Tiers and Categories

1. Tiers

We use Tiers to better accommodate the correct allocation of stipends and waivers to the amount of work required of the student. There are four Tiers (effective Fall 2017):

  • Tiers
    Avg Hours Worked per Week
    Stipend Amount per Semester
    Tuition Waiver Hours per Semester*
  • I
    6-10 hrs/week
    $2,200 per Semester
    Maximum 6 hours waived
  • II
    11-15 hrs/week
    $3,850 per Semester
    Maximum 9 hours waived
  • III
    16-20 hrs/week
    $5,500 per Semester
    Maximum 12 hours waived
  • IV
    max 20 hrs/week
    Maximum 12 hours waived

*only graduate level credit hours can be waived.  We cannot waive tuition for undergraduate courses.

Tier IV Special Commitments are situations where The Graduate College has committed a set number of stipends for a defined period of time and/or a specific stipend amount. These situations may include a new program starting up, special recruitment situations, or responses to a need related to an external agency or grant. Tier IV Special Commitments are negotiated with The Graduate College office staff.
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2. Categories

As a result of both the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and our own need to better define what an assistantship entails, we have three categories of assistantships, each with a set of descriptors. They are:

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) - this position is for graduate students that are teaching a course(s) and listed as the "Teacher of Record" (TOR). This category is no longer appropriate for those that are assisting in a classroom or assisting a faculty member. Graduate students in this category must have completed GRAD 9001 - College and University Teaching or an approved equivalent before starting their teaching assignment.

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) - this is a student whose work predominantly involves assisting a faculty member with academic research. GRAs are not independent researchers and are not directly responsible for the outcome of the research. They are responsible to, and report to a research supervisor or principal investigator (PI). The duties of a Graduate Research Assistant primarily involve applying and mastering research concepts, practices, or methods of scholarship. Duties may include but are not limited to: 
performing independent research under the direction of a faculty member; conducting literature reviews or library research; preparing materials for submission to funding agencies, foundations, or IRB; collecting, coding, cleaning or analyzing data; designing an experiment; assisting in a faculty member's laboratory; coding computer programs to automate processes; presenting findings in a publication or dissertation; co-authoring the resulting research papers.

Graduate Assistant (GA) - this category can be for many duties, especially where the student is not the Teacher of Record and not primarily doing research. Examples may be graduate students that are working with an administrator or other non-academic unit such as Academic Affairs or the Library; students that are assisting a faculty member with classroom activities such as grading tests/quizzes/papers, leading a discussion section, conducting labs, posting materials or responding to questions on D2L, tutoring students; or other special activities.

Graduate students are not to be used as "student assistants", to staff offices as an administrative assistant might, or to do work that would not normally require holding a bachelors degree.