Office of Graduate Studies

Graduate Assistantships  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a graduate assistantship?
A: Towson University Office of Graduate Studies administers a program offering a limited number of graduate assistantships to help graduate students cover some of their expenses as well as to give them professional experience as they pursue their degree.  Three types of graduate assistantships are available:

  • Administrative Graduate Assistantship
  • Teaching Assistantship
  • Research Assistantship

Q: Where are assistantships available?
A:  Each college can award a number of graduate assistantships.  Applicants will be placed in their major program if possible.  Other positions are available in other academic programs and administrative offices.  External assistantships, if applicable, can be arranged at businesses or nonprofit organizations off campus.

Q: What are the responsibilities of a graduate assistant?
A:
Graduate assistants are responsible for a variety of activities, including assistance to faculty and administrators, research, and diverse assignments for external employers. Assistants provide appropriate work for the number of hours per week specified in the letter of appointment.

Q: What are the requirements to apply?
A:  Graduate student must be:

  • Admitted into a graduate program at Towson University
  • Maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 while enrolled in the program

Q: How many hours must a graduate assistant work each week?
A: The graduate assistantship offers a choice of 20 or 10 hours to work per week. With attendance in classes and study, 20 hours is expected to be a full time undertaking. The 10 hours is designed to accommodate special needs of the departments. Graduates who are awarded 10 hours assistantships must satisfies their responsibilities to the university without interference from outside employment.

Q:What are the minimum unit requirements per semester?
A:  Full-time (20 hours) assistants must register for a minimum of six course units; and half-time (10 hours) assistants must register for at least three course units.

Q:Can unused tuition waiver carry over from one semester to another?
A:Tuition waivers are awarded per semester; unused tuition waiver will not carry over into the proceeding semester.

Q:How are graduate assistants compensated?
A:
Based on a 9- month 20-hour position the administrative graduate assistants receive a stipend of $5000.  The graduate assistant will also receive a maximum tuition waiver up to 24 credits that will be distributed on a 12 credit per semester basis.  A 9-month 10-hr graduate assistant will receive a stipend of $2500 and a maximum tuition waiver up to 12 waiver credits, distributed on a 6 credit per semester basis.  Students who are awarded teaching assistantships and research assistantships receive higher stipends.  Please see the Graduate Assistantship Handbook for the additional assistantship types and payments. http://grad.towson.edu/finance/ga/index.asp

Please Note:  The Graduate Assistantship Program only will pay tuition waiver for degree required courses and prerequisite courses that pertain to the graduate assistant’s degree program.

Q: Are health care benefits or other benefit types tied to a graduate assistantship?
A:
The graduate assistantship office does not offer healthcare or retirement benefits to graduate assistants.  Students are encouraged to contact the Dowell Health Center for healthcare insurance options.

Q: Is the stipend taxable?
A:
Yes, the stipend is considered taxable income.  Contact the IRS to determine if tuition waivers are tax-exempt.

Q: Will my assistantship benefits affect my eligibility for student loans and other forms of financial aid?
A: Consult the Financial Aid/Student Loan Adjustment section of the Graduate Assistant Handbook in addition review Towson University’s standard financial aid budget chart:  www.towson.edu/main/finaid/finaidbasics/cost.asp

Q: How does a graduate student apply for a graduate assistantship?
A: Complete and submit an on-line application via the following link http://grad.towson.edu/finance/ga/ga_app.asp Note:  Hard copy applications and resumes are no longer accepted.

  • Graduate assistantship applications are housed in a database and made available to department heads and supervisors for review.   Applicants should submit a new application each year by April 1st to ensure the application remains active and available.
  • The department will contact the student directly to schedule an interview upon selection.  In addition to completing the on-line application, students are encouraged to contact their program director to inquire about possible assistantship opportunities relative to their field of study and/or various campus departments of interest.  Keep in mind, gaining a assistantship position can be quite competitive since there are far more applicants in comparison to position available, so independent networking is essential.
  • For additional information consult the Graduate Assistantship Handbook or the Graduate Assistantship Office at 410 704 4484 or via email at gao@towson.edu.  Below are the office hours for the Graduate Assistantship Office:

Tuesday  & Thursday 9:30 - 3:00
Wednesday & Friday 11:30 - 5:00

Please Note:  Students are not allowed to begin work until they have completed the I-9 process with the Department of Human Resources.

 

 

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