Graduate Assistantship and Tuition Scholarship FAQ

How do I find and apply for a GA or TS position?

To apply for a Graduate Assistantship (GA) or Tuition Scholarship (TS) you must first check the appropriate box on your graduate school application package. Once you have submitted your application it will be forwarded to the graduate coordinator assigned to the graduate program you are applying for admission into. We strongly encourage you to contact the department in which you would want to work and express your interest in a GA or TS. If you are unable to get a position in your department you can go online to the graduate studies web site and click on Assistantships and Scholarships. You may then view current vacancies by clicking on the Current List of Available GA & TS Positions. Openings are posted at the request of a department and the list can change, so check it often. GA's and TS's are available all across campus, not just in academic departments. Once you have obtained a position with a particular department, please go to Human Resources to complete all of the appropriate paperwork. The department will complete a GA or TS online appointment that will be submitted to the Graduate Studies Office for processing. The general requirements to hold a GA or TS are as follows:

  1. Must be fully admitted to a graduate program.
  2. Must register for at least 9 graduate hours during the Fall and Spring semester (3 hours during the Summer semester if working 5/15-6/30 and 6 hours if working from 5/15-8/15). Candidate must maintain those hours throughout the semester. If you drop below hours, you are ineligible and your contract will be reviewed and may be cancelled.
  3. Must maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
  4. You cannot hold another paid position on campus without prior approval of the Dean, School of Graduate Studies.

Are there any GA or TS positions offered at night or on the weekends for student teachers or others with those scheduling needs?

The only night or weekend positions available are in the Library, computer labs, and coaching positions. Student teachers are strongly advised to not be employed during their student teaching experience, however GA and TS contracts can be submitted to the graduate office to be reviewed on a case by case basis.

Are Graduate Certificate students eligible for a GA or TS?

No, students in graduate certificate programs are not eligible for a GA or TS.

Are parking permits or decals for full-time GA's available for faculty parking?

No, although GA's are paid by ETSU, they are not considered faculty. Part time and adjunct faculty members do not receive access to the faculty parking areas either.

Are GA's eligible for medical leave of absence?

No, there is no provision for a medical or any other kind of leave of absence from a Graduate Assistantship. GA contracts will be canceled as soon as a student decides to withdraw from the University and submits a resignation letter to the graduate studies office. Please refer to the handbook.

What is a Graduate Assistantship?

See GA/TS Handbook (page 5)

What is the difference between a Graduate Assistantship and a Tuition Scholarship (eligibility and requirements)?

See GA/TS Handbook (page 6)

What are my employee rights as a GA or TS?

See GA/TS Handbook (page 11)

May I move from a TS to a GA or from a GA to a TS?

A student can move from a TS to a GA but not from a GA to a TS. As specified in the GA/TS Handbook a Tuition Scholarship is awarded to graduate students entering their first period of registration, therefore graduate students with GA's would have already taken graduate courses and would not be eligible for a TS.

I have already held a GA position for two years while working on my first Master's degree. I have been offered a new GA position for the spring and would like to know if there are any problems with me accepting the new GA position. I understand that students are restricted to a two year limit, but do not know what the policy is for a returning student working on a second Master's degree. May I accept another GA position?

The number of terms/years of eligibility for students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees can be found in the GA/TS handbook. Students pursuing dual master’s degree programs or second master’s degree programs may be considered for a third year of support (one additional year); approval is considered by the Dean or Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies in response from a request from the student’s current Graduate Program Coordinator and by the GA/TS contracting unit. All other requirements of eligibility must be met.

What happens if a GA or TS is put on academic probation?

As stated in the GA/TS Handbook, GA's must maintain a 3.0 grade point average. One who fails to maintain a 3.0 may be allowed 1 semester to remedy the grade deficiency.

What is a half GA and can a graduate student have two half GA's in seperate areas?

A half GA is the same as a regular GA except the student works half the hours (10 hours) receiving half the regular stipend per month and half tuition coverage. A student may have two half GA's under different supervisors or in different areas as long as the student works 10 hours within each area totaling 20 hours a week. A student with two half GA's would, therefore, receive a full stipend and full tuition coverage.

Are there any fees that a GA or TS will not cover?

