Graduate Assistantships

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What is a graduate assistantship?

Assistantships provide students with training and valuable professional experience in higher education work environments. Assistantship duties should not interfere unduly with academic studies, but rather should contribute to students' intellectual growth and degree goals.

Assistantships are considered primarily as a form of financial aid to help graduate students complete graduate school. Compensation includes a stipend and tuition remission.

All assistantships include a stipend, which is intended to help defray the costs of housing, food and transportation. A stipend is a fixed sum of money that is not necessarily based on work performed or hours of work. It is paid on a semimonthly basis (15th day and last day of each month), and is subject to applicable state, federal and local taxes. Stipend amounts vary by discipline and program, as well as by type of assistantship.

Assistantships include full or partial tuition remission. Tuition remission does not cover the cost of various fees attached to tuition. A student who receives tuition remission only (no stipend) does not have a service commitment. Such a student, however, must be enrolled full-time (i.e., at least eight credit hours per semester) in a specific degree program. Historically, in addition to the stipend and tuition remission, we have been able to provide graduate students with a partial health insurance credit of 70% to be applied toward the health insurance plan for graduate students offered through Kent State University. At this point, negotiations regarding student health care coverage have not been completed, and we do not know whether the same partial health insurance credit will be available next year. We will update immediately when this information is available.

What types of graduate assistantships are there?

Research Assistantship (RA)

Research assistants work in laboratories and other settings to assist faculty on research projects. Duties vary by discipline and program, but generally include data collection, entry, and analysis; attending conferences to present results; and training and supervising less experienced research personnel.  Research assistantships are generally funded by institutions external to KSU (e.g., Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation).

Teaching Assistantship (TA)

Teaching assistants assist faculty with instructional responsibilities or serve as the principal instructor of one or more courses. Duties may include meeting with students; administering tests or exams; grading homework or exams; teaching recitation, laboratory, or discussion sessions; and teaching lecture courses.

Administrative Assistantship (AA)

Administrative assistants work with the administrative staff of a department/school, college or office to assist in the operations of the university. Duties vary widely, but may include gathering, organizing, and analyzing information; giving formal presentations; implementing and evaluating programs; academic advising; career counseling; and leadership development.

What is expected of a graduate assistant?

A full-time assistantship appointment is for a maximum of 50% time (approximately 20 hours of work per week), and a half-time assistantship appointment is for a maximum of 25% time (approximately 10 hours of work per week). A student may hold two half-time assistantships to total no more than 50% time. The remainder of a student's time is typically spent in making progress toward degree completion.  Assistantships for more than 50% time, or two concurrent assistantships totaling more than 50% time, require the prior approval of the student's advisor, the department chair/school director, the dean of the college and the dean of the graduate school.  Note:  international students may not work more than 20 hours per week.

Who is eligible for an assistantship?

University-funded assistantships may be awarded, competitively, to those students who have applied for an appointment and who are academically eligible.  A student must be enrolled full-time (i.e., at least eight credit hours per semester) in a specific degree program. Note:  part-time and non-degree graduate students are not eligible for graduate assistantships or tuition waivers.

How can I find an assistantship?

In addition to contacting academic departments, assistantships are occasionally posted on the Career Services website.