Graduate Student Handbook | Funding Your Research

Funding Your Research

Rules and Regulations Pertaining to Graduate Assistantships/Fellowships

  1. Graduate assistantships are intended to support graduate programs and students enrolled in such programs by providing formal training to students in professional activities related to teaching and research. To support consistent good practice in the treatment of graduate assistants and the allocation of graduate assistantships, the Graduate School has formally established the following policy guidelines concerning stipends, tuition, and workloads. Any variation from these policies must be recommended by the administrator of a graduate program and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School. The Graduate School retains the right and responsibility to terminate any assistantship which violates these policies.
  2. It is the policy of the University of Arkansas to promote graduate study by offering qualified students financial assistance via graduate assistantships without regard to race, color, sex, creed, sexual preference, or national origin. In addition, students qualifying for some Graduate Assistantships shall be further supported with the payment of non- resident tuition. In turn, Graduate Assistants make valuable contributions to the University’s teaching, research, and service programs.
  3. It is the duty of the University to administer its Graduate Assistantship program in a manner that: (1) insures that graduate students with such appointments will make satisfactory progress toward their graduate degrees; (2) insures that appointed students render appropriate service; (3) rewards the most diligent, dedicated, and qualified students; and (4) makes effective use of funds available to support graduate education.
  4. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the University to insure that: (1) all recipients of Graduate Assistantships progress toward completion of their programs in the most expeditious manner consistent with academic excellence; (2) all Graduate Assistants are treated equitably with regard to both their stipends and duties; and (3) in the administration of the foregoing, the University recognizes the diversities existing among programs within and among the departments and colleges of the University of Arkansas. In order to implement the spirit of the foregoing stated policy, the following rules and regulations shall be applied.
  1. Graduate Assistants may be assigned duties in the areas of teaching, research, and administrative assistance. The actual work requirements of a Graduate Assistant may consist of a combination of such duties, but must be designed to further the professional goals of the student. (See Appendix A for examples of duties in these areas.)
  2. Graduate Assistantships are normally granted for a 25% or a 50% appointment. Under unusual and extraordinary circumstances, appointments of a higher percentage may be requested in writing from the Dean of the Graduate School for a maximum of one semester.
  3. Work assignments involve 20 hours per week (50 percent appointment) or 10 hours per week (25 percent appointment) as defined by immediate supervisor; or serving as the instructor of record for a maximum of two 3-hour courses. Additional work may be done by the student for his/her own research
  4. For each assistantship appointment, the Graduate Assistant must perform assigned duties and make satisfactory progress toward the graduate degree. Satisfactory progress includes: 1) earning at least 6 (or 9, if on a 25% appointment) credit hours per semester (for summer sessions, see Enrollment Guidelines) (all degree-related registration, including thesis or dissertation, counts toward this requirement), and 2) maintaining a cumulative GPA of at least 2.85 on all work taken for graduate credit. (Departmental standards may be higher than those listed here.)
  5. A 50% appointed Graduate Assistant must earn a minimum of 6 credit hours and may register for a maximum of 15 credit hours per semester, although this limit may be exceeded with approval of the Graduate School. A 25% appointed Graduate Assistant must earn a minimum of 9 credit hours and may register for a maximum of 15 credit hours per semester, although this limit may be exceeded with approval of the Graduate School.
  6. Graduate Assistants who resign or are terminated from their graduate assistantship appointments, whether they withdraw from school will be required to reimburse the appropriate University account for the tuition and fees paid on their behalf proportionate to the length of time remaining on the contract during the current semester.
  1. 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.)
  2. 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.
  3. 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 to the Graduate School.
  1. All graduate students appointed to the position of graduate assistant, and whose percent appointment is equal to or greater than 25% shall, for tuition and fee purposes, be considered as residents of the State of Arkansas.