Yes. A GA or TS waiver will not cover a student's program service fee or specialty course fees. Students are responsible for making arrangements to pay those charges by the Friday before classes begin. Basically, the GA/TS waiver will cover the maintenance fee (i.e. tuition) only. All other charges such as business course fees, technology fees or international insurance etc. should be handled by the student.

What should I do if I add or delete classes after my GA/TS waiver has been posted?

If you register for 9 hours then add or delete classes after your GA/TS waiver has been posted, your tuition waiver amount will not automatically adjust, leaving a balance. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the comptroller's office of those changes so they can adjust your waiver properly. If you drop a class and your total number of graduate credit hours drops below requirements to hold a GA/TS then the contract is subject to cancellation.

What are the procedures for resignation from a GA/TS position?

If you wish to resign from your GA/TS position you must send a resignation letter to the graduate school and to your supervisor stating your reasons and the date you will stop working. If you resign mid-semester and retain your classes you will be billed for a pro-rated portion of the tuition. If you resign and withdraw from the university, a pro-rated portion of tuition will be due.

If I have a GA/TS position in the current semester and withdraw from the University, would I be eligible for a GA/TS position the next semester?

This situation would be reviewed on a case by case basis. Special consideration is given to students who have to withdraw due to medical reasons and can provide documentation.

What happens if I want to move from a full GA to a half GA mid-semester?

A student may not move from a full GA to a half GA mid-semester due to the terms of their contract. Any changes, made to a contract agreement would require new appointments subject to approval, reasonable notice, and appropriate paperwork. Changes are generally not approved midway or late in the semester.

Do GA/TS's have an official start date and end date?

The general start and end dates are as follows:
  1. Summer term I - May 15 to June 30
  2. Summer term II - July 1 to August 15
  3. Academic Year - August 15 to May 15
  4. Fall only - August 15 to December 15
  5. Spring only - January 2 - May 15
  6. Fiscal Year July 1 to June 30

Can a TS become a Teaching Associate?

Yes, a TS can teach one undergraduate course to fulfill their 8 hours a week as long as they have completed 18 hours of graduate coursework in their own graduate program.

Can a student who starts in the summer be eligible for a Tuition Scholarship?

In some cases where a student obtains prior permission from the Graduate Dean, it is possible to take one summer course and remain eligible for a TS starting the next fall term. TS positions are only used for new, first time, incoming graduate students admitted to a graduate degree program.

Do GA's have to work during fall or spring break?

Yes, GA's work according to the campus office schedule. When offices are open, GA's are required to work their hours. When offices are closed, such as holiday's or closings due to weather. GA's are not required to work or make up those hours.

How much do GA's get paid and when?

Stipend levels vary between programs. For academic year contracts (Aug 15 - May 15), the stipend is paid in 8 equal installments on the last business day of the month from September to April.

I am in an RODP graduate program. Am I eligible for a graduate assistantship or a graduate tuition scholarship?

No, students in RODP graduate programs are not eligible for graduate assistantships or tuition scholarships.

I am in a regular graduate program and want to take an RODP course. Will my graduate assistantship or tuition scholarship cover the cost of that course?

No, RODP course tuition cannot be covered by graduate assistantships or tuition scholarships. You may take the course, but you will need to pay the tuition.

Is the winter session tuition covered for a GA or TS? Do the graduate credit hours count toward spring required hours?

The tuition remission that comes with a GA or TS appointment does not cover tuition for winter session courses and winter session courses do not count toward the requirement to be enrolled in nine graduate hours for spring term.

Is the Best Plus OPI test a one time test or does one have to take it every year?

The Best Plus Oral Proficiency Interview is a one-time test that, if passed, holds for the duration of your time here at ETSU. Students can choose to repeat the test if they wish to try and increase their scores.

Do non-resident alien Graduate Assistants have to fill out the International Employee/Student Tax Questionnaire every year?

Non-resident alien students must fill out and submit a questionnaire along with each new GA contract that is submitted to the graduate studies office to ensure the student will get taxed properly. The questionnaire can be found here.

Are students granted “deferred action” status (DACA) eligible for a graduate assistant or tuition scholarship?

No. In the state of Tennessee individuals granted “deferred action” status are not eligible to make use of public funds for the purposes of higher education, a prohibition that includes such things as in-state residency classification as well as publically funded scholarships and assistantships like graduate assistantships and tuition scholarships.
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