Clarifications on the recommendations related to graduate assistantships

Message sent to deans, department chairs and faculty on Feb. 28, 2017

Dear Deans, Chairs/Directors and Faculty,

In an effort to clarify some of the details concerning implementation of the new graduate student funding model, the Executive Committee of the Graduate Council has put together the note below (also available for download). I am in full support of this plan, which was brought forward by faculty after substantive deliberation, and look forward to working with all of you to see that it is implemented efficiently.


Rex D. Ramsier
Senior Vice President and Provost

Clarifications on the Recommendations

February 22, 2017

There has been some confusion regarding the recommendations made by the Graduate Council for Graduate Assistantship (GA) funding that were also approved by the Faculty Senate. This note serves to clarify these recommendations.

1. No stipends for Graduate Research Assistantships will be funded from the Graduate School starting Fall 2017.


  1. Full-time graduate students who receive a stipend for research (e.g. Federal/State Grants, Industry Awards, etc.) funded from external sources at or above the minimum level established by the UA Research Office will continue to receive tuition awards from the Graduate School up to the maximum number of credits required for the program in which the student is registered.
  2. All GA contracts should clearly state the duties associated with the assignment.

2. Tuition awards for Community Industrial Graduate Assistants (CIGAs) are limited to no more than the stipend funding received from external sources.


  1. In programs where no minimum level has been established, the tuition award will be no more than the stipend funding received from the external sources. In programs where the minimum level has been established, see above.

3. Restrict tuition awards to the number of credits required for the graduate program. Current students will be held harmless until the required number of credit hours for the degree program is reached, but not thereafter. Exceptions will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.


  1. Current master’s students who have already earned the minimum number of credits required for their respective programs will be notified by their respective college deans that the limit of their financial support from the Graduate School has been reached (and they should graduate as soon as possible). As such, no further financial support will be provided effective Fall 2017.
  2. Current master’s students who are supported by external research awards, CIGA awards, or startup funding from the university, are also subject to this maximum in terms of tuition awards from the Graduate School.
  3. Students who must still complete program core requirements that are documented and are within the time limitations established by the Graduate School, will continue to get financial support if eligible academically. Students who have exceeded time limitations for the program will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.

4. Approximately 30% of current funding will be maintained in support of a new model for terminal master’s funding. This is subject to annual review of the funding.


  1. On December 16, 2016 college deans were asked by the Graduate School to provide a list of anticipated graduating master’s students. Based on the returned lists of students provided by the deans, it is estimated that it will free up $1.3M in stipends and about $4.5M in tuition awards. Further, of this $4.5M tuition award funding, $2.8M is indexed to students who were receiving stipends from the Graduate School and $1.7M is indexed to students receiving funding from other sources including CIGAs.
  2. The proposal approved by the Graduate Council and the Faculty Senate anticipated freed-up money of $1.5M in stipend funding and $4.5M in tuition award funding for the first year.
  3. The approved Graduate Council proposal includes $750,000 to be allocated for funding stipends for new (entering) master’s students for Fall 2017 and $1 Million in tuition awards to be allocated for these new (entering) master’s students. This will leave a combined savings of $4.25M in stipend and tuition awards in year one. Similar savings are expected for year two. Thus, going forward this strategy will result in a savings of $8.5M each year.
  4. The Provost in consultation with academic college deans will allocate $0.75M in stipends and $1M in tuition award funding to individual colleges. The Deans in consultation with their chairs will distribute the respective allocations to the departments within the college. A similar process is expected to take place in year two.
  5. Students in departments that do not offer a doctoral program (except certain programs for which the terminal degree is a master degree—such as the MFA) will be admitted under the new model starting in Fall 2017. Under the new model, few students will get stipends and tuition awards and other students may get partial stipends, partial tuition awards or partial stipends and tuition awards.
  6. Students who are admitted to only master’s programs in departments that also offer a doctoral program are subject to this new model for funding.
  7. Students admitted directly to a doctoral program who earn a master’s degree on the way are considered as doctoral students and are not subject to this new funding model for master’s students.