Graduate assistantships (GAs) are awarded by a department on 50% assistantships, students work up to 20 hours per week (in research, or other areas) or teach up to two 3 credit hour courses for the department in exchange for tuition benefits plus a stipend, paid directly to the student. Students on 25% assistantships will work up to 10 hours per week and will be classified as in-state for tuition purposes.
Current minimum graduate assistantship stipends amounts will be set by the Graduate
School at the beginning of each fiscal year.
Degree FY22 Masters 11,250 MFA 13,500 Doctoral 13,500 Effective August 16, 2021
Degree FY22 Masters 15,000 MFA 18,000 Doctoral 18,000 Effective August 16, 2021
- Graduate assistants appointed to at least a 25% position will be classified as in-state students for tuition purposes. Graduate assistants appointed to a least a 50% position will be classified as in-state students for tuition purposes AND will have in-state tuition waived, and will have 67% of their health insurance premium paid Miscellaneous fees (activity fees, college fees, etc.), books, housing and other expenses are the responsibility of the graduate student.
- Tuition waivers are submitted each semester by the department on behalf of the assistants and cover in-state graduate tuition for up to 15 hours in fall and spring semesters. If the student is appointed as a GA in the summer, the tuition waiver covers up to 6 hours for one five-week session, 9 hours for one ten-week session or two five–week sessions.
- Financial aid is typically disbursed (Financial Aid Disbursement Spring 2021) the week before classes begin. All tuition waivers must be submitted by the fifth day of classes in the spring/fall semesters and by the second day of classes in the summer.
- As an additional benefit to students on assistantships, the University of Arkansas pays a portion of student health insurance for those students eligible for health insurance. Students are responsible for the remainder of the premium. Miscellaneous fees and insurance premiums may be payroll-deducted.
Please be aware that, any tuition waivers over $5,250/year will be taxable for graduate assistants whose duties do not involve teaching or research. The definitions of teaching and research are:
- Teaching: For University tax purposes, teaching activities may include, but are not limited to the following: providing or coordinating classroom and/or creative instruction, including lab or discussion sessions; tutoring students; providing academic coaching or counseling; grading tests and assignments; developing instructional materials; accompanying /coaching musical or vocal performances; proctoring exams.
- Research: For University tax purposes, research activities may include but are not limited to the following examples of applying and mastering research concepts, practices, or methods of scholarship: preparing literature reviews or monographs, conducting experiments; preparing, coding, analyzing or administering surveys or other research instruments; organizing or analyzing data; presenting findings; collaborating with others in preparing publications; conducting institutional research for an academic or administrative unit.
Qualifications & Application
- To qualify for an assistantship, graduate students must be regularly admitted into the graduate school and accepted into a graduate degree or certificate program.
- Successful applicants must have good academic records, adequate preparation for graduate study in their major field, regular admission to the graduate school, and must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.85 on all work taken for graduate credit, although some departments may require their graduate assistants to maintain a higher grade point average.
- A graduate assistantship application should be submitted directly to the department or unit. A list of open graduate assistant positions may also be found on the Human Resources website .
- Students on a 50% graduate assistantship must enroll in a minimum of 6 hours and are not allowed to work more than 20 hours/week. Students on a 25% graduate assistantship must enroll in a minimum of 9 hours and are not allowed to work more than 10 hours/week.
- Students are not allowed to hold an assistantship greater than 50% without the approval of the graduate school. Exceptions are typically available for one semester only.
- Students are not allowed to be paid hourly on top of a 50% graduate assistantship without the approval of the Graduate School; students on a 25% graduate assistantship cannot be paid hourly without the approval of the Graduate School and cannot be paid hourly by the unit who pays their assistantship.
- Graduate school approval is required for the waiver to pay undergraduate hours, audited hours, hours outside of the program, and hours above the maximum. Departments have the discretion to limit a waiver to the minimum number of hours required by the assistantship.
- International students who will be interacting with students in a teaching or tutorial rule are required to pass English language requirements for both speaking and writing. Current requirements are given in the graduate catalog. All international students are required to enroll in U of A health insurance.
GA Start and End Dates
- In order to comply with federal tax law and immigration regulations, the Graduate School will monitor the start and end dates for Graduate Assistants.
- Twelve month graduate assistantships may begin employment on July 1 (if enrolled for at least three hours in Summer II) or one week before classes begin in the fall or spring semester, at the discretion of the unit paying the stipend.
- Students may be appointed to a graduate assistantship and qualify for a tuition waiver if they begin work by the start of the second eight-week term each Fall and Spring semester. No student shall be appointed to a graduate assistantships for the semester beyond that date.
A graduating Graduate Assistant can no longer be a GA when they are no longer a student (rule
of thumb is, GA=student). Therefore, the graduating GA’s employment must be ended
according to the following windows:
- If a GA is graduating in Fall 2021, their employment may be ended no earlier than December 18, 2021 AND no later than December 31, 2021.
- If a GA is graduating in Spring 2022, their employment must end on May 15, 2022.
If a GA is graduating in Summer 2022, their employment must end no later than August 7, 2022.
- If you have a 9-month GA who was appointed in Summer I and is not working past Summer I, their employment may be ended earlier
- If the Graduate Assistant is an international student, please encourage the student to check with International Students and Scholars Office to ensure visa compliance
- If a Graduate Assistant is not graduating and is continuing as a student between semesters, no action needs to be taken. Students who are not graduating can continue to work as a GA, following the normal requirements of enrollment (minimum of 3 hours in summer/6 hours in Fall and Spring).
Limits on Number of Appointments to a Graduate Assistantship
- Students pursuing a master’s degree may receive financial support as a graduate assistant for no more than six semesters, excluding summer appointments. (Note: Some departments or programs may have higher requirements.)
- Students pursuing post-master’s degrees may receive financial support as a graduate assistant for no more than ten semesters beyond the master’s degree, excluding summer appointments.
- Students pursuing a doctoral degree beginning with the baccalaureate degree may receive financial support as a graduate assistant for no more than twelve semesters beyond the baccalaureate degree.
Petitions for exceptions to these rules may be made by the department/program to the Graduate School.
Resignation or Termination
A graduate assistant who resigns or is terminated from an assistantship appointment, but who remains enrolled, will be required to pay a pro-rated portion of the university tuition and fees.
Graduate Assistant Forms
Council of Graduate Schools April 15 Resolution
The University of Arkansas is a signatory of the Council of Graduate Schools' April 15 Resolution. Any offer of financial support made prior to April 15 to accept it and the program should honor that commitment through April 15.
Starting in Fall 2020, applicants are no longer required to obtain a formal release from the program whose offer they accepted, either before or after the April 15 deadline. Once they have informed the program that they are withdrawing their acceptance of the offer, then they can accept any other offers.