Graduate Assistantships/Fellowships and Scholarships
Financial assistance is available to graduate students from a large number of sources. These include fellowships, graduate teaching and research assistantships, scholarships, internships, work-study, and loans. The awards are granted through the Graduate School and through various departments and divisions on campus.
Numerous teaching, research, and service assistantships, as well as doctoral fellowships, are awarded each year. These awards are available to only students pursuing either a master's or doctoral degree. Unless otherwise specified, applications for these awards should be made to the appropriate department chair or campus divisional office as early as possible, but no later than two weeks after the admissions application deadline for the applicable semester/term. Assistantships, scholarships, and fellowships will be awarded on a rolling basis as applications are received and accepted.
Teaching, research, and service assistantships are awarded on a semester by semester basis in an academic year. Applications and supporting documents should be submitted to the applicant's department in order to be considered. Students who are selected by their chosen academic departments and awarded assistantships will be given assignments in either research, teaching, library or staff service. The criteria for these awards are the individual's academic record and recommendation of the department chairperson in the student's chosen field of study.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Criteria for Accreditation mandates that the Graduate School develop policies governing the appointment and evaluation of graduate assistants (GAs) and monitor their implementation by employing units. These policies include setting minimum academic qualifications for holding a GA appointment, establishing appointment and renewal procedures, and setting average workloads, and reviewing stipend levels and ranges. Employing units enter a biding contract when the offer of a graduate assistant ship is tendered. It is imperative that unit administrators adhere to Graduate School guidelines and procedures affecting graduate assistantships which include the following:
Qualifications/Eligibility for Assistantships, Fellowships, and Scholarships
Only graduate students in good academic standing may be appointed to graduate assistantships or awarded fellowships. Students who are admitted on conditional or provisional status are not eligible for financial aid, including graduate assistantships/fellowships. Before an appointment can be considered in effect, a student must be admitted to the Graduate School and be registered as a full-time graduate student. Full-time constitutes a minimum of nine semester hours in the fall or spring semester (a minimum of six hours for graduate credit) or a minimum of six semester hours in the Maymester and summer sessions (a minimum of three hours for graduate credit). Students admitted on probation, (conditional or provisional status) may be appointed as GAs only when they are off probation and have been granted regular admission status.
However, students enrolling in graduate school for the first time, who have been admitted into the Graduate School on provisional or conditional admission status, may be considered for and granted assistantships by a department or division for the initial semester (first semester or first term in graduate school) only, using funding from other sources (non Graduate School funds). All students enrolling with provisional or conditional status who are awarded financial assistance by their departments or divisions, must carry a full-time load and achieve a cumulative GPA of 3.0 in the first semester of enrolling and maintain a GPA of 3.0 in order to be considered for assistance during subsequent enrollment periods. The approved rules and qualification criteria established in the awarding unit and approved by the Graduate School will govern such awards. Information and applications for financial assistance awarded through a department or division may be obtained only from the various departments or divisions.
Students who fail to maintain a full-time course load in any given semester or term will automatically lose their assistantships. Department chairs are expected to inform graduate assistants of this policy, monitor the course load of graduate assistants and report any violations of this policy to the Graduate School. Assistantships will be automatically withdrawn from departments and students if the Graduate School determines that GAs who do not maintain a full course load have not been identified and reported. Departments from whom assistantships are withdrawn under these circumstances will be given low priority in assignment of assistantships in subsequent semesters. Students who violate the full-time course load requirement will be disqualified from receiving assistantships in subsequent semesters/terms.
International students must hold and provide evidence of a current and valid Visa in order to be eligible for assistantships, fellowships, or scholarships. International students on assistantship whose native language is not English must meet all current language requirements for international students. GAs assigned to instructional duties (teachers of record) must have earned at least 18 hours of graduate credit in their teaching discipline prior to the appointment. Furthermore, teaching assistants must be directly supervised by an experienced faculty member in their teaching discipline, receive regular in-service training, and be regularly evaluated.