Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I’m eligible to hold a graduate assistantship?

In order to hold a graduate assistantship, a master’s level student must have completed a bachelor’s degree before the beginning of the semester or term in which the graduate assistantship begins. A doctoral level student must have completed a master’s degree before the beginning of the semester or term in which the doctoral assistantship begins. Official transcripts must be on file in the Graduate School Office of Admissions. Also, you must maintain a minimum cumulative graduate grade point average (3.000 for master’s level or 3.200 for doctoral and specialist level) to continue in the assistantship.

If I would like to apply for a graduate assistantship, where can I find information about available positions?

Available graduate assistantships can be outside your academic department are posted on Cardinal Career Link and on the Career Center Website. Positions are updated frequently throughout the year. You should also check with your department for available positions.

After getting a graduate assistantship, what are my responsibilities?

Before you can begin work or get paid, you must sign your contract for the year. If you hold an assistantship during the summer term, you will need to sign a separate contract from the one you signed for the school year. When signing your first contract, you will need to bring proper government identification documents with you, such as a social security card, driver’s license, passport or birth certificate (Copies will not be accepted) so you can fill out an I-9 at the graduate school office (West Quad 100).

The duties of your assistantship will be determined by your supervisor; however, you are required to work 20 hours a week (Including finals week). Your schedule will be arranged with your department.

What are the benefits of holding a graduate assistantship?

As a graduate assistant, you will not pay tuition for up to 12 credits per semester. Yet, you must pay specific fees. Depending on your assistantship, you may also receive a stipend, which will be paid to you on a bi-weekly basis. If you are an out of state student, your out of state fees are covered.

Also, you should be aware that once you work for two consecutive semesters as a graduate assistant, you are eligible for tuition remission for the third term. For example, if you hold an assistantship for the school year (fall and spring semesters), you are eligible for tuition remission for the summer term.

What school related fees are not covered by my assistantship?

Fees not covered by your assistantship include the student recreation and wellness, health center, university technology fees and tuition-graduate assistant fee. You will need to pay these fees separately through the Bursar’s office. Installment plans are available. You must make necessary arrangements with the Bursar’s office.

What taxes are taken out of my stipend?

Deductions are made for the Indiana State Income Tax, the County Option Tax (when applicable), and the Federal Income Tax. Graduate assistants are exempt from FICA (social security) and Medicare taxes. If a student is approved for additional employment at Ball State University on student wage pay, he/she can work up to and including 10 hours per week without being assessed these taxes. Graduate assistants who are approved for additional employment at the professional level, e.g., to teach a class, are no longer exempt from FICA and Medicare taxes. Students who accept this type of extra work are reclassified and transferred to the faculty payroll, and their full wages (including the assistantship stipend) are subject to FICA and Medicare taxes.

What am I not required to do as part of my assistantship?

You are not required to work during holidays and vacation times observed by the university.

You are also not responsible for working more than 20 hours per week. If you are asked to work more than 20 hours, you should discuss the limits of your contractual agreement with your supervisor.

When do I get paid?

After signing your contract, you will receive a paper check every two weeks. Your stipend is equally divided into payments over the school year. If you would like to make arrangements for direct deposit, please visit the payroll office in Lucina Hall. Your first paycheck during the fall semester will be delayed. Please visit the pay schedule for exact dates.

What if I would like to quit my assistantship?

Assistants are expected to fulfill the terms of their contracts. An assistant who requests to be released from his/her contract before the end of the contract period must receive permission to leave the position from the department he/she works in and the dean of the Graduate School.

Will I maintain the same assistantship from year to year?

This is up to the department you work for. You should talk to your supervisor or the chair of the department you work for about continuing your assistantship.

Additional benefits of being a graduate assistant include:

  • The ability to use study rooms and lockable book trucks in Bracken Library. Forms requesting a study room or book truck are acquired at the library circulation desk and need the approval of the Graduate School.
  • Free admission to regularly scheduled athletic events or university convocations. Tickets
    may be acquired by showing ID card. Recreation facilities in the Irving Gymnasium
    Complex and Ball Gymnasium are available to graduate and doctoral assistants and their
  • A 10% discount at the Ball State Bookstore on cash purchases. This discount is available only during the time period in which the assistant is employed and receiving a stipend.
  • Graduate assistants may borrow from and save in the Ball State Federal Credit Union, 2900 N. Oakwood, 285-1065. The Credit Union also has an office in the village.
  • Graduate assistants are eligible to register with the Ball State Career Center, Professionally trained spouses of assistants may seek the assistance of the Career Center in locating employment during their spouses graduate study.
  • The spouse or children of graduate and doctoral assistants may also receive resident classification during the term of employment if residing with such person upon registering and receiving courses at Ball State.


Graduate School
West Quad, Room 100
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306

Phone: 866-285-GRAD (toll-free)
or 765-285-1301
Fax: 765-285-1328
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