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 eligible to apply for a position.  Irregular and non-degree status students are not eligible for financial aid or graduate assistantships.

Additionally, prospective Graduate Assistants enrolled in the Georgia WebMBA® program are ineligible for a tuition waiver. While they may still hold an assistantship, Valdosta State University is unable to waive tuition to the Georgia WebMBA® program.

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.  Students are encouraged to apply to any and all positions of interest.  Students are also encouraged to contact supervisors regarding the status of their application.
  • Departments/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 onboarding process 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 are also REQUIRED to present identity documents as required by the I-9 form.  This is required BEFORE employment may begin.  

    No Graduate Assistant should begin employment without clearance from the Graduate Assistantship Coordinator.

  • 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 at which the student will be required to provide I-9 acceptable documents for hiring paperwork. Please see below link for acceptable I-9 documents.

https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/acceptable-documents/list-documents/form-i-9-acceptable-documents

NOTE: Under no circumstances will photo copies of ID's/documents be accepted. If a prospective GA does not come to their paperwork session with acceptable documents for hire, they will be unable to begin their assistantship until such a time as they are prepared.

What is the stipend?

The stipend amount varies by type of GA position and time of year. 

Academic Year

Categories                                     14 hour                        19 hour
Administrative GA                           $2,250                         $3,000           
  -Housing
  -Athletics
  -All others
Teaching Assistant                          $2,250                         $3,000
Lab Assistant                                  $2,580                         $3,500
Research Assistant                          $2,580                         $3,500
Teacher of Record                           $3,000                         $4,000


Summer Semester (May, June & July) – Prorated if hired for June/July

Categories                                     14 hour                        19 hour
Administrative GA                           $1,660                         $2,250           
  -Housing
  -Athletics
  -All others
Teaching Assistants                         $1,660                         $2,250
Lab Assistants                                $1,935                         $2,625
Research Assistants                         $1,935                         $2,625
Teachers of Record                          $2,250                         $3,000

How does the Assistantship Tuition Waiver work?

TUITION IS REDUCED in the following manner for both in-state and out-of-state students:

  • Academic Year: GA's receive a stipend and tuition waiver for up to 15 credit hours. Any additional credits taken will be charged to the GA at the in-state rate.
  • SUMMER: GA's receive a stipend and tuition waiver for up to 9 credit hours (semester I, II, III, IV). Any additional credits taken will be charged to the GA at the in-state rate.

GA's are responsible for paying the first $38 of tuition and all other fees (i.e. athletic, activity, transportation, health clinic, health insurance premiums, etc.). GA's are also responsible for their own living expenses and books.

Additionally, prospective Graduate Assistants enrolled in the Georgia WebMBA® program are ineligible for a tuition waiver. While they may still hold an assistantship, Valdosta State University is unable to waive tuition to the Georgia WebMBA® program.

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:

  • 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.

    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 working day of each month. Pay is issued through direct deposit. Pay stubs and the W2 are available for view via OneUSG 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 recording time?

Graduate assistants are hired for either 14 hours per week or 19 hours per week. GA's hired for 14 hours per week are to work up to 224 hours during the semester. GA's hired for 19 hours per week are to work up to 304 hours during the semester allowing flexibility week by week.

GA's are required to report all hours worked in OneUSG.

What about holidays and missed work?

Generally, 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. Because GA's work either 224 or 304 per semester, hours missed due to ilness or other absence can be made up through out the semester.

GA's in some offices (e.g. Housing & Residence Life, Athletics, etc.) may be required to work during holidays, breaks, and inclimate weather.

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 GAs must stay focused on their coursework and grades!

What is the length of my assistantship?

Graduate assistantships are for increments of one or two academic years. Summersemester assistantships are awarded based on strategic need and remaining graduate school funding.

The GA appointment form will note the length of the assistantship. The GA will continue in the position as long as the GA Supervisor deems the GA performance as satisfactory.

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!