Funding Options

Cardinal Care Subsidy

The University’s Cardinal Care student health insurance plan is managed by the Vaden Health Center.  The Financial Aid Office administers an automatic University-wide subsidy program for Graduate students.

The annual cost of Cardinal Care for the 2020-2021 academic year is $5,928. The annual plan, which runs from September 1 through August 31, includes coverage in Summer quarter (whether you are registered that quarter or not). See Cardinal Care Overview and Benefits for information about the plan.  Students with questions may contact Vaden's health insurance office at 650-723-2135 or submit a Service Request

Stanford subsidizes the Cardinal Care premium for graduate students funded by Research or Teaching Assistantships, and for graduate students receiving an equivalent level of fellowship support.  Vaden provides information about the charges you will see on your university bill, as well as an example of the Cardinal Care Subsidy, by quarter, based on when your enrollment begins at Stanford on their website for cost and coverage dates.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Enrolled graduate students
  • Have not waived Cardinal Care Health Insurance, and
  • Do not have an outside fellowship paying the full cost of health insurance

Level of Subsidy

Required Support per quarter to qualify for the subsidy

$ amount 2020-2021


Research or Teaching Assistantship of 25% (10 hours per week) or more, or fellowship providing non-tuition stipend at or above the minimum level for a 25% assistantship ($5,724 for 2020-21).

$988 per quarter


Research or Teaching Assistantship of less than 25%, or fellowship providing non-tuition stipend at or above the minimum level for a 10% assistantship ($2,289.60 for 2020-21).

$494 per quarter

Students not meeting the above criteria are not eligible for a Cardinal Care subsidy. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Will eligibility be determined on an annual or quarterly basis?
    Eligibility will be determined each quarter based on the financial assistance received for that quarter. The subsidy is paid on a quarterly basis. To be eligible, aid must be entered by your department by the first payroll deadline each quarter.

  2. When will the subsidy appear on my account?
    The subsidy payment will be applied to your student account as soon as the qualifying financial aid (e.g., the fellowship or assistantship appointment) is approved.  It will appear as "anticipated aid" until the start of the quarter and until you have enrolled in the appropriate level of units (typically full-time).  The subsidy may be withdrawn entirely or amounts adjusted if your financial support is withdrawn or reduced prior to the first payroll deadline each quarter (usually the third week of the quarter).

  3. Do graduate students who are employed in jobs that pay hourly wages qualify for this subsidy?
    No. Graduate students will qualify for the Cardinal Care subsidy if they have either a Research or Teaching Assistantship (an CA/RA or TA appointment) or an equivalent level of fellowship.  Other student jobs on campus will not qualify the student for the Cardinal Care subsidy.

  4. Are co-term graduate students eligible for this subsidy?
    Yes, if the co-term student has reached graduate student status (i.e., earned 180 units) and meets all other eligibility requirements. Co-term students still receiving undergraduate need-based aid will not be eligible for the subsidy.

  5. How does Cardinal Care subsidy work during the Summer?
    If you are enrolled in Cardinal Care during the academic year you will automatically be enrolled in Cardinal Care for Summer quarter at no additional cost (whether you are enrolled as a student in the Summer or not). Since there is no charge posted for Cardinal Care during Summer quarter, a corresponding Cardinal Care subsidy is not applied in Summer quarter.

  6. Do I have to apply to receive a Cardinal Care health insurance subsidy?
    No. All graduate students enrolled in Cardinal Care and who qualify for the subsidy will automatically receive the subsidy for which they are eligible as soon as their qualifying aid has been approved. In order for the payment to be applied, you must be enrolled in at least 8 units, be enrolled in a TGR course, or have been approved for part-time status by the Registrar’s Office for the quarter (Autumn, Winter, or Spring).

  7. What happens if I enroll in Cardinal Care late?
    If you enroll in Cardinal Care after the deadline due to a Qualifying Life Event, and you otherwise qualify for the subsidy, you may be eligible. You will need to request a review by emailing before the end of the quarter in question and after the Cardinal Care charge has been applied to your student account.

  8. I didn’t get the subsidy during the academic year, but now I have support for Summer quarter.  Can I be considered?
    If you would qualify for the subsidy for Summer quarter based on your assistantship or fellowship support for Summer, but you have no health insurance charge for Summer, and there was a quarter during the same academic year when you had a charge but no subsidy, you may still be eligible to receive a subsidy.  You would need to have been enrolled for that prior quarter.  If all of your Cardinal Care charges from prior quarters within the same academic year were paid by subsidy, fellowship, department, or other funding sources (i.e. not paid out of pocket), you would not be eligible for an additional subsidy based on your Summer assistantship or fellowship support.  To request a review for eligibility, please send an email to
Updated on May 18, 2021 2:19 PM