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Financial Aid/Graduate Assistantships/Fellowships

Financial Aid

To find out what financial aid might be available to you, contact the Student Financial Aid Office at finaid@kent.edu or visit www.kent.edu/financialaid.  Many graduate programs offer one of three types of graduate assistantships:  administrative, teaching or research.  Most assistantships are awarded to doctoral students and some programs fund 100% of their graduate students while others do not.  These competitive awards typically provide compensation in the form of a full tuition waiver in addition to a monthly stipend for 10-20 hours of work per week.   It is recommended that the student first inquire through their academic program regarding the availability of assistantships; however, other available assistantships along with other campus jobs are posted through Career Services at experience.kent.edu.  For information on the role and status of graduate student appointees, click here.  To access the graduate assistantship application (teaching and research), click here

Graduate Assistantships

What is a graduate assistantship? 

Assistantships provide students with training and valuable professional experience in a variety of higher education work environments. Assistantship duties should not interfere unduly with academic studies, but rather should contribute to students' intellectual growth and degree goals. 

Assistantships are considered primarily as a form of financial aid to help students complete graduate school. Compensation may include a stipend, tuition remission and subsidized health insurance.

All assistantships include a stipend, which is intended to help defray the costs of housing, food and transportation. A stipend is a fixed sum of money that is not necessarily based on work performed or hours of work. It is paid on a semimonthly basis (15th day and last day of each month), and is subject to applicable state, federal and local taxes. Stipend amounts vary by discipline and program, as well as by type of assistantship.  

Assistantships may include a full or partial tuition remission. Tuition remission does not cover the cost of various fees attached to tuition. A student who receives tuition remission only (no stipend) does not have a service commitment. Such a student, however, must be enrolled full-time (i.e., at least eight credit hours per semester) in a specific degree program.

Subsidized health insurance is available for students with an assistantship. In academic year 2011-2012, Kent State University will apply a 70 percent credit towards the health insurance plan for graduate students. The health insurance credit is designed to assist students who do not have family or other health insurance. 

What types of graduate assistantships are there? 

Research Assistantship (RA)

Research assistants work in laboratories and other settings to assist faculty on research projects. The supervising faculty member may or may not be the student's main advisor. Duties vary by discipline and program, but generally include data collection, entry, and analysis; attending conferences to present results; and training and supervising less experienced research personnel.  Research assistantships are generally funded by institutions external to KSU (e.g., Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation).   

Teaching Assistantship (TA)

Teaching assistants assist faculty with instructional responsibilities or serve as the principal instructor of one or more courses. Duties vary by discipline and program, but may include meeting with students; administering tests or exams; grading homework or exams; teaching recitation, laboratory, or discussion sessions; and teaching lecture courses.

Administrative Assistantship (AA)

Administrative assistants work with the administrative staff of a department/school, college or office to assist in the operations of the university.  Duties vary widely, but may include gathering, organizing, and analyzing information; giving formal presentations; implementing and evaluating programs; academic advising; career counseling; and leadership development. 

What is expected of a graduate assistant? 

A full-time assistantship appointment is for a maximum of 50% time (approximately 20 hours of work per week), and a half-time assistantship appointment is for a maximum of 25% time (approximately 10 hours of work per week). A student may hold two half-time assistantships to total no more than 50% time. The remainder of a student's time is typically spent in making progress toward degree completion.  Assistantships for more than 50% time, or two concurrent assistantships totaling more than 50% time, require the prior approval of the student's advisor, the department chair/school director, the dean of the college and the dean of the graduate school.  Note, international students may not work more than 20 hours per week. 

Who is eligible for an assistantship? 

University-funded assistantships may be awarded, competitively, to those students who have applied for an appointment and who are academically eligible.  In order to be eligible for either a full- or part-time graduate assistantship, a student must be enrolled full-time (i.e., at least eight credit hours per semester) in a specific degree program. Note, part-time and non-degree graduate students are not eligible for graduate assistantships or tuition waivers. 

How can I find an assistantship?

Graduate assistantships are available in many academic departments and administrative offices, although availability varies by the field of study, type of degree (academic/research vs. professional), and degree level (master's vs. doctoral). Prospective graduate students should contact their department/program of choice for information regarding assistantship availability. Additionally, assistantships are occasionally posted on the Career Services website.

Fellowships

A fellowship is an arrangement in which financial support is given to a graduate student to pursue his or her degree without any obligation on the part of the student to engage in service.  Fellowships are intended to support the degree completion of advanced students likely to complete their degrees with the added financial assistance of the fellowship.

Students must be nominated by their program/department.  Students may not apply directly for consideration.

Click here for more information on the fellowships administered by the Division of Graduate Studies. 

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