Assistantships frequently asked questions
Pay and benefits
- What if I don't get my first paycheck on time? Speak with the department's graduate secretary, the department administrative assistant or the person who offered you the assistantship position. That person should be able to explain why you did not get a paycheck and when you can expect one. They can trace your appointment payroll documents through the appropriate offices to find out where the problem is. Those offices include your school/college dean's office and Human Resources.
- What if I have a question about my medical, dental or vision benefits? The answer may be readily available on the Total Compensation and Wellness website. If your question is related to a particular health insurance carrier (e.g., HAP), then you will need to contact the health care provider directly. The health care provider website links are available on the Benefits Administration site. The Benefits Administration Office is at 3638 Academic/Administration Building, 313-577-3717.
- What is the Graduate School policy on pregnancy leave? Article XI, K of the GEOC-AFT Contract explains the provisions that apply to a parental leave of absence for GSAs and GTAs. The Graduate School policy extends this benefit to GRAs. The Parental Accommodation Period should not exceed six (6) weeks and begins at the child's birth or the day an adopted child joins the family of the employee. Submit a leave of absense request no later than four (4) weeks prior to the schedule start of the leave.
- Where and how do I sign up for parking? Go to the Parking and Transportation Services and OneCard offices, jointly located in room 257 of the Welcome Center, 42 W. Warren, to complete the necessary forms. The telephone numbers are 313-577-3704 and 313-577-9513, respectively.
- What if I get a tuition bill?
Do not call Student Accounts Receivable, the Cashier's Office or Financial Aid.
- If classes have not begun and your entire tuition assessment should be paid by your assistantship, ignore the first bill. Tuition payments are not disbursed until just before classes begin. If you register during Priority Registration, you will get a bill.
- If classes are in session and you registered during Priority Registration, recall if you are supposed to pay for any of your tuition. You are responsible for undergraduate, audited credits, credits not on your Plan of Work or credits that you dropped after the 100 percent reimbursement deadline. If this does not apply to you or if you have already paid your portion of the tuition assessment, inform your department's graduate secretary, administrative assistant, or the person who offered you the assistantship position. They will help determine the source of the tuition payment problem.
- Who pays my tuition?
It depends on several factors, including the source of funding for your position.
- If you are a non-Michigan resident, the Graduate School will pay the difference between the non-resident assessment and the Michigan resident assessment for all enrolled credits that are on your approved Plan of Work.
- The resident portion of your tuition assessment is paid by the Graduate School if your salary comes from a departmental general fund position, or by your department if you are supported from a grant or sponsored program fund.
- Will my graduate assistantship pay for the undergraduate course that my advisor suggested I take? No. The tuition scholarship will only pay for credits on your approved Plan of Work.
- Will my graduate assistantship pay for the course I dropped if I got all the necessary signatures? Not if you dropped it after the 100 percent reimbursement date, which is normally about two weeks after classes begin.
- I am not a Michigan resident. Isn't the Graduate School supposed to pay the non-resident portion (i.e. the difference between the non-resident and resident assessments)? Yes, but just for the semester in which you have a graduate assistant position, for the spring/summer semester following an academic year assistantship appointment, and only for credits on your approved Plan of Work.
- How much does the tuition scholarship pay? It pays for up to 10 graduate credits for each of the fall and winter semesters of an appointment and up to two graduate credits for the spring/summer appointment.
- Will the Graduate School pay my tuition during the spring/summer if I had an academic year appointment?
The Graduate School will pay:
- The difference between the non-resident and the resident portion for all graduate credits on your approved Plan of Work if you are a non-Michigan resident.
- The resident assessment for up to two graduate credits on your approved Plan of Work, as specified in the GEOC/AFT Labor Agreement, if you are supported in a general fund position. Ask your department secretary or administrative assistant.
- I heard that the Graduate School would pay for more than two credits during the spring/summer. Is that true? The Graduate School will sometimes pay for additional credits during spring/summer if it has sufficient uncommitted money remaining at the end of the winter semester. The additional credit information is typically not available until late March. The extra funds can only be used for students who are paid from a general fund account (ask your department secretary or administrative assistant).
- I am a GRA. Why can't the Graduate School pay the tuition for me too? In most cases, GRAs are paid from non-general fund accounts (i.e., grants or sponsored program accounts). The Graduate School receives funding to pay tuition for only a specific number of general fund positions. The tuition scholarship money is to be used only for those positions.
- Does the tuition scholarship pay the registration fee and the student service fee(s)? Yes. They are included in the tuition payment.
- I got a bill with late fees on it. Should I have to pay these? How do I get the late payment fees removed? No. If the university pays any portion of your tuition assessment during a semester and you have paid all fees for which you are responsible, the Student Accounts Receivable Office will remove late payment fees that are assessed for that semester. Your department graduate secretary or administrative assistant can contact the Student Accounts Receivable Office and request the fee assessment(s) be removed.
