Assistantships, Fellowships & Other Aid

The University of Connecticut supports the Council of Graduate Schools Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants:

Acceptance of an offer of financial support (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and The Graduate School expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties.

Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15th; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15th, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15th. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15th commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15th is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.

Source: http://www.cgsnet.org/april-15-resolution

Support for graduate students engaged in degree study at the University of Connecticut comes from many sources. Two (2) general types of financial aid support are available: (1) aid based on academic merit; and (2) aid based on demonstrated financial need.

  1. 1. Awards based on academic merit include: Graduate Assistantships (for teaching or research), University Predoctoral Fellowships, and Dissertation Fellowships. Application for merit aid such as graduate assistantships should be made directly to the academic department. Students interested in scholarships and fellowships offered through The Graduate School should monitor the website for appropriate application procedures and deadlines.
  2. 2. Need-based financial aid includes: Federal Direct Stafford Loans (FDSL), Federal Work-Study (FWS), and University of Connecticut Tuition Remission Grants. Citizens or permanent residents of the United States apply for need-based financial aid by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on the web at: https://fafsa.ed.gov each year. The University of Connecticut’s one-time deadline each year is March 1st (May 1st, for entering graduate students).

Note:  International students are not eligible to receive need-based financial aid.

All need-based financial aid recipients and merit-based award recipients must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements, which are based on federal regulations. These requirements include maintenance of an appropriate grade point average (3.00) and satisfactory completion of a percentage (75%) of the number of credit hours attempted in each award year, as well as not exceeding published credit maximums for the student’s program plan. A warning is sent to students once they have reached their degree minimums. A complete text of this policy is available at: http://financialaid.uconn.edu/sap/.

Assistantships, fellowships, and other awards from University sources are used in combination with need-based aid to calculate final need-based financial aid amounts offered either for a semester or an academic year.

Additional information regarding need-based financial aid for graduate students is available from the Office of Student Financial Aid Services at: http://financialaid.uconn.edu/graduate/. For example, information is provided concerning benefits under the various educational assistance programs provided by the Veterans Affairs and Military Programs.

Graduate Assistantships, Fellowships, and Internships

Many graduate students engaged in full-time degree study at the University of Connecticut hold graduate assistantships for teaching or research, whereas others hold fellowships, traineeships, or internships. Support from any of these sources is subject to terms of the funding source and to approval by The Graduate School. A brief definition of each is as follows:

  • An assistantship (teaching assistantship or research assistantship) is awarded to a graduate student who provides teaching or research support to the University that is a part of her/his academic program. In recognition of this support, the tuition of the student is provided by the grant/contract funding agency (for research assistants) or the University (for teaching assistants). Note that all assistantships must be administered through an academic department.
  • A fellowship is awarded to a graduate student to pursue her/his academic program, but does not require the student to provide any teaching or research support to the institution. The tuition of a student receiving a fellowship must be paid by the student, the granting organization, the department and/or school/college, or by the University with prior approval. An example of this can be found in the Policy on Competitive Federal Graduate Awards at: http://policy.uconn.edu/?p=966.
  • An internship is an experiential job placement designed to enhance the knowledge, skills, and abilities of a student, enhance their employability, and requires a student to perform specific work at the host’s site. The tuition payment is the responsibility of the student, the host, or the external funding specifically designated for this purpose.

Note: Holders of an assistantship, fellowship, or internship are responsible for associated fees.
The following information provides more details regarding assistantships, fellowships, and other forms of aid available through the University. Other sources may be available upon further inquiry, and graduate students are encouraged to seek opportunities for external sources of support, such as prestigious national fellowships. For more information please refer to the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships (ONS&F) website at: http://www.onsf.uconn.edu/.

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate students, who meet the criteria listed below, are eligible. Appointments are ordinarily made for the nine (9) month period, August 23rd through May 22nd. Recipients serve the University as teaching assistants, readers, or laboratory and research assistants. Graduate assistants ordinarily take fewer than the usual number of courses per year because of this added workload. To be appointed, to retain an appointment, or to be reappointed, a student must have been accorded Regular (not Provisional) status, must have been maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least B (3.00) in any coursework taken, must be eligible to register (i.e., must not have more than three (3) viable grades of Incomplete on her/his academic record), must be enrolled in a graduate degree program scheduled to extend through the entire period of the appointment or reappointment, and must be a full-time student, counting coursework and/or its equivalent together with assistantship duties (See “Course Loads.”), throughout the period.

The holder of a full assistantship devotes one-half of available time to studies and one-half (approximately twenty [20] hours per week) to assistantship duties, whereas the holder of a half assistantship devotes three-quarters of available time to studies and one-quarter (approximately ten [10] hours per week) to assistantship duties. Assistantships are not available for less than ten (10) hours per week.

Graduate assistants divide their full-time efforts between study and assistantship responsibilities. As a result, they may not hold concurrent employment outside the University without the written consent of their major advisor.

Stipend rates for graduate assistants in programs based at Storrs or a regional campus are graduated in terms of progress toward the advanced degree and experience. All graduate assistants in programs based at the Health Center are awarded the same stipend. Nine (9) month rates for Storrs and the regional campuses can be found at: http://www.payroll.uconn.edu/. Twelve (12) month rates for the Health Center can be found at: http://studentservices.uchc.edu/financial/grad.html

Stipend rates for graduate assistants are graduated in terms of progress toward the advanced degree and experience.

  • Level 1: For graduate assistants with at least the baccalaureate
  • Level 2: For experienced graduate assistants in a doctoral program with at least the master’s degree or its equivalent in the field of graduate study. Equivalency consists of 24-credits of appropriate coursework beyond the baccalaureate completed at the University of Connecticut, together with admission to a doctoral program.
  • Level 3: For students with experience as graduate assistants who have at least the master’s degree or its equivalent and who have passed the doctoral general examination.

Tuition (but not the General University Fee, the Graduate Matriculation Fee, or other fees) is waived for graduate assistants. (See “Tuition,” for possible proration.) If an assistantship begins or terminates during the course of a semester, tuition will be prorated on a weekly schedule – charged for that portion of the semester when the assistantship is not in force, waived when it is in force. This often results in an adjustment of the tuition charges, including partial assessment (if the student is registered throughout the semester for coursework for which tuition is charged) or a partial refund (if tuition has been paid).

A graduate assistant is eligible for health insurance. Graduate assistants should be aware that it is necessary to complete the proper forms to enroll in health insurance. Health insurance does not take effect automatically. The University requires that all students have health insurance. If you have other health insurance and do not want the GA Student Health Insurance plan, you may waive the coverage by using the “GA Online Enrollment/Waiver Application” located at: http://hr.uconn.edu/ct-partnership-health-benefits/.

When graduate assistants at Storrs or a regional campus become eligible for a Level 2 or Level 3 stipend, their department may request an increase by filing a new employment authorization effective at any time after the student attains eligibility.

Additional Sources of Financial Support

Many additional sources of funding for graduate education exist through both internal and external opportunities. Opportunities to seek external funding can be found through the Office of National Scholarships & Fellowships at: http://onsf.uconn.edu/. A searchable database of opportunities can be accessed through the website, in addition to resources helpful to graduate students seeking to prepare competitive applications.

Additional internal awards are available in many programs, and students are encouraged to seek information about awards on program websites. Although not exhaustive, The Graduate School website maintains a list of internal funding opportunities.  

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