  2. The resident tuition for all graduate students appointed to the position of graduate assistant whose percent appointment is equal to or greater than 50% shall be paid from the appropriate University fee account or by the division/department/grant which has funded the graduate assistant stipend. These tuition benefits are limited to degree-related credit enrollment costs and do not encompass costs for non-degree related elective courses, audited courses, late registration fees, drop-add fees, international student fees or any other similar costs. However, departments may petition for audited courses, courses outside of the major, and ELAC courses, if they feel that these are necessary for the student to take.
  3. Stipend Ranges. Stipend policies shall be established that are sufficient to attract and retain quality graduate students, and shall take into consideration such factors as differences in the needs of individual departmental programs, available funds, quality of applicants, and stipends offered by other universities.
  4. Stipends. Each department (or appropriate unit) shall insure that equivalent stipends shall be given for equivalent duties. Generally, this shall be interpreted to mean that within a department all pre-master’s assistants will be paid the same stipend for the same general type of duty (e.g., teaching or research or administration) and the same work load classification (25%, 50%, etc.), but that rates may differ from one type of duty to another. The same policy shall apply to post-master’s students, but post-master’s rates may differ from pre-master’s rates. The university currently requires a minimum stipend of $1,000 per month for a 50% GA.
  1. Graduate assistants who are on a 50% appointment for a six week summer term must earn at least 3 hours of graduate credit during the summer. However, these credits do not have to be earned in the same session as the appointment, and may be taken at any time during the summer. The tuition (up to a maximum of 6 hours credit) for graduate assistants on 50% appointments for a five week summer term will be paid from the appropriate University fee account or by the division/department/grant which has funded the graduate assistant stipend. These fee benefits are limited to degree-related credit enrollment costs and do not encompass costs for non-degree related courses, audited courses, late registration fees, drop-add fees, international student fees or any other similar costs.
  2. Credit hours taken during the August intersession will count toward the required minimum registration for graduate assistantships for the fall semester and will be covered by the fall GA tuition waiver; similarly, hours taken during the January and May intersessions will count toward the required minimum GA enrollment requirement and will be covered by the GA tuition waiver for spring and summer semesters, respectively.
For graduate assistants to have access to Blackboard, they must be the entered in UAConnect as either the instructor of record or the teaching assistant. For courses in which graduate-level credit may be earned, if the graduate assistant is the instructor of record or has significant responsibility for independently assigning grades in the course, he/she must obtain graduate faculty status. Graduate students are not allowed to teach or grade peers, defined as students in the same degree program, although this rule may be waived by the Graduate Council if the graduate assistant is at the post-candidacy stage in his/her program.
With the guidance of the Graduate Council, these policies and procedures shall be implemented and administered by the Dean of the Graduate School. Department chairpersons are responsible for monitoring eligibility requirements, course registration requirements, work loads, and the limits on the number of graduate assistant appointments per person at the master’s and doctoral level. Exceptions to these Graduate Assistantship policies can be made only by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  1. Classroom Instruction. Has instructional responsibility for a class, section, or a course; and has authority to assign grades. Students may not be asked to teach more than two 3-credit courses. (International teaching assistants must meet the requirements for written and spoken English language proficiency.)
  2. Research. Performs research duties under the direction of a faculty member.
  3. Specialized Instructional Services. Specialized professional teaching services in which responsibilities for directing or controlling others are intrinsic. Coaching, leading field parties, directing plays, etc. (International teaching assistants must meet the requirements for written and spoken English language proficiency.)
  4. Laboratory Assistant or Leader of a Discussion or Recitation Section. May present a lecture to entire class. May contribute part of a course grade. (International teaching assistants must meet the requirements for written and spoken English language proficiency.)
  5. Instructional Support Services. Preparation of demonstrations, reagents, lab materials for students’ costume-shop, storeroom, greenhouse; supervision and/or operation of specialized equipment, grading papers, etc. (International teaching assistants must meet the requirements for written and spoken English language proficiency.)
  6. Administration. Carries out administrative duties as directed, i.e., administrative aide to deans, department chairpersons, program director, etc.