Students who need assistance in funding their graduate education should consider the possibility of a graduate assistantship. Students who are awarded an assistantship receive a stipend, plus a tuition waiver, during their appointment. Typical assignments might be teaching introductory classes, working as lab or research assistants, or serving in specific administrative offices of the University.
All graduate students who wish to participate in a graduate assistantship must meet the requirements according to the specified guidelines. There may be significant differences between an assistantship during the academic year and a summer assistantship.
Application for a Graduate Assistantship
All graduate assistantship appointments are subject to the approval of the School of Graduate Studies. To apply for a graduate assistantship, students must complete the following:
- Be admitted to a master’s degree program in the School of Graduate Studies
- Seek out graduate assistantship positions that are currently available or will become available for the following academic year (see the School of Graduate Studies website for more details).
- Apply directly to the department or program chair for a graduate assistantship. Application materials must include a cover letter clearly indicating the applicant's intentions, a current resume, recommendation letters, and unofficial transcripts. Applicants must follow the application process designated by the assistantship supervisor/contact person (see the School of Graduate Studies website for more details).
- The Nature of the Appointment
Students appointed to graduate assistantships shall be employed to perform specific professional assignments such as assisting with an educational project, teaching or research. The maximum number of clock hours for full-time graduate assistants is fourteen (14) hours per week. The minimum number of clock hours a full-time graduate assistant may work per week is seven and one-half (7 1/2). The maximum number of hours a half-time graduate assistant may work is seven (7) hours. Graduate assistants whose primary assignment is instruction shall teach no more than four (4) credit hours per semester. If the graduate assistantship is for a purpose other than those professional assignments listed above, approval must be received before an appointment is made by the Dean, School of Graduate Studies.
All reappointments are contingent upon satisfying all academic progress requirements and the availability of funding. In addition, each department/program/area may have requirements regarding assistantship renewal in addition to the academic requirements contained in the current graduate bulletin.
- Academic Criteria
All graduate students who have been admitted to graduate studies for the purpose of pursuing course work that will normally lead to a master's degree are eligible for consideration. A 2.75 undergraduate cumulative grade point average (GPA), or the equivalent, is required for all programs of study except Education, Environmental Studies, and Special Education, require an undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0. In addition, some departments/projects may require minimum score on the Graduate Record Examination and/or a personal interview or other evaluative measures for consideration for an assistantship. Students who have been "provisionally" admitted to graduate studies may not be eligible for a graduate assistantship until all provisions attached to admission have been satisfied. All provisionally admitted graduate students receiving an assistantship will be reviewed each semester for continuation. A provisionally admitted student may not fall below a 3.00 GPA. Graduate students who have previously been awarded a master's degree are eligible for consideration if readmitted for the purpose of pursuing either a second designation or an additional master's degree.
- Submission of Appointment Form
Departments/programs are required to submit the Graduate Assistant Appointment Form, provided by the School of Graduate Studies, no later than the tenth instructional day of the semester in which the appointment becomes effective if students are to receive full compensation.
- Resident Tuition Status
Graduate assistants will receive in-state resident tuition status. Students appointed to graduate assistant positions are considered residents of Minnesota for the purpose of determining tuition during the period of the appointment.
The stipend for full-time graduate assistants (six  credits per semester) is $8,500 for the academic year (two  semesters). This amount will be equally allocated during each semester (20 pay periods). Assistantships are financed out of the general University budget, department funds, or external grants. Some departments may offer additional stipends and tuition waivers based on non-University funding. Contact individual departments for more information. Full-time graduate assistants shall be paid at the rate of approximately $425 per pay period regardless of the funding source (some graduate assistant positions are TAXABLE; for specifics about your position, contact Marilyn Lanners at firstname.lastname@example.org). Please note: Due to a change in BSU accounting system, payroll checks for graduate assistants will be direct deposited. If this is not workable, checks will be mailed directly to their permanent address.
