Graduate assistantships (GAs) are awarded by a department - 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. Assistantships are normally granted for a 25% or a 50% appointment.
- Current minimum graduate assistantship stipends amounts will be set by the Graduate School at the beginning of each fiscal year.
- 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. 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 2019) 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, starting January 1, 2019, 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 .
- If selected the student will receive an assistantship offer letter as well as an Graduate Assistant Agreement and Acceptance form from the department.
- 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.
- 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.
- It should also be noted that those students who hold a Distinguished Doctoral or Doctoral Academy Fellowship with a graduate assistantship are not expected to teach during the summer, unless this has been approved in advance.
- 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.
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 four 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 eight 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 ten 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.