- I got charged a late registration fee but I should not have to pay it because… Will the Graduate School remove the fee? The Graduate School has no authorization to remove or cancel late registration fees. If you feel the circumstances that prevented you from registering on time were outside your control, speak with your department graduate secretary or administrative assistant. If that person agrees, they can explain the situation to the Registrar's Office and request cancellation of the fee. Note that cancellation will be approved only in circumstances that are deemed to be outside the control of the student.
- How much do I owe? I registered for more credits than the tuition scholarship will cover. You pay the resident per-credit rate plus the student service fee per-credit rate, multiplied by the number of extra credits you are taking.
- I paid my tuition assessment and now I have an assistantship and want my money back. How do I get it back? Once your tuition scholarship payment is applied, you should be sent a reimbursement; however, if too much time has passed, send an email to Tricia Koufes (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Lakshmi Sabapathy (email@example.com) explaining the situation and, Student Accounts Receivable will be asked to have a reimbursement check mailed to you. The reimbursement cannot be processed until your tuition account shows a credit balance indicating that there is an excess payment in your account.
- I'm not a Michigan resident. Do I need to pay the non-resident rate? Not while you are a graduate assistant and not as long as all the credits are on your approved Plan of Work.
- I have a HOLD and I can't register. What should I do?
Determine what kind of HOLD you have. If the information regarding the hold is unclear, ask your department's graduate secretary or administrative assistant. They should be able to determine the type of HOLD you have and then you proceed as follows:
- International Student/Health Insurance HOLD — go to the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS), suite 416 of the Welcome Center, 313-577-3422.
- Candidacy/Academic HOLD — if you are a master's student, go to your department or school/college graduate office (typically this office is within the school/college dean's office). If you are a Ph.D. student, go to the Graduate School Ph.D. Office.
- Financial HOLD— first determine if you are responsible for any of your tuition assessment.
- I have a loan and it paid my tuition. Why and how do I get my money?
Tuition payments are scheduled as early as possible; however, sometimes circumstances prevent the tuition from disbursing prior to need-based financial aid.
Contact Tricia Koufes, The Graduate School, 313-577-2145, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Lakshmi Sabapathy, 313-577-8051, email@example.com to determine who was responsible for paying your tuition (the Graduate School or your department) and facilitate the tuition payment and reimbursement of your loan.
- Whom do I call if I didn't get my loan money? Contact the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, The Welcome Center, 42 W. Warren, 313-577-3378.
- Where do I take my loan deferment form for signature? The Registrar's Office completes the form. In some cases, that office may send the form to the Graduate School (if you have a fellowship). The Registrar's Office is located at 5057 Woodward, suite 5101.
Full-time status, minimum enrollment or support maximums
- I do not have any credits left to take and I need to be full-time, and/or I want to be a graduate assistant and don't have the minimum six credits remaining to take. What can I do?
- If you are a master's student and have completed all course and thesis credits, you cannot be considered full-time unless you are enrolled for eight credits (fall or winter) and/or two credits during the spring/summer. You can request approval to be a graduate assistant for one semester only, as long as you are enrolled for one required credit. Submit a written request, signed by your advisor, to the dean of the Graduate School, 5057 Woodward, suite 6305.
- If you are a Ph.D. student and have completed all required credits, you may enroll for maintenance fee status. This will permit you to be considered full-time and to be supported as a graduate assistant as long as you have not exceeded the maximum number of semesters of support.
- If you are an international student, you must also get approval from the Office of International Students and Scholars.
- What is the maximum number of semesters that I can be supported? You can be supported for no more than a total of 12 semesters in any combination of assistantship or institutional fellowship.
Additional service assignments
- I am a graduate assistant and I want to work at another job too. Can I do this? If the other job is within the university, all graduate assistants must request and receive prior approval to do this. Submit a completed, fully signed copy of the Additional Service Assignment Request form. If the other job is outside the university, graduate research assistants must request approval. Follow the procedure outlined above for within the university. Graduate teaching assistants and graduate student assistants are permitted to accept employment outside the university in accordance with the regulations outlined in the GEOC/AFT Labor Agreement (Article XXII).
- How do I know if I am represented by the GEOC Labor Agreement? Graduate teaching assistants and graduate student assistants are represented by the GEOC Labor Agreement, with the exception of those who serve as counselors, supervisors, confidential employees or coaches.
- How do I get a copy of the GEOC Labor Agreement? The contract is available on the GEOC website. A limited number of printed contracts are available in the Graduate School and Academic Affairs.
- What If I have questions about the GEOC Labor Agreement? The answer(s) to your question(s) may be available on the Graduate School website or the GEOC website. If not, you may contact Lakshmi Sabapathy, 313-577-8051; or the GEOC Office at 313-831-5259.
- I have some personal (not academic) problems that are affecting my work and studies. Who can I turn to for help and/or advice? As a graduate assistant, you are eligible to use the Employee Assistance Program. The program provides confidential, professional assistance and counseling, in addition to referral services. The program is available free to all persons who have medical benefits through the university. If referral is advised, the EAP counselor will investigate whether or not your medical insurance program will cover any or all costs associated with the referral. Call 1-800-448-8326 or visit the website.
- How can I find out more information about assistantships or other sources of funding? Visit the Graduate School funding page.