Financial Aid Support and Graduate Assistantship

Applying for Financial Aid and Graduate Assistantship

While applications for admission are accepted all year, Graduate Assistantship  (GA) applications are only accepted once a year. Financial aid and admission are separate processes and one must first be admitted before being considered for Graduate Assistantship (GA). Applications for graduate assistantships [form]  must be received before the deadlines of January 31 (for Fall applications). If you are awarded an award, you will be notified by mid-late April.

Research Assistant  (RA) positions are personally selected by faculty members who have external grant money.  As you develop your own special interests in computer science and form research relationships with faculty you may be considered for a research assistant position but this is solely under the authority of the faculty member and his/her grant.

Types of Departmental Support

There are several types of financial aid (graduate appointments) for which a student can apply (see Graduate Support Regulations for further details). Note that aid is granted only to students with full admission into the graduate program, not Post-Undergraduate students or graduate students with Conditional Admission.

  • Graduate Assistantships: Sometimes informally referred to as a Teaching Assistantship (TA), GAs are our primary form of support, especially for incoming students. Available to both Master's and Doctoral students, a GA appointment carries a monthly stipend and a fee waiver that covers up to 9 credits of graduate CS courses per semester (plus additional credits for any courses required by the university, such as College Teaching of Computer Science). GAs usually perform duties such as teaching or grading, although some GAs have specialized duties such as computer or library support.
  • Research Assistantships: RA's are another primary form of support. Available to both Master's and Doctoral students, most RA appointments are made by an individual faculty member who has received a research grant from some extramural source (government or industry). An RA's duties consist of assisting in the research of a faculty member who is the principal investigator of the grant. The stipend and fee waiver for an RA is the same as that of a GA.

Summer Support

Graduate appointees in computer science are sometimes supported during the summer session with a stipend equal to 1/3 of their academic year stipend. Such support is not guaranteed and is contingent on the student making satisfactory progress toward a degree, on satisfactory evaluations associated with previous financial support, and on available funds. Applications for summer support will be reviewed by CS Graduate Studies Committee.

For graduate appointees who hold a RA appointment from an individual faculty member (who has received a research grant from some extramural source) during the spring semester, RA summer appointments are dependent on the principal investigator's research funding.

University Fellowships

If you have passed your Candidacy Exam, you might want to apply for the University Fellowship. Graduate Studies sponsors this award. Since our department can only nominate one applicant, the Graduate Studies Committee will select our applicant. The graduate coordinator will guide the completion of the fellowship forms for the doctoral students to be nominated.

Graduate Stipend

Currently, 9-month GA and RA stipends are as follows:

  • $15,000 -- Master's students
  • $15,000 -- PhD students who have not yet passed the Preliminary Examinations
  • $16,000 -- PhD students who have passed the Preliminary Examinations, but have not yet passed the Candidacy Examination
  • $18,000 -- PhD students who have passed the Candidacy Examination

Advice for Current Students

If you did not receive financial aid when you originally applied to our program, you may want to reapply for aid once you are here (note that you must reapply each semester you want to be considered -- an application does not remain active forever). To make your case stronger, provide the CS Graduate Office with updated transcripts and letters of recommendation from local faculty. Good grades here at Kent State and a *start on your thesis/dissertation work are particularly desirable.

If you reapply once you are here, and you still do not receive aid, *work on improving your case and then try again the next semester. Also, keep in mind that there are typically more new graduate assistantships to award for the Fall semester than for the Spring semester.