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Frequently Asked Questions

ARS field research

Are stipend payments considered taxable by the U.S. Federal government?
Yes.  All stipend payments and housing allowances are considered taxable and should be reported annually.  Stipend payments are not considered wages and should not be reported as such. Participants that will have no tax withheld by ORAU from their payments should consider filing Form 1040-ES on a quarterly basis and pay estimated Federal income taxes to avoid being out of compliance with Federal regulations about the timeliness of tax payments. ORAU does not withhold taxes or report stipend payments to the Internal Revenue Service. This statement is provided for information purposes only.  It is not intended as legal or tax advice, or a definitive interpretation of the law. Participants are advised to consult a tax professional.

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Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to participate in ARS Postdoctoral Research Program?
Non-citizens with appropriate immigration statuses are eligible for most ARS appointments; a few ARS research projects may require U.S. citizenship for security reasons. For more information on eligible immigration statuses, please see Guidelines for Non-U.S. Citizens.

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Do I need to have my degree completed before I apply, or can I apply if I am earning it within a few months?
If you anticipate receiving your degree shortly, then you may apply. If you are selected, you will be required to show proof of degree completion before beginning the appointment.

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How long will my appointment last?
Postdoctoral appointments are for one year, and can be extended for up to four additional years.  The extension of the appointment will be subject to satisfactory progress toward completion of the project assignments, and availability of funds. ARS reserves the right not to extend an appointment or to terminate an appointment if you fail to meet any of the terms and conditions of the appointment.

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Can I send the application materials in separately (application, CV, transcript, etc.)?
The application form and CV should be sent together as email attachments.  Transcripts may be sent via email, postal mail or fax.

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A new project is available after I submitted my application, and I would like to be considered for it also. Do I need to submit a new application?
If you have previously applied for another research opportunity at ARS through ORISE, you do not need to submit a new application. E-mail us at usda-ars@orau.org and provide us with: 1) the number of the posting you had previously applied to, and 2) the new posting number that you would now like to be considered for. We will send your application to the appropriate research groups.

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Do my transcripts need to be official?
You do not need to send official transcripts to be considered.  We will accept scans and faxes of official transcripts. However, if selected, you will need to provide proof of completion of a doctoral degree upon acceptance of the research appointment.

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How are participants selected?
Participants are selected by the project mentor at the ARS. ORISE staff will prescreen applications to ensure that all required materials have been received and that the participant has attained the required educational level, but are not otherwise involved in the selection process.

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How long does the application process take?
If you have applied for a specific project, the ARS mentor for that project will determine how long applications will be accepted and how long the review process will take. Once the mentor has selected a candidate, there are several steps that must be completed before the candidate can receive an appointment letter.

If you did not indicate a project number on your application materials, we will retain them on file for six months.

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Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of getting an appointment?
Please ensure that all of the necessary application materials have been received and that you have obtained the necessary educational qualifications. Successful applicants generally apply for a specific project. Please review the current opportunities that are available, and clearly indicate the posting number on your application materials.

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Are there opportunities at ARS through ORISE that are not posted on the ORISE website?
Yes; opportunities are available at Plum Island Animal Disease Center. We recommend that you also use other searching/networking processes to locate opportunities for guest research at the ARS. Federal employment positions for ARS are listed at USAJobs.gov.

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Contact ORISE
Get in touch with ORISE staff that can help.