Graduate Assistantship and Tuition Waiver FAQs
The NAU Graduate College aims to provide in-depth and supportive information for students seeking a graduate assistantships or tuition waivers. Please review these frequently asked questions from graduate students and current graduate assistants.
Students seeking Graduate Assistantships
What are graduate assistantships? Accordion Closed
Graduate assistantships (GAships) are an outstanding way to fund graduate education while simultaneously developing professional skills. Graduate assistants perform vital teaching, research, and service duties to their program and earn a stipend for their work.
What benefits are included with graduate assistantships? Accordion Closed
- Full-time (20 hours/week) graduate assistantships offer:
- 100% tuition remission (excluding any university and program fees)
- a waiver of the student health insurance premium
- Part-time (10 hours/week) offer:
- 50% tuition remission (excluding any university and program fees)
- All graduate assistants with an appointment of 10 or more hours per week are considered residents for tuition purposes during the term of appointment.
What categories of assistantships are there? Accordion Closed
- Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) have primary responsibility in an instructional capacity. Services provided by a graduate teaching assistant may include lecturing, leading discussion groups, serving as an assistant to laboratory classes, counseling students, proctoring examinations, grading tests and papers, helping and providing general assistance in the instructional process.
- Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) are selected for excellence in scholarship and promise as researchers. They do part-time research as a portion of their training under the direct supervision of regular faculty members or support the research initiatives of the institution.
- Graduate Service Assistants (GSA) assist in a service unit whose mission is closely related to the student’s area of academic study and interest. The GSA is responsible to a professional member of the service unit who supervises and trains the student in the service role. The main purpose of the assignment is to assist in the service role of the unit.
What are the requirements for graduate assistantship consideration? Accordion Closed
To be considered for a graduate assistantship, students must be admitted full-time, graduate degree-seeking students, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher. Students that are conditionally admitted to a graduate program due to a GPA below 3.0 upon admission are not eligible to receive a graduate assistantship.
How do I find a graduate assistantship opportunity within my academic department? Accordion Closed
- Every year, academic and service units receive funding for GAships through the Graduate College. All units are responsible for filling positions, meaning the hiring process is unique to each unit.
- The Graduate College suggests inquiring about open opportunities with the Graduate Coordinator in the department the student is interested in pursuing a degree in or departments where their skill set would be a good match.
What is an “at-large” graduate assistantship? Accordion Closed
- Non-academic graduate assistantships that are available through many university-wide offices. These positions typically serve the university and are open to the entire graduate student community.
- Available “at-large” positions are often posted at the bottom of the Graduate Assistantship and Tuition Waiver website or on Handshake.
When is the best time to apply for a graduate assistant position? Accordion Closed
- Many positions are for the academic year meaning the fall and spring semesters. The best time to start looking for “all-year” positions is around January – May. Peak hiring season is March and April, but the Graduate College recommends consistently checking the above resources starting as early as the new year.
- Students can also find opportunities opening for the spring semester. The best time to start looking for these is end of September through November.
Can I apply for a graduate assistantship position before I am admitted into an NAU program? Accordion Closed
- Yes! A student must submit an application to an NAU graduate program to apply for a GAship. That said, they do not have to wait for an admission decision to apply for a GA position.
- A student must be admitted into a program to officially receive a graduate assistantship contract.
Students with questions about tuition waivers
What are tuition waivers? Accordion Closed
NAU tuition waivers are scholarships which pay for all or part of a student’s tuition. For online students, tuition waivers pay for up to 9 credits per semester. See SDAS online tuition rates for more information.
What is the difference between a resident and non-resident tuition waiver? Accordion Closed
- Resident waivers pay the full, in-state tuition for a student (excluding any university and program fees).
- Non-resident waivers bring a student’s out-of-state tuition to an in-state rate. The student is then responsible for paying the in-state tuition rate and their university and program fees.
What are the requirements to be considered for a tuition waiver? Accordion Closed
To be awarded a tuition waiver, students must be full-time, graduate degree-seeking students, and in good academic standing. These awards may be based on academic merit and/or financial need. They are available to both resident and non-resident graduate students. The application process for tuition waivers is available through the academic program.
How do I apply for a tuition waiver? Accordion Closed
The application process for tuition waivers is available through the academic program. Students should reach out to their graduate or program coordinator for more information on the application process.
Current or incoming graduate assistants
What do I need to do before the semester begins? Accordion Closed
- Read your contract. Once you have accepted your GAship, you will receive a contract to your NAU email. Review it and reach out to your Graduate Coordinator or supervisor with any questions.
- Read the Graduate Assistantship Handbook. Understand the policies that relate to your GAship and reach out to your Graduate Coordinator or supervisor with any questions or concerns.
- Check your NAU email regularly. The Graduate College sends out communications to GAs prior to the semester starting with detailed instructions on enrollment, health insurance, university fees, and your stipend.
- Review the Important Dates for GAs
- Enroll in 9 units or submit an Exception to 9 Units Form found on the Graduate College Forms website. Your award will not disburse unless you have met one of these requirements.
- Enroll in the semester only Student Health Care Plan (SHIP) if you are a 20-hour GA who accepted the health insurance benefit. Don’t know if you accepted the health insurance benefit? Check your contract!
- Pay your university and program fees. See the SDAS Tutorials for resources on understanding your eBill.
- Check in with your supervisor about your start day, orientation, and what you should know before your first day.
What resources should I know about? Accordion Closed
- Know who your Graduate Coordinator is and get to know your supervisor!
- The Graduate Assistantship, Fellowship, and Traineeship Policy Handbook
- The Graduate College Newsletter has resources for professional growth, funding, events, and a section for GA updates. Always review the Newsletter!
- Career Development
- The Teaching and Learning Center
- The University Writing Commons
- Louie’s Cupboard
- Health Promotions
- NAU Counseling Center
Where can I find policies related to my graduate assistantship? Accordion Closed
How do I troubleshoot stipend issues? Accordion Closed
All stipend and pay issues should be communicated with your supervisor and Human Resources.
How do I troubleshoot disbursement issues related to my tuition remission or health insurance benefit? Accordion Closed
- Check that you are enrolled in at least 9 units or confirm your exception to 9 unit form is on file.
- Make sure there are no holds on your account.
- Confirm with campus health that you are enrolled in the semester only SHIP.
- Reach out to your supervisor or graduate coordinator.
- Call NAU Campus Health for and student health insurance questions.
Do I have to make up hours on university holidays or for snow closures? Accordion Closed
- If you are regularly scheduled on a day that falls on a university holiday you are not required to make up those hours.
- If the university closes due to inclement weather and you are scheduled to work on campus, you do not need to make up those hours.
Can I extend my GAship for another year or semester? Accordion Closed
The policy related to this question can be found in the The Graduate Assistantship, Fellowship, and Traineeship Policy Handbook.