Financial Support

Financial support for graduate students comes primarily from one of three separate sources: Research Assistantships, Teaching Assistantships, and fellowships. Additional support is provided through the Tuition Benefit Program (TBP).

Teaching Assistant Responsibilities & Policies

Faculty research advisors make TA requests. The TA assignments are made by the department. Annually, the Department retains several full-year TA positions for new students entering the program.

Duties

TAs may run laboratory sessions, give classroom lectures, hold office hours, and be involved in grading. The Department classifies classroom assistant positions into three categories:

    • Lab TAs are typically responsible for all aspects of laboratory sections associated with certain undergraduate courses. Duties may include the set-up of experiments, lectures to undergraduate students on particular experiments, supervising undergraduate students during the data acquisition phase of experiments, and grading lab reports.
    • Course TAs typically assist with course instruction. Duties may include conducting problem sessions, occasional lecturing, and grading of student homework and projects.
    • Graders have limited interaction with undergraduate students and are primarily responsible for grading homework.

Stipend Amount

Expected Workload and stipend information for each type of TA position is given in the table below.

Title

Support Level

Workload

(hr/week)

Student Contact

Lab TA

100%

20

Yes

Course TA

50%

10

Yes

Grader

0%*

5

No

*Graders can receive 50% support if employed with two 5-hour jobs.
Current support level amounts can be found here: https://gradschool.utah.edu/tbp/tbp-minimum-support-amounts-and-deadline-calendar/

International students and TA positions

In order to qualify for a TA position, international students must attend the International Teaching Assistant (ITA) workshop in their first semester. The Graduate School requires all non-native English-speaking graduate students to be cleared by the ITA Program in order to be eligible for a tuition benefit for teaching assistantships. The clearance process includes screening for oral English proficiency and either on-line or in-person training ang workshops to prepare ITAs for their teaching assignments. On-going training and support is offered throughout the academic year in the form of graduate-level English classes, one-on-one and group tutorials, classroom observations with follow-up consultations, mid-semester student evaluations, and seminars on topics of interest to ITAs.

Summer teaching positions

Occasionally, instructor positions are available each summer semester for advanced Ph.D. students. The graduate student/instructor is given full responsibility for a course, including lecture preparation and delivery, test creation and grading, student advising on course material, and all course administration. The graduate student/instructor is provided a mentor from the regular faculty who provides advice and guidance on all aspects of course management. These positions provide the opportunity for Ph.D. students interested in an academic career to gain experience in teaching. Remuneration is based on the class level and number of students registered for the class.

Research Assistant Responsibilities & Policies

RA positions are available to students working on grant-funded research programs. Awards are made directly by the faculty involved in the research. RA positions are considered half-time (20 hrs/week) positions. Partial RA positions may be awarded by faculty with a corresponding decrease in hourly expectations. The amount of the RA stipend is determined by the funding faculty member. Availability of research funds varies from semester to semester and new graduate students are strongly encouraged to discuss potential research projects with members of the faculty involved in research consistent with the student’s interests.

Fellowship

The Graduate School has fellowships that are available to graduate students on a competitive basis. Complete information regarding these fellowships can be found on the Graduate School web page (https://gradschool.utah.edu/funding/fellowships-scholarships-awards/index.php).

The College of Engineering also has a number of fellowships available for graduate students (https://www.coe.utah.edu/students/fellowships/). These fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis and applications are generally required early in the spring semester.

Tuition Waivers/Tuition Benefit Program

The Tuition Benefit Program (TBP) provides tuition waivers to graduate students who are receiving a minimum amount of funding through assistantships and/or fellowships. All students receiving a tuition benefit must meet minimum financial support requirements paid through the University of Utah for each semester that a benefit is received. Minimum support levels can be found here: https://gradschool.utah.edu/funding/tbp/minimum-support.php

No tuition benefit is granted to students receiving less than the 50% level of support for the semester. The required minimum support level is annually indexed to general salary increases to prevent gradual erosion of established graduate student salaries and stipends. Tuition Benefit does not cover differential tuition, undergraduate tuition, or tuition for audited classes. Further information on the Tuition Benefit Program may be found at the Graduate School website (https://gradschool.utah.edu/funding/tbp/guidelines.php).

How to Participate

  1. Students meeting one of the minimum stipend amounts must fill out a Tuition Benefit Enrollment form.
  2. The form is turned in to the Graduate Advisor. Grad Fellows must submit this form prior to the end of the prior semester. All others must submit this form by the end of the first week of the new semester. A new form must be submitted every semester.
  3. Students must then check with the ME EN Admin Manager to verify that they are on the payroll for the correct stipend amount. First-time employees must also fill out new hire paperwork.
  4. After the census deadline of each semester, students must accept the way the waiver was applied to their tuition in CIS. Failing to complete this step can result in loss of waiver and a retroactive tuition charge.

Student Health Insurance

The university also provides for health insurance for graduate students via two plans: the Subsidized Plan and the Voluntary (Unsubsidized) Plan. Enrollment is not compulsory, merely available to those who are eligible and wish to use this benefit. Further information on the insurance plans is available at www.gradschool.utah.edu/index.php under the Fellowships and Benefits menu item.

 

Subsidized Health Insurance

Full-time RAs and TAs (20 hr per week assignment) are eligible to enroll in subsidized student health insurance, which provides an 100% subsidy of the annual premium for a basic student accident and sickness insurance plan offered by the University of Utah. The plan allows students add a spouse and/or children at the student’s own expense.

How it works

  1. Eligible RAs and TAs enroll in the health insurance when they turn in their Tuition Benefit Enrollment form.
  2. Students desiring to add family members or to increase coverage need to fill out additional paperwork.
  3. The Graduate School will pay 100% of the premium for basic single-student coverage at the time of enrollment.
  4. The student’s portion (20%) is paid by the student in Income Accounting.
  5. Fall insurance coverage is from 8/16-12/31. Spring/Summer coverage is from 1/1-8/15.

Unsubsidized Health Insurance

The same level of coverage available to RAs and TAs is also available to all graduate students through the Voluntary Health Insurance Plan. This health insurance is unsubsidized, meaning students must pay the entire premium themselves. Students can find more information here: https://gradschool.utah.edu/tbp/insurance-information/.

Residency

  1. As approved by the University of Utah President and according to Utah law and the Board of Regents’ policy, out-of-state students participating in tuition benefit are exempt from paying nonresident tuition.
    1. graduate tuition benefit is posted to tuition bills at the resident tuition rate for the appropriate benefit level (100%, 75%, or 50%), with a non-resident tuition waiver where applicable.
    2. Tuition and fees not covered by the tuition benefit are the student’s responsibility.
    3. Domestic non-resident graduate students (non-international students) receiving a tuition benefit are eligible to apply for Utah residency upon fulfilling 40 graduate credit hours at a regionally accredited Utah institution of higher education.
      1. Comprehensive and aggressive action should be taken by departments to ensure that eligible students are encouraged to apply for Utah residency once 40 graduate credit hours are reached.
      2. A student’s ability to establish residency will not affect eligibility of a tuition benefit.
      3. Visit the Admissions Office website for details on how to apply and qualify for residency reclassification.

To maintain TBP eligibility, all domestic nonresident students must apply for Utah residency upon completion of 40 graduate level semester credit hours at the University of Utah. Go to www.admissions.utah.edu for details on how to qualify and how to apply for residency reclassifications.]]

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