and this may be subsidized by your fellowship or your PI. Your key administrative contact can work with you to determine if your fellowship covers health insurance premium payments, and/or if your PI will contribute to these payments.

  • Postdoctoral fellows appointed for at least 50% time, for at least three months, are eligible for MIT SHIP.

  • If participating in an MIT health plan as an associate, you may continue participating in that plan as a fellow. However, rates are much higher, because postdoctoral fellows are not eligible for MIT subsidized rates. Speak to your Postdoc Key Contact first.

    • To continue coverage: The Benefits Office must receive the Notice of Continuation within 31 days of beginning your postdoctoral fellow appointment.
    • Billing: You will be billed directly at your home address for the full 100% unsubsidized cost of the plan.
    • Additional information:
  • If you already have a non-MIT health insurance plan (for example, you are on your spouse’s plan), you could continue that plan. You may also enroll in a non-MIT plan for the first time, but the plan must meet federal requirements.

    • Enrollment and billing: Varies by company.
    • Additional information: Contact Mandy Chan in MIT HR (tel. 617-258-6215, or by email:

MIT Dental and Vision Plans

  • To continue coverage: The Benefits Office must receive the Notice of Continuation within 31 days of beginning your postdoctoral fellow appointment. Submit the form to Mandy Chan in NE49-5000, or by email:
  • To enroll for the first time: The Benefits Office must receive the Dental/Vision Enrollment/Change Form within 31 days of beginning your postdoctoral fellow appointment. Complete and sign that form, and submit it to Mandy Chan in NE49-5000, or by email: (In part 2, select “New Hire/Newly Eligible” and enter the effective the date of your postdoctoral fellow appointment or the first day of the following month.)
  • Billing: You will be billed directly at your home address. Some PIs assist with payment. Note: The Benefits Accounting Office generates a bill for the period of the appointment in that calendar year. Postdoctoral fellows who are paying the bill themselves can request a monthly bill instead.
  • Additional information:


If you participated in the MIT Pension Plan or 401(k) as a postdoctoral associate, contact the vendor to manage existing contributions. IRS regulations prohibit fellows from contributing to 401(k)s.

ID Cards

If you are not receiving your fellowship funds through MIT, and are not receiving any MIT funding, you must request a new MIT ID card from the Atlas Service Center within 14 days of your change in appointment.


If you currently park on campus, check with your departmental parking coordinator or the MIT Parking Office to see if any additional steps are required.

Childcare Scholarships

If you have a childcare scholarship, notify Kathy Kasabula of your change in appointment. The scholarship will continue, but the source of funding will change to the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Changes in Payroll/Tax Withholding

Direct Deposit Preferences

If your fellowship will be paid through MIT, confirm your direct deposit preferences in Atlas (go to About Me / Money Matters / Direct Deposit Preferences).

International Postdocs

Application of tax treaty coverage is not automatic, and your eligibility for tax treaty coverage may change when you become a postdoctoral fellow. When applicable, you must file a new tax treaty exemption claim.

Contact HR/Payroll ( for access to Sprintax, a system which can help you determine your tax treaty coverage. Include your name, date of appointment change, title, and MIT ID in your email.

Tax Withholding

Upon change to postdoctoral fellow status, you may no longer have taxes withheld from your pay. You may still be responsible for paying taxes, and postdoctoral fellows should consider making estimated state and federal tax payments as applicable. More information can be found at Tax Information

Changes Related to Visa Sponsorship

Visa Eligibility

Postdoctoral fellows are not eligible for H-1B visa sponsorship. MIT sponsors employment-based visas only for those scholars who are directly employed by the Institute. Review MIT visa sponsorship policies and speak to an advisor in the International Scholars Office

Updating Funding Information

If you hold a J-1 visa, it may be necessary to update the funding information on your DS- 2019. If you are the recipient of funding from your government, there may be additional implications, including becoming subject to the 2-year home residence requirement of the J-1 visa. Please contact the International Scholars Office for further details.