St. Cloud State typically offers more than 300 graduate assistantships annually. This results in approximately 30 percent of our full-time graduate students having a graduate assistantship. Graduate assistantships are academically-related employment appointments reserved for graduate students. There are three types of assistantships: program assistants, research assistants and teaching assistants.
Program assistants work on behalf of an academic program. Research assistants do research and activities in collaboration with a department or professor. Teaching assistants, which are less common, work in classrooms under the supervision of a professor.
A student must be admitted to the School of Graduate Studies and be registered full-time (8 credits) in the School each term of the appointment. International students, U.S. citizens and U.S. residents are eligible to apply. Certificate and language admission students are not eligible for graduate assistantships.
All graduate assistants will be eligible for the following benefits:
The university's administration sets pay rates. Stipends are subject to change and are dependent on the hours of assignment and the length of the appointment, as noted below.
Graduate assistants must be enrolled full-time, which is eight master's credits or six doctoral credits per semester. A limited number of competitive doctoral assistantships pay $15,000 for a full-time, academic-year appointment. A stipend is earned income and subject to federal and state taxes.
Minimum Target Workload (Hrs/Week)
Graduate Credits Required per Semester**
Number of Graduate Credits Paid for by Graduate Assistantship
|$9,250/academic year appointment||20||8 or more(5xx/6xx)||8 @ in-state, on-campus rate|
|$4,625/academic year appointment||10||8 or more (5xx/6xx)||6 @ in-state, on-campus rate|
|$15,000/academic year appointment||20||6 or more(7xx/8xx)||6 @on-campus doctoral rate|
**International Students please note that the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services (BCIS) regulations require that international students take a full-time load of eight credits per semester regardless of appointment hours.
Both full and part-time master's level graduate assistants, in addition to a salary/stipend, are eligible for a partial tuition remission for graduate (500-800) level credits as indicated by the appointment level. Only full-time doctoral level assistantships are available. Doctoral students are required to enroll in 6 doctoral level credits and 6 doctoral credits will be eligible for tuition remission.
Tuition remission is available to graduate assistants during the academic year. Tuition remission is considered to be earnings and is therefore subject to FICA plus State and Federal tax withholding. The schedule above outlines the amount of tuition remission available. A student must be at least a half-time graduate assistant, i.e., working 10 hours per week, to qualify for tuition remission.
All student fees other than tuition must be paid by the student. Tuition assistance is computed only for graduate credits (5xx -8xx) courses), and no tuition waiver is awarded for graduate courses enrolled in after the tenth class day of each semester. Tuition remission is applied at the in-state standard graduate or doctoral rate only. Graduate tuiton remission will not fully cover market rate tuition, online or hybrid course rates or any tuition charged beyond the standard graduate or doctoral rates.
- Tuition remission is not available during the May Intersession, Summer Session I or Summer Session II.
- Undergraduate preparation courses are not eligible for graduate assistantship tuition benefit.
Resident Rate Privilege
All graduate assistants, international, and U.S. citizens and residents qualify for in-state tuition rates. Graduate assistants will find the in-state rate credited on their fee statement as a "MN RATE Tuition Scholarship." Note: The in-state tuition rate does not apply to market-rate programs.
Students who received and accepted a graduate assistantship appointment, fully signed by the School of Graduate Studies and the sponsoring department, may include the assistantship stipend as income on their financial certification form. A student will also need their graduate assistantship appointment letter when they apply for their visa.
Securing an Assistantship
Graduate assistantships at SCSU are competitive and based on the qualifications of the applicant and the availability of funding. Undergraduate GPA, pertinent experience, test scores, letters of recommendation, educational preparation or appropriate combinations of these factors are considered in the appointment process.
Students interested in securing a graduate assistantship should apply directly to the department, graduate coordinator or service units to be considered for employment. Students will be encouraged to submit a cover letter indicating their interest and skills, résumé, unofficial transcripts as well as SCSU's graduate assistantship application. Departments and administrative offices will generally invite the student to interview for the graduate assistantship position in person, by phone or E-mail. All applicants for a graduate assistantship are required to have been admitted to a master's degree program. All GA contracts are subject to the approval of the School of Graduate Studies.
The maximum graduate assistant appointment is 20 hours per week. Graduate students may be appointed for a maximum of 240 duty days during the calendar year. Graduate assistants cannot be concurrently employed as adjunct faculty. While employed as a graduate assistant, persons may not be employed in other St. Cloud State pisitions.
To qualify for the tuition waiver, an assistant's appointment must begin no later than the tenth duty day of the term and must continue through the last duty day of the term. If a graduate student terminates his/her assistantship prior to the mid-point of the term, he/she shall lose all tuition and stipend support for that term.
If termination of an assistantship occurs before the date stated on the GA Employment Referral, the effective termination date will be when the School of Graduate Studies receives written verification from the department. All GA compensation earned prior to this date will be charged to the administrative unit responsible for the direct supervision of the graduate student.
The maximum number of hours per week a graduate assistant may work is 20 hours. It is the obligation of the GA and the employing unit to adhere to fair labor practices. GA's are obligated to attend mandatory employee training sessions when requested.
Continuing an Assistantship
A student must maintain at least a 3.0 GPA each semester to maintain his/her graduate assistantship. A graduate assistantship may not be deferred for use in another academic year. Additionally, tuition assistance is not available during the summer terms. A number of departments do offer graduate assistants continued employment in the summer months at the graduate student rate of $12-$16/hour. Graduate assistants may be appointed by semester or annually. Generally graduate assistants will be eligible for appointment as a GA for a maximum of two years, unless a department or college maintains a policy of permitting appointments for three years to conduct special research. Most full-time graduate students should be able to complete their graduate program within two years.
Resolution of the Council of Graduate Schools in the United States
Acceptance of an offer of financial aid (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by an enrolled or prospective graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. When a student accepts an offer before April 15 and subsequently desires to withdraw, the student may submit a written resignation for the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment was made. Similarly, an offer made by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of a written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to this resolution that a copy of the resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer. A copy of the resolution is available from the Council of Graduate Schools.