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Funding

Funding your graduate education is just as important as selecting the right graduate program.  There are several available funding opportunities available such as: university funding, federal loans, bank loans, scholarship and fellowships.  As a potential or current student, it is extremely important to research available funding options for graduate education.  

NCCU offers enrolled students financial support through graduate assistantships and tuition assistance. Graduate students may  also apply for financial aid through the Office of Scholarships and Student Aid (OSSA).

Assistantship

North Carolina Central University (NCCU) provides a limited number of graduate assistantships to qualified graduate students. Duties may include teaching, laboratory supervision, research or service related to a student's program of study. Assistantship appointments are at the discretion of the hiring department and subject to approval by the Graduate School. Students should contact their academic departments for availability and details on the positions.

Criteria

  • You must have applied for and been clearly admitted to a graduate degree program at NCCU (Certification and Non-degree programs do not qualify).
  • You must maintain at least a 3.0 (B) overall graduate grade point average. If it is your first semester as a Graduate student, you will not have a graduate GPA.
  • You must maintain full-time graduate enrollment while on an assistantship (minimum of 9 semester hours of graduate credit in fall and spring, 6 semester hours of graduate credit in the summer).

The stipend for each academic year is $4,000 per semester.  Some departments may award half assistantships.

Graduate Tuition Awards

Graduate Tuition Awards are for residents of North Carolina and pays for the cost of in-state graduate tuition. Non-residents may also receive a Graduate Tuition Award to pay the in-state component of tuition. Fees are not covered by these funds. Students must have a full or half graduate assistantship or provide some form of service such as Federal Work-Study or University Work-Aid with a value of at least $1,000.00 per semester to qualify for a Graduate Tuition Award. For continued tuition award support, the graduate student must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0.  For more information about Graduate Tuition Award, please click here.

Graduate Tuition Remission

Graduate Tuition Remission is for students classified as non-residents and reduces the cost of out-of-state tuition to that of the in-state rate. Fees are not covered by these funds. Students must have a full or half graduate assistantship or provide some form of service such as Federal Work-Study or University Work-Aid with a value of at least $1,000.00 per semester to qualify for a Graduate Tuition Remission. For continued tuition remission support, the graduate student must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0.  For more information about Graduate Tuition Remission, please click here.

Important Information: Background checks are required of all graduate assistants. Students nominated for graduate assistantships must submit their information via the Human Resources Online Employment System to authorize initiation of the background check. You will be notified within 7 to 10 days of the outcome of the background screening.

Other Funding Opportunities

Through the Graduate Student Association (GSA), the School of Graduate Studies offers funding assistance for travel.  This funding is particularly for students who are registered to present their research at a conference. Students seeking funding for international travel will not receive 100% of travel funds needed to participate in a conference hosted outside of the United States.  For more details regarding this topic, please visit the Graduate Student Association in Room 311 of the Taylor Education Building or call (919) 530-6126.

Another source of funding is student loans.  You can apply for federal student loans by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application and selecting NCCU as the university to receive your FAFSA file.  You may start the FAFSA application process by going to the FAFSA website.  Additionally, click here to check FAFSA application deadline dates for North Carolina.  Don't forget to select North Carolina as your state and 2016-2017 as the school year you are applying for aid.  NCCU's code is 002950.

In addition to funding managed through the School of Graduate Studies, NCCU's Office of Scholarships and Student Aid provides information about the FAFSA and other types of funding that may be available to graduate students. To see NCCU's available scholarships listing click here.

NCCU Graduate Assistantship and Tuition Award Policy

Students admitted to the Graduate School may be awarded financial support in the form of an assistantship.  Graduate assistants enhance the college community with their service and are valuable assets to the learning process.  The assistantship assignments may support teaching, research or other missions of the university. Graduate assistants provide a variety of services including leading class discussions, researching, grading assignments, as well as work on various projects throughout campus.  Assistantships should be mutually beneficial for the student and the department in which they serve.

An effective use of graduate assistants helps the University to meet its goals and allows faculty to concentrate on other demands.   A well-structured graduate assistantship program creates role models for undergraduate students and increases the chance that students receive specialized attention.

As representatives of the student body and the university as a whole, graduate assistants are held to certain standards.

  1. Graduate assistants possess a demonstrated competence and interest in the subject matter or area in which they will be assisting.
  2. Graduate assistants show an appreciation for the theory and practice of the subject matter by attending, participating in and planning seminars, symposia, or workshops.  This may also include research and publication.
  3. Graduate assistants are committed to the mission of the institution through the obtainment of knowledge.

Graduate Assistantship

The Dean of the School of Graduate Studies is assigned oversight responsibility for distributing Graduate Assistantship stipend, tuition remission, and tuition award funds, as well as monitoring the impact of this form of graduate student support on graduate enrollment. The distribution of this kind of categorical support is based upon the recommendations from each graduate unit and the amount of available funds. The Colleges and Schools deans will be informed each academic year of the funds that have been allocated for stipend, tuition remission and tuition awards. The NC General Assembly appropriates monies to the Board of Governors to be allocated to campuses with graduate programs.

