Frequently Asked Questions

Students talking in Freedom Square


Q: What is a graduate assistantship?
A: Assistantships provide graduate students with the financial resources necessary to pursue their degrees. This financial support - stipend and tuition remission, - is part of the University’s commitment to the success of our graduate students. The University is committed to ensuring that graduate assistant assignments are productive, enhance student qualifications, meet funding support and workload goals, and are consistent with the educational objectives of the student and his or her program.

 

Q: How does a graduate student search and apply for a graduate assistantship on Handshake?
A:  Students use their Towson University NetID and password to log in to Handshake. If you do not know your NetID or password, please contact Student Computing Services at  or 410-704-5151. Once your account is established, type in 'Graduate Assistantships' in the search bar.   Go to Handshake FAQ's for more details if needed.

 

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: Graduate assistants work 10 hours or 20 hours a week, depending on the terms of their contract. 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 assistants must be able to satisfy their graduate assistantship 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: A graduate student who receives a 20 hour, 9-month assistantship receives a stipend and a maximum tuition waiver up to 24 units that will be distributed on a 12 unit per semester basis. A graduate student who receives a 10 hour, 9 month assistantship receives a stipend and a maximum tuition waiver up to 12 units that will be distributed on a 6 unit per semester basis.

Please see the Graduate Assistantship Handbook for the additional assistantship types and payments.

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.

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