Assistantship FAQ’s

What are the academic requirements for keeping the assistantship?

All students on tuition-bearing assistantships must be registered for a minimum of 6 hours of academic credit (whether coursework or thesis/dissertation research hours). In addition, the combination of coursework/research credit hours and assistantship (IDGR) hours must total at least 9 hours for students with tuition-bearing assistantships. The 599/699 reduced-enrollment options (3 hours or 1 hour) are not available for students on assistantships or other graduate student employees. To hold an assistantship you must have a UA GPA of at least 3.0 and be making satisfactory progress towards your degree. Please see the Graduate Catalog for details.

My assistantship has a 0.50 FTE. What does that mean?

Your assistantship requires you to provide work or service for an average number of hours per week. That workload is compared with regular full time work hours here at the University and converted to a Full Time Equivalency, or FTE. Most regular assistantships have a 20 hour per week workload, which converts to a 0.50 FTE; 10 hours is the same as 0.25 FTE, and so on. The FTE also determines the value of benefits associated with the assistantship (see below).

How will the tuition, technology/infrastructure fees, and course specific fees scholarship be paid?

The tuition, technology/infrastructure fees, and course specific fees scholarship associated with your assistantship is credited directly to your MyBama student account. The amount of your scholarship and the semesters covered are set out in your offer letter. Your scholarship is processed and validated through the University’s GA TOPS system before it can be credited to your account. You will receive email notification when your scholarship has been added to the GA TOPS system. If the scholarship is not showing up correctly in your student account, please ask your supervisor (departmental assistantships) or Graduate School to check and confirm that it has been processed through this system.

What does the tuition and technology/infrastructure and course fees scholarship cover?

The value of the benefits associated with your assistantship is based on your residency status for tuition charges and the base FTE of the award as set out in your award letter. Tuition and fee scholarships may only be used to cover actual tuition charges for confirmed registration; any unused dollars cannot be transferred to another expense or cashed. Tuition and fee scholarships are based on the FTE of your assistantship award. A 0.50 FTE assistantship pays 100% of your tuition (up to 15 hours), 100% of your single health insurance premium, and 100% of of your technology/infrastructure fees and course specific fees. A 0.25 FTE assistantship pays 50% of your tuition (up to 15 hours), 50% of your single health health insurance benefit, and 50% of your technology/infrastructure fees and course specific fees. Items such as international student fees, health center fees, recreation fees, and other non-tuition items, are not covered. Tuition and fee scholarships are not usually available for summer semesters under assistantship awards.

How does my stipend get to me?

Assistantship stipends are paid through the UA Payroll Office. Your department will create and ask you to sign a Memorandum of Appointment (MOA) that will include the monthly or hourly rate for your appointment, the total salary payable, the start and end dates of the appointment, the FTE, and the assigned duties for your appointment. If you didn’t get an MOA please ask your supervisor to prepare one for you. Your assistantship stipend cannot be paid until you have satisfied the minimum enrollment and GPA requirements. If your appointment starts and ends mid-month, you will receive half the regular monthly rate in those months.

When is my stipend paid to me?

For assistantships, the first payment will be made by Payroll on the last working day of the month in which your assistantship starts. For fall, most assistantships start on August 16th. This means that your first payment will be for half a month on August 31st.

How do I set up the direct deposit?

Students on graduate assistantships are required to set up a direct deposit for their paycheck. Go to your MyBama student account online; select “Employee” from the left side menu. Under “Employee Dashboard” choose Direct Deposit Information. Follow the instructions to add a new bank account for automatic deposits. You will need your bank’s routing number and your account number to complete the set-up for direct deposit. For further assistance, please contact Human Resources Service Center.

What about income taxes?

The impact of both federal and state taxes varies from case to case and upon your nationality as well as many other factors. All monies paid to students by the University are declarable to the tax authorities. At the end of each tax year during which you receive an assistantship you will receive an IRS Form W2 that must be submitted with your tax return. Before accepting any award, you should consult with your tax advisor or preparer to determine how your tax position may be impacted. For more information please check the IRS Publication 970. International students must register with the UA Tax Office to determine the extent of their withholding taxes.

What about Financial Aid?

Assistantships may reduce the base level of total allowable federal financial aid. If you plan to receive federal loans or financial aid, please contact the UA Student Financial Aid office.

