Graduate Assistantship Information

  • Eligibility
  • How to Apply
  • Appointment Process
  • Tuition Waiver
  • Academic Load
  • Work and Compensation
  • Employee Benefits
  • Changing an Appointment
  • Resignation or Dismissal
  • Every graduate student who is not a current Shippensburg University full-time employee may apply for a graduate assistantship. To be eligible to receive a graduate assistant appointment, a student must have an overall 3.0 GPA from their undergraduate institution and be admitted into their first Shippensburg master’s degree. Students may not be appointed as graduate assistants while working toward their second Shippensburg University master’s degree. Non-degree students, those working towards certification without a degree, those working towards a graduate certificate, or in a doctoral program are not eligible. Graduate assistantships are awarded for one semester at a time. The appointment and continuation of an assistantship will depend upon good academic standing (3.0 GPA) and recommendation of the Graduate Program Coordinator. International students should contact the Office of International Studies prior to the beginning of the hiring process. Students who are employed full-time at the University are ineligible.
  • 1. Answer “Yes” to the question on the graduate admission application about being interested in a graduate assistantship. This will place your name on a list of students from which academic departments will hire their graduate assistants. Due to the nature of the work, most academic departments hire students from their programs to be graduate assistants. Please note that academic departments may require the completion of additional steps to apply. Please contact the graduate coordinator of your program for more information.
    2. Check the Career Development Center’s website for available graduate assistantships on campus. Positions posted in this location are typically for service-oriented offices on campus. Positions are generally posted beginning in April for the following fall semester and in November for the following spring semester. Positions are posted as they become available, so it is a good idea to check the CDC’s website regularly for updates.
  • Lists of available graduate assistantships and student payroll positions are available online. You may wish to contact some of these departments directly to express interest in their positions. You should also work with your academic department to identify potential positions.Departments that hire students will review the applications that have been submitted and consult with academic departments to identify candidates. They may contact you and conduct an interview before making a final decision. If you are selected, the department will make a verbal offer and ask for your acceptance before making the formal recommendation for appointment.After the appointment is submitted online by the department, the Office of Graduate Studies will verify your eligibility and then send an official letter of appointment. You will then be required to sign a memorandum of understanding and return it to the Office of Graduate Studies. If you have not worked for the university before, you will need to fill out appropriate payroll forms.
  • The tuition waiver applies to courses necessary for graduation. Therefore, in most cases, students may not hold graduate assistant positions for more than two years, defined for this purpose as four regular semesters and one summer session. The tuition waiver will cover only nine credits and students will have to make other financial arrangements to fund their graduate education. Only if the department is on an accelerated schedule where 12 credits is the norm for the department, e.g. Social Work, Criminal Justice, will the graduate assistantship tuition waiver extend from a maximum of nine to twelve credits.
  • During the academic year, full-time graduate assistants usually enroll in nine graduate credits each semester. Graduate students may be instructed by their Graduate Coordinators to take only six credits for a semester or two during their program, putting students in temporary part-time Graduate Assistant (GA) status so that only those courses required to graduate are covered by the tuition waiver. During the summer sessions, all graduate assistants who get paid for summer GA positions must register for and complete at least one graduate course (3 or 4 credits) during one of the summer sessions.
  • There are two types of academic assistantships: regular assistantships and Student Life assistantships. The Office of the Provost is responsible for regular assistantships and all graduate assistants assigned must work 250 hours per semester regardless of credit load taken.GA appointment letters will note that even part-time GA’s are required to work the full-time allocation of 250 hours.Regular graduate assistants receive one stipend per semester divided into two payments; one payment distributed during the ninth week of classes and the second payment disbursed the twelfth week of the semester.The Student Affairs Division is responsible for Student Life Graduate Assistantships (SLGA) and those so assigned must work 400 hours per semester and receive payment per an hourly wage.If a graduate student who has received a tuition waiver and/or a stipend as pay for work performed or yet to be performed withdraws from classes or receives no credit for classes based on the grade earned in the class(es), the student will be responsible for the immediate and full payment of all tuition due to Shippensburg University and for a refund of stipend monies received. Any and all payments required under this section will be pro-rated to the extent possible. Under no circumstances will the School of Graduate Studies award a tuition waiver for a class from which the student previously withdrew (received a W on their transcript) or received a grade of F grade on their transcript, or received a grade which fails to meet academic requirements and the student is repeating the course.
  • With the exception of the tuition waiver and compensation for work performed (including social security and workmen’s compensation payments), students in Graduate Assistantships and student payroll positions do not receive any of the benefits provided to regular university employees, such as health benefits, sick leave, special parking passes for vehicles, or paid holidays or vacations.
  • Upon the consent and approval of all involved parties including the Graduate Dean, Graduate Assistants may move from one graduate assistantship to another.
  • A graduate assistant may resign from a GA position during the course of a semester. Any hours worked prior to resignation must be recorded on the student payroll and paid to the student. A student who resigns will have tuition waiver prorated based on the number of hours actually worked. For example, if a graduate assistant works 50 hours and then resigns, only 20 percent (50/250) of the tuition will be waived. The student will then be billed for the remaining 80 percent. A student who withdraws from classes and no longer meets the academic load requirements will be dismissed from the assistantship. Compensation and tuition waiver policies are the same as those for a resignation. A Graduate Assistant may be dismissed from a position due to poor work performance or an inability to discharge the duties of the assignments. The supervisor must notify their supervisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies in writing of the decision and justification. Compensation and tuition waiver policies are the same as those for a resignation. It is not possible for a student to continue in a Graduate Assistant position while on academic probation. When graduate students are unable to resolve issues related to their employment by talking with their supervisors, students are encouraged to contact the Department Chair, the respective college Dean, or another individual in the university’s chain of command, information which can be retrieved at the Graduate Dean’s Office.