Criteria

Eligibility for graduate assistantships administered by the School of Graduate Studies includes the following:

  • Unconditional admission to a graduate degree program
  • Full-time graduate enrollment (typically a minimum of 6 or 9 credit hours per term)

o   A regular graduate student must be registered for at least 9 credit hours and at most 15
credit hours in order to receive a graduate assistantship.
o   A thesis level graduate student must be enrolled in 3-6 credit hours to receive a graduate assistantship.

  • A master’s seeking graduate student cannot receive an assistantship from the University for more than two years.
  • Ph.D. students may not have an assistantship for more than 5 years.
  • Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0, and
  • Good academic standing and a record of clear progress toward completing the degree program.

Rules regarding grant/contract related graduate assistantships:

  • Graduate students receiving assistantships from contracts and grants are to comply with the terms of the grant or contract as determined by the agency.
  • All paperwork required to initiate an assistantship for a graduate student on a contract or grant must be signed off by the graduate dean for reporting and fund tracking purposes.

Types of Graduate Assistants

Graduate assistantships are university funds or contracts and grants that are to be given to full-time students who will work and offer assistance to department is the following areas:

  • Helping professors with research and data collection that will lead to publications for the professor and/or the student;
  • Assisting professors with classroom instruction by performing such tasks as proctoring exams, grading papers, reading papers, assisting in laboratory experiments;
  • Helping departments in the areas of accreditation preparation, required university and other reporting;
  • Aiding academic and administrative units with student support and other services that will provide the student with skill sets that will make them marketing in their field of study.

There are three categories of graduate assistantships:  graduate assistants, graduate teaching assistants, graduate research assistants.

Graduate Assistants.  Graduate assistants who are not teaching or research assistants may serve a variety of purposes that are critical to the goals and mission of the department they serve. Graduate assistants support departmental processes and a variety of administrative tasks including:

  • Preparation of Power Point presentations
  • Data entry and analysis
  • Web site development
  • Facilitate projects in an office with other students; serve on short-term college project teams
  • Creating and of marketing materials, peer advising/mentoring, conducting campus tours and orientation activities, and delivery of presentations

Graduate Teaching Assistants.  Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) are assigned to faculty to enhance the undergraduate classroom experience. GTAs work under faculty guidance and are assigned a variety of instructional responsibilities (depending upon their interests and experience). Graduate Assistants are primarily assigned to general education courses.  Their responsibilities include: 

  • Grading papers
  • Setting up laboratory experiences
  • Keeping class records
  • Preparing instructional materials
  • Other instructional duties 

Note:  Graduate teaching assistants may not be first year graduate students.

Graduate Research Assistant.  Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs)are assigned for the purpose of assisting with faculty and staff with university research.  This research may or may not relate directly to the student’s thesis. A student appointed as a GRA works under the direct supervision of the administrator of the research, who often may be his/her major professor.  Their responsibilities include:

  • Conducting research and analyzing data
  • Setting up laboratory experiments
  • Writing data results
  • Preparing Power Points and other various presentations for conferences

Duration of Appointments

Most appointments are for an academic year (fall and spring semesters).  Appointments may, however, be for a single semester.  Graduate assistants follow the same calendar as faculty (e.g. they are expected to start work the week before classes and continue through the week of final exams). Graduate assistants are not expected to work during periods when classes are not in session (e.g. Thanksgiving break, spring break, between semesters). Finally assistantships are not guaranteed for the following year.

Hiring a Graduate Assistant

Recommendation for the appointment of a graduate assistant is prepared by the department that wishes to employ the graduate assistant.  Once a faculty member has identified a student to recommend:

  • The funding specialist for that department will complete the Recommendation to Employ a Graduate Assistant Form and submit it to the Graduate Dean’s Office.
  • The Graduate School’s Funding Specialist will review the forms for accuracy. The student will be notified once the funding has been approved by the budget office. 
  • The funding specialists may contact the graduate school for updates on the student's behalf.

Supervision & Evaluation

Graduate assistants are assigned a supervisor at the time of their appointment. Supervisors are responsible for providing guidance to the graduate assistants by ensuring that GAs are prepared to carry out their duties.  Faculty and staff supervisors determine the assignments, supervise the work, and have the authority to recommend continuation or renewal at the end of the appointment period. Appointments and re-appointments are approved by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. 

Students are evaluated at the end of the fall and spring semesters (twice per academic year) to determine whether their work objectives were met. The supervisor is responsible for evaluating the graduate assistant for carrying out the assigned duties and responsibilities.  This should be measured against the performance standards created by the supervisor and the student at the appointment. The process for conducting the evaluation is expected to include the following:

  • A written evaluation;
  • Evaluation of the success of the graduate assistant in carrying out assignments duties according to the performance standards;
  • A conference in which the supervisor reviews the evaluation with the graduate assistant;
  • A signed copy of the evaluation by the graduate assistant to acknowledge receiving a copy of the evaluation and participating in the evaluation conference; and
  • Forward a copy of the evaluation signed by the graduate assistant to the Dean of the Graduate School for inclusion in the official personnel file of the graduate assistant.

