Frequently Asked Questions

1. My mentor told me that I have been selected for an appointment. When will I receive notification from ORISE?
ORISE will send an appointment letter once authorization is received and the funding for the appointment is in place. See  Start of Appointment for more information. Your appointment is not guaranteed until ORISE issues your official appointment letter.

2. Can I move before I receive my appointment letter?
We strongly recommend against this. Your appointment is not guaranteed until ORISE issues your appointment letter. If you are in a program which allows reimbursement for relocation costs, no costs will be reimbursed if incurred before the date indicated on your appointment letter.

3. Can I change the start date of my appointment?
Some programs have set start and end dates while other programs offer flexible start and end dates. Check with your ORISE program coordinator for the specifics of your program. Please notify ORISE immediately if your expected start date is different from what is specified in your appointment letter.

4. I need to end my appointment early. What should I do?
You should immediately notify your mentor and the ORISE program coordinator of your new end date. ORISE will notify you of any paperwork that needs to be completed before your final payment will be released. See  End of Appointment for more information.

5. What acknowledgement do I need to put on my posters and publications?
All published reports, journal articles, or professional presentations that rely on the activities conducted during your participation should carry an acknowledgment such as: “This project was supported in part by an appointment to the Science Education Programs at National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), administered by ORAU through the U.S. Department of Energy Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education.” Be sure to check with your ORISE program coordinator as some programs require specific acknowledgement statements.

6. How many days of leave do I have?
Non-employee participants do not earn annual or medical leave. Only certain programs permit time off – it’s best to check with the ORISE program coordinator. All absences must be approved in advance by your mentor and your ORISE program coordinator.

Participants should not be present at NETL on NETL holidays. These do not count against personal days, nor will they result in a decrease in stipend. Some programs may permit additional time off on a case-by-case basis as an unpaid absence. Extended time off for serious illness, emergencies, etc., will be unpaid and will require mentor and ORISE program coordinator approval. You must notify ORISE in advance of any unpaid absences.

7. It’s snowing! Do I have to report to NETL?
You should not report to NETL when the facility is closed for weather, holidays, emergencies, etc. Such closures will not affect your stipend. You should have an alternate way to contact your mentor for guidance as to whether to report to NETL.

8. It’s February. Why haven’t I received a 1099 form from ORAU?
Since NETL participants are not employees or contractors (and receive stipends, not wages), they do not receive W-2 or 1099 forms. We do send a Statement of Payments that you may use in preparing your tax return. Some foreign nationals, depending upon their tax treaty status, will receive 1042-S forms from ORISE. For more information on the tax implications of stipends, please see  Payment Information.

It is important to notify ORISE of any changes to your mailing address, even after your appointment has ended, so that you will receive this information.

9. Can you tell me how much funding is left in my travel budget?
We can, upon request, let you know how much travel funding remains. All travel expenditures, regardless of budgeted amounts, must be approved by your mentor and mentor supervisor.

10. Can I defer payments on my student loans while I am a participant in the ORISE program?
You may be able to defer your student loan payments since you are a participant in an educational program. Please contact your lender to obtain the necessary forms, and send them to your ORISE program coordinator. We will verify your appointment for the lender.

11. What should I do to change my banking information?
You will need to fill out a new Authorization Agreement for EFT and submit it to your ORISE program coordinator.

12. Can I be reimbursed for printing posters or other materials?
All printing must be done through NETL and cannot be reimbursed by ORISE. If additional copies of printed materials are needed while on travel status, you must contact Travel for specific procedures that must be followed.

13. I won first place in a conference poster session, and was awarded a $100 cash prize! Can I keep the money?
In most cases, yes, you may accept awards and prizes. However this may be different for foreign nationals depending on immigration visa type.

14. Can I serve my appointment from home?
All appointments must be served at NETL or an NETL-approved facility.

15.  I participate 40 hours a week. Can I participate more than 40 hours a week to make up time prior to a vacation so I can continue to be paid?
Unfortunately no, you can only participate 40 hours a week. You may not make up hours missed before or after your time away from research in order to be paid the same amount while out.

16.   Is this an employment opportunity?
This program is a non-employment program. You will participating in the assigned program solely for the educational benefit it provides.  Your assigned project should not include activities that are reserved for federal employees nor should it require you to perform inherently governmental functions such as:  supervise or mentor federal employees or federal contractor staff, hire or fire anyone; have budget, program management, or signature authority; carry an official job title; or function in any way as a representative of the federal government. 

17. I don’t see the answer to my question here, who can I contact?
Every program has a coordinator who can answer your questions. Alternatively, contact us.