There are three types of graduate assistantships: general Graduate Assistantships, Graduate Teaching Assistantships, and Graduate Research Assistantships.
Graduate Assistant (GA)
Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)
Graduate Research Assistantships are awarded by departments and professors who are engaged in research projects. Research assistantships offer exciting opportunities to participate in ongoing research developments at Virginia Tech. Since GRAs are often funded by sponsored research grants, they may be paid at a higher stipend level than GAs or GTAs.
Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)
The GTA workshop is held during the week before the start of Fall classes. Although this workshop is primarily for new GTAs, continuing graduate students who have not previously attended may also enroll. Participants will enroll in GRAD 5004 (1 credit) upon the recommendation of their departments.
GTAs are given special parking passes each semester that allow them to park in restricted lots on days that they teach classes. GTAs should apply for these passes by completing the request form and submitting it to Parking Services. A regular student parking pass is also required.
A full assistantship requires a student to work for 20 hours per week on average. Students may pr may not be required to report to work during school breaks. Departments may also offer partial assistantships.
In addition to assistantships awarded by departments, there are other university administrative units that employ graduate assistants. When a position becomes available, a notice is posted on the Graduate School webpage under Featured Information/Funding Opportunities.
Graduate students who work as graduate assistants while pursuing their master's or doctoral degrees provide a valuable service to the university. Many teach undergraduate classes. Others support faculty in scholarly and sponsored research activities. To be competitive in the recruitment and retention of high quality graduate students, it is important for the University to provide compensation packages that are comparable with those offered by our peer institutions. The key components of the compensation packages are competitive stipends, tuition assistance, and a health insurance subsidy (that is available for the university-sponsored health insurance plan).
The stipend table for graduate assistants ranges from Step 1 to Step 50. Each step represents a pay range within which full-time (20 hrs/wk) graduate assistants must be paid. Individual departments determine which pay step to use based on the student's qualifications and experience, academic standing and availability of funds. Departments have a wide range of stipend options to make competitive offers. Departments are encouraged to develop and consistently apply internal policies to determine what stipend steps to use.
For the 2013-2014 year, graduate assistantship stipends will range from the beginning of pay step/band 1 ($1323 per month) to the maximum of pay step/band 50 ($3760 per month).
During the academic year (Fall/Spring) students who are paid less than $3064/month receive a tuition scholarship for the in-state tuition, technology and library fees for the semester of their assistantship. The tuition and technology fee are proportionate to the assistantship appointment. Students who are paid at $3064 or more may need to pay their tuition and fees from their assistantship stipends.
Graduate students who earn more than $4000 in an academic year on assistantship appointment(s) are eligible for a waiver of the out-of-state portion of tuition for the year, even if their assistantship was for only one semester. Students must be enrolled full-time to qualify for the out-of-state tuition waiver. Summer earnings on assistantship or wage employment do not count towards meeting the $4000 minimum earnings requirement. Tuition bills from the Bursar's Office will show the out-of-state tuition charge and a credit to reflect the out-of-state tuition waiver (may also be referred to as "UF Differential").
The out-of-state tuition waiver is automatically applied to students' accounts when the following three criteria are met: the student's appointment is entered in Banner by the department, the student meets the earnings criteria described above, and the student has registered for the semester. (This does not apply to level 46 bachelor's/master's student: out-of-state tuition cannot be waived for these students).
Undergraduate students who attended Virginia Tech from other states and who go on to Graduate School are not automatically considered in-state residents. For questions about residency, please contact the Graduate School at 540/231-8636.
Graduate students on assistantship appointment may pay their comprehensive and capital fees through payroll deduction during the fall and spring semesters. To be eligible for this program, students must commit to paying the full-time comprehensive and capital fees through payroll deduction. Enrollment is managed through Hokie SPA and students must sign up each semester in which they wish to take advantage of this opportunity. Enrollment is not available for the summer terms.
Graduate assistants who maintain at least a 50% assistantship (10 hours per week), may be eligible for health insurance benefits. Visit the Graduate School's insurance benefits webpage for additional information.
Students offered an assistantship must sign the Graduate Assistantship Agreement form, which is a contract between the student and department. The agreement should stipulate the beginning and ending dates of the contract, the type of appointment, the amount of the monthly stipend, whether the student is expected to work during school breaks, and any other special conditions. The agreement also indicates whether a tuition scholarship, technology and library fees, and applicable program fee will be paid by the department, and whether or not the out-of-state portion of the tuition (UF Differential) will be waived.
Comprehensive/Capital Fees: Students are responsible for comprehensive fees each semester. Out-of-state students must also pay a Capital Fee. See the Bursar's web page for a description of fees. The Capital Fee requirement cannot be waived and is not part of the tuition charges.
Students receiving financial aid need to report tuition scholarships and out of state waivers to their financial aid counselors.
Unless specified otherwise in the assistantship agreement contract, graduate students on full assistantships are not prohibited from seeking additional employment (restrictions may apply to international students). Students should consult with their academic advisor and/or assistantship supervisor as applicable regarding the fulfillment of their assistantship and graduate study responsibilities. Students must notify the Graduate School about any additional employment, including the period of employment, name and contact of employer, and job title or short description of duties.
Five-year bachelor/master's students can hold assistantships in the last semester of their senior year and receive an in-state tuition scholarship, but their out-of-state fees cannot be waived. Bachelor/Master's students in the last semester of their senior year (level 46 students) who are offered assistantships cannot accept funds from the undergraduate scholarship funds and the graduate scholarship funds concurrently. Departments should discuss with each student the scholarship options before awarding an assistantship and issuing an agreement.
If for any reason a student leaves the assistantship appointment before the end of this contract, please refer to the table below for tuition responsibility. Students must inform their departments and the Graduate School in writing if they terminate the assistantship prior to the contract ending date. Departments wishing to terminate a student contract should notify the student and the Graduate School in writing.
This table is based upon the university refund policy and will be used in calculating tuition obligations for students who leave the assistantship appointment before day 38 of the semester.
The comprehensive, technology, and capital fees are non-refundable and no reduction will be made after the beginning of classes.
Assistantship dates are the same each year and are as follows:
Departments must specify whether a student is to work over school or semester breaks. Students may be offered assistantships at any time of year. The tuition scholarship will be pro-rated for the remainder of the term in which a student is hired.
Additional Resources for Faculty and Staff