Salaries and Stipends

To be competitive in the recruitment and retention of high quality graduate students, the University provides a compensation package. The key components of the compensation package are competitive stipends combined with tuition assistance.

All salaries and stipends for graduate assistants, whether in research, service or teaching, are determined by University policies. Stipend levels for graduate assistantships paid from grants or other sources must conform to University guidelines, however they may be at a higher pay level.  The amount of a full assistantship is set by Associate Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies in consultation with the academic deans.  Each year, the department chairs via their college/school dean will be informed of the number of full assistantship allocated to them.  Based on the department needs, the chair may choose to divide some of the full assistantships and award half assistantships.  Each department will determine the criteria for awarding full assistantships vs. half assistantships.

Graduate Tuition Awards

Graduate Tuition Awards are for residents of North Carolina and pays for the cost of in-state graduate tuition. Non-residents may also receive a Graduate Tuition Award to pay the instate component of tuition. Fees are not covered by these funds. Students must have a full or half graduate assistantship or provide some form of service such as Federal Work-Study or University Work-Aid of value at least $1,000.00 per semester to qualify for a Graduate Tuition Award. For continued tuition award support, the graduate student must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0.

Graduate Tuition Remission

Graduate Tuition Remission is for students classified as non-residents and reduces the cost of out-of-state tuition to that of the in-state rate. Fees are not covered by these funds. Students must have a full or half graduate assistantship or provide some form of service such as Federal Work-Study or University Work-Aid of value at least $1,000.00 per semester to qualify for a Graduate Tuition Remission. For continued tuition remission support, the graduate student must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.0.

The out-of-state tuition waiver is automatically applied to students' accounts when the following three criteria are met (this does not apply to level 46 bachelor's/master's students whose out-of-state tuition cannot be waived):

  • the student's appointment is entered in PeopleAdmin by the hiring department
  • the student meets the earnings criteria described above
  • the student meets the GPA criteria described above
  • the student has registered for the semester

Academic Load

Graduate assistants must be enrolled as full-time graduate students (minimum of nine semester hours and a maximum of 15 semester hours during each regular fall and spring semester; minimum of 6 hours for summer). Load above 9 hours must be approved by department chair. Graduate assistants are expected to enroll only in course work directly related to the completion of their degree requirements. Students who withdraw from classes during the term and fall below the minimum number of hours will have their assistantship revoked. Students holding instructional assistantships should not carry a combined teaching and course load in excess of fifteen semester hours.

Academic Conflict

The primary goal of the assistantship program is to facilitate the progress of the student toward the prompt and successful completion of the degree program. In no way should the graduate assistantship interfere or conflict with the educational objectives of the student.

Job Conflicts

If problems or conflicts arise in the performance of duties, the graduate assistant should discuss the situation with his/her immediate supervisor. If the problem is not resolved at that level, then the problem should be taken through the following levels until a resolution is reached: the department head, the appropriate college dean, the Dean of School of Graduate Studies.

Contract

Students offered an assistantship must sign the Graduate Assistantship Agreement form, which is a contract between the student and department. The agreement should stipulate the beginning and ending dates of the contract, the type of appointment, and amount of the monthly stipend. 

Taxes: Federal and state taxes, if applicable, are withheld from the assistantship stipend check, which is issued monthly at approximately the first and sixteenth of each month.

Accepting Additional Employment

Unless specified otherwise in the assistantship agreement contract, graduate students receiving assistantships are not prohibited from seeking additional employment; given the cumulative total of the work hours for both assignments do not exceed 20 hours per week. Students should consult with their academic advisor and/or assistantship supervisor as applicable regarding the fulfillment of their assistantship and graduate study responsibilities. Students must notify the Graduate School about any additional employment, including the period of employment, name and contact of employer, and job title or short description of duties.

Termination of Contract

A student may terminate their assistantship at any time by providing 2 weeks, written notice to the Department Chair, Graduate Program Director, and the office of Graduate Studies.  If for any reason a student leaves the assistantship appointment before the end of this contract, please refer to the table below for tuition responsibility.  The reporting supervisor may also terminate an appointment for reasons such as absenteeism, inferior work performance, poor academic performance or conduct code violation.  Supervisor must provide written notice of termination to the student, Dean of the School/College, Graduate Program Director and School of Graduate Studies.

Tuition Obligation When Students Leave Assistantships

This table will be used in calculating tuition obligations for students who leave the assistantship appointment before the end of the semester.

 Semester Class Day(s)

Student Obligation*

Department Obligation**

 Prior to first day of classes and
 one through thirteen

100% of tuition & fees

0%

 Fourteen through twenty-eight

95% - tuition only

5% of tuition scholarship

 Twenty-nine through forty-three

75% - tuition only

25% of tuition scholarship

 Forty-four through fifty-seven

55% - tuition only

50% of tuition scholarship

 Fifty-eight through seventy-one

35%- tuition only

65% of tuition scholarship

 Seventy-two through eighty-five

25%- tuition only

45% of tuition scholarship

 After day eighty-six

0%- tuition only

100% of tuition scholarship

*Student responsible for any amount not paid by department
**Percent of tuition paid by department

 
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