How does the health insurance benefit work?

Please see the Health Insurance FAQ page for more details.

International Students

Unless you provide proof of adequate student health insurance that is approved by the University before the start of classes each semester and receive a formal waiver, the University will automatically enroll you in its student health insurance plan. Your student account will initially be billed for the single coverage health insurance premium. We will then apply a grant that will pay the cost of the single coverage premium. The grant to cover your health insurance is subject to 14% tax. This tax will be added to your student account mid-October for the fall semester and mid-March for the spring and summer semesters.

To apply for a waiver, submit the waiver form. The deadline to apply for a waiver is the last day to register for classes (around August 24) for the fall semester, and January 18 for the spring and spring/summer semesters.

If you are receiving a partial health insurance benefit, your scholarship amount will be pro-rated based on the award. In order to receive the benefit you will need to pay the portion of the premium not covered by the benefit.

Domestic Students

You must formally accept or decline the health insurance benefit associated with your award (see below for details) by the stated deadline (see below for dates). If you are receiving a partial health insurance benefit, your scholarship amount will be pro-rated based on the award. In order to receive the benefit you will need to pay the portion of the premium not covered by the benefit.

Once you accept, the University will purchase for you fall and/or spring/summer semester single coverage under the UA Student Health Insurance plan for the period August 1 through December 31 for the fall and/or January 1 through July 31 for the spring/summer coverage.

What is the process for receiving the health insurance benefit?

After the enrollment period opens for the semester the Graduate School will send an email to all domestic students receiving the full insurance benefit inviting them to accept or decline the insurance online. Follow the instructions in the email. You must abide by the deadlines. If you have a partial award, you will receive a different email from the Graduate School with separate instructions for claiming your benefit and paying your contribution.

If you are an international students, you do not need to take any action. You are automatically enrolled in the student plan unless you receive a waiver.

Can I purchase additional health insurance coverage under the University’s plan for spouse and/or children?

Please see the Health Insurance FAQ for the cost and process to add dependents.

Is there a deadline to register for the health insurance?

Please see “When do I purchase the health insurance?” in the Health Insurance FAQ.

What if I don’t want the health insurance benefit?

For international students, you may ONLY decline the UA Student Health Insurance if you have your own insurance equal in coverage to the University’s plan. For more information or to obtain a health insurance waiver please contact the Student Health Center.

Domestic students have the option to decline the UA Student Health Insurance plan benefit associated with their assistanship. If you have your own plan, or remain on a family or partner’s plan, you must notify the Student Health Center and decline your benefit from UA. Failure to properly and fully declare other insurance plans may jeopardize your benefits under the UA plan. If you have any questions about your health insurance, please contact the Student Health Center directly.

The health insurance benefit cannot be transferred to another expense or cashed.

What is the contact info for the Student Health Center insurance office?

Contact the Student Health Center with any question about the health insurance plan.

How do I get my insurance ID card or proof of insurance?

Your digital ID card is available at the UA United Healthcare page.

I must work a second job at UA; is that ok?

During the fall and spring semesters you are not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week average (0.50 FTE). During the summer you may work up to 40 hours per week. International students are restricted to those same limits.

My department asked me to complete a pre-employment background check. Do I have to have a check, and what is being checked?

To hold an assistantship you must pass a pre-employment check. The report will include the results of a criminal history check, a Social Security number trace and verification, and a search of the National Sex Offender registry. You will see it referred to as conducted under the Consumer Credit Act, but it is not a check of your financial credit status or credit scores. Please note that the Graduate School will use information contained in the report to determine whether false or inaccurate information was provided on your application to Graduate School. Any inconsistencies or omissions could impact employment and admission and enrollment status.

What if I withdraw from school?

You must notify the Graduate School Dean’s Office immediately of your withdrawal. Your assistantship stipend payments will cease the effective date of withdrawal as recorded by the UA Registrar’s Office. Tuition scholarships will be pro-rated based on the policies determined by Student Account Services and will match the tuition charges offset. If you withdraw before the end of the first 30 days of classes your health insurance benefit will be cancelled. However, after 30 days in class, your insurance coverage will remain in force through the remainder of the semester.

Where do I go for any other questions?