Graduate Assistants FAQ's

Am I eligible for a Graduate Assistantship?

You must be admitted as a degree-seeking graduate student under “regular” or “probationary” status before you are allowed to apply for a position.  Irregular and non-degree status students are not eligible for financial aid or graduate assistantships.

How do I apply for an assistantship?

Students can apply through the GA application portal located at the Assistantship Application Portal.

How are applications processed?

  • Students may apply for more than one position.
  • Departments have access to applications on line.  Employers will review applications, decide who to interview, and then to whom they will award the assistantships. The Graduate Assistant Coordinator does NOT place students with departments.
  • Assistantships can be awarded at any time after the student is eligible.
  • If awarded an assistantship, please NOTE:  all new graduate assistants are required to complete a background check as part of the initial set up of their assistantships. This procedure is implemented in keeping with VSU's Human Resources policy that any employee once hired must go through a background check before starting their employment.
  • Students who apply are not guaranteed a position. Therefore, it is recommended that students apply for any and all other types of financial aid – just in case.
  • New GAs are required to attend a MANDATORY orientation/training session.

What is the stipend?

The semester stipend varies by position. The stipend range is $3000 to $8,000 per semester depending on the type of assistantship awarded. Summer pay will vary.

How does the Assistantship Tuition Waiver work?

TUITION IS REDUCED in the following manner for both in-state and out-of-state students (effective Fall 2011):

  • FALL and SPRING: A GA will receive a tuition waiver after payment of the first $38 in tuition each semester for a total of up to 15 credit hours in the fall and 15 credit hours in the spring. Any additional credits taken will be charged to the GA at the in-state rate.
  • SUMMER: A GA will receive a tuition waiver after payment of the first $38 in tuition for a total of up to 9 credit hours in the summer (semester I, II, III, IV). Any additional credits taken will be charged to the GA at the in-state rate.

Students are also responsible for paying all other fees (i.e. athletic, activity, transportation, health clinic, access card, etc.), in addition to health insurance premiums (see Mandatory Student Health Insurance Program below). Students are also responsible for their own living expenses and books. Visit the Graduate Student Fee Schedule page for more information.

This $38 in tuition and other fees are set by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. 

Regardless of waiver status, ALL tuition and fees must be paid before the fee payment deadline in order to avoid dropped classes.  In the case where a graduate assistantship waiver is applied AFTER the student has paid tuition and fees, a reimbursement of the waived portion will be sent to the student.

What about the Mandatory Student Health Insurance Program?

Any graduate student receiving an assistantship must either participate in the student health insurance program as mandated by the USG Board of Regents or request a waiver of participation by showing proof of coverage under a group plan.  The waiver must be requested each semester.

Note: United Health Care is the current insurance carrier! Students can apply for insurance premium waivers through UHC's Web site.

To apply for a waiver of insurance premiums Spring 2013:

  • About halfway down the page is a link for a "waiver form" which a student can select and then enter their student ID (870 number) and date of birth. Follow prompts to provide requested information.
  • Remember that a third party company is reviewing the waiver requests and they are supposed to have a decision within a week of submitting the request.

    The Waiver Period will close on May 24, 2013.

    No waivers for Summer 2013 will be processed after the close date. Please be aware that students must opt out of the plan by applying for a waiver through the on-line process each semester.

Here is an overview of the premiums and benefits.

How and when do we get paid?

Graduate assistants are paid once a month – the last day of each month. The first paycheck is a paper check which will be mailed to the printed address on the Orange Graduate Assistant Application Form. After the first paycheck, pay is issued through direct deposit. Pay stubs and the W2 are available for view via ADP/Shared Services portal. A Graduate Assistant can find instructions for registering for the system through the Newly Hired and Current Graduate Assistants page.

How many hours do GAs work, and what about time sheets?

Graduate assistants work an average of 14 hours per week.  Graduate Assistants are required to keep a log of hours worked.  GAs do not have to submit time sheets to the Graduate School or Payroll or register time worked in ADP Services.

What about holidays and missed work?

Graduate assistants do not have to work or make up hours when the university is closed due to holidays, inclement weather, fall break, or spring break.  They should make up hours missed due to illness or other absences.

What happens if my GPA drops below 3.0?

Graduate assistants must maintain a 3.0 GPA in order to keep their assistantships.  If the GPA drops below 3.0, the assistantship will be terminated.  Graduate students must have a 3.0 to graduate, so it is recommended that GAs stay focused on their coursework and grades!

How is my assistantship renewed?

Graduate assistantships are set up for one semester at the time. Once awarded, if an assistantship is to be continued into another semester (pending available funding), the supervisor must send a memo or e-mail confirming the renewal to Ms. Michelle Jordan at the Graduate School (sojordan@valdosta.edu).  The student will need to sign a new appointment form reflecting the renewal.

How many credit hours do I need to take to be eligible for an assistantship?

Students must be enrolled in a minimum of six (6) graduate-level hours each semester they have the assistantship. NO EXCEPTIONS!

How long can I be a graduate assistant?

Students may keep their assistantships up to two years as long as departments are satisfied with their performance.