- Tuition Award
During the academic year, full-time graduate assistants whose funding is provided by the University will receive a tuition waiver of six (6) graduate semester credits for the Fall semester and six (6) graduate semester credits for Spring semester, equaling a total of 12 semester hours of graduate credit available per academic year. Half-time graduate assistants will receive a total tuition award of six (6) graduate semester hours over the entire academic year (3 for Fall; 3 for Spring). Summer graduate assistants will receive a tuition waiver of three (3) graduate credits for the entire summer. The tuition award shall apply to graduate course work only. There is no carry-over of a tuition wavier from one academic year to the next.
Attention: Effective January 1, 1995, universities may need to add the value of all graduate tuition waivers to the employees' TAXABLE income. If it is determined that the tuition waiver for a particular Assistantship is taxable, the dollar value of the graduate tuition waiver will need to be added to the student's paycheck. Taxes will be taken on the tuition waiver amount, including Federal, State, and FICA. The value of the waiver will be divided over as many paychecks as possible each semester to lessen the tax burden on each paycheck. The value of the waiver WILL be included in the student's taxable earnings on their W-2 for the year. If there are questions about this process please contact Marilyn Lanners (email@example.com).
- Additional Credits/Student Fees
Graduate students are required to pay tuition for all semester hours beyond the tuition waiver and are responsible for the payment of all student fees. LATE FEES WILL BE ASSESSED and are the responsibility of the student.
- Graduate Assistantships with Other Forms of Financial Aid
While the School of Graduate Studies designates that 6 credit hours per semester is a full-time load for graduate assistants, the Financial Aid office recognizes that federal loans are based on a load of 9 credit hours per semester. If graduate students wish to receive financial assistance beyond a graduate assistantship, they will need to complete nine (9) credit hours per semester for a full-time load and no less than (5) credit hours per semester for a half-time load to remain eligible for additional financial aid. Please note: Funding from graduate assistantships can affect student loan eligibility. Students seeking need-based loans from the University's financial aid office for additional costs may find the total amount they can borrow reduced by the tuition assistance of their graduate assistantship.
- Health Insurance
Graduate assistants are not covered by the University's faculty, staff and administrative insurance policies. Student health insurance is a required condition of enrollment at BSU. Please refer to the Insurance section of the Student Center for Health and Counseling website for additional information.
Graduate assistants do not contribute to the Teacher's Retirement Fund.
- Social Security
Graduate Assistants are not covered by Social Security.
- Other Employment at BSU
While graduate students participate in a graduate assistantship, they are not eligible to work in other departments or positions on campus unless it is part of their current assistantship position (e.g. the assistantship time is split between two offices, but the student receives only one total award). This excludes departments run by off-campus companies, such as food services and the BSU book store.
Academic Progress Requirements
- Minimum Semester Hours
The minimum course load to be carried by a full-time graduate assistant is six (6) graduate credits. Additional credits taken in any given semester may NOT be carried forward to satisfy minimum requirements in other semesters, except for a graduate assistant who has completed all course work but has not completed the research project or thesis. In all such cases, however, the department chair or program director is required to provide the School of Graduate Studies with the intended period of time that an assistantship is to be retained. Approval of all such assistantships is subject to approval by the Dean, School of Graduate Studies.
- Cumulative Grade Point Average
A 3.00 GPA ("B" average) must be maintained for all course work attempted. Graduate assistants that do not satisfy the minimum requirements will receive one additional semester to satisfy any deficiency.
- Incomplete and In-progress Courses
Graduate assistants are not permitted to carry forward more than three (3) semester credits of incomplete ("I") or in progress ("IP") grade designations from a prior semester or summer, with the exception of thesis, research paper, or internship/practicum credits. Students who have satisfied all course work requirements, with the exception of research paper or thesis credits, should contact the School of Graduate Studies regarding the minimum semester hours and grade point average requirements.
- Any failure to satisfy these academic requirements, or the falsification of any information, may result in the termination of the GA appointment.
For more information on Graduate Assistantship positions, visit the School of Graduate Studies website.
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