Graduate Student Funding

There are two options available when hiring a graduate student to support your work: Research Assistant (RA) & Graduate Assistant (GA). The information below summarizes key differences between these options in terms of work requirements, cost to the hiring department, and student compensation.

 

Work Requirements:

Research Assistant

  • 15 hours service per week or approximately 240 hours per semester
  • Students must maintain minimum full-time status (9 credit hours) or must be registered for a minimum of 3 hours of thesis substitute (992), thesis (993), or dissertation (994) in a fall, spring, or summer term
  • Engaged in research activities related to their program of study under the supervision or in collaboration with a member of the graduate faculty
  • Work should be performed during the weeks the university is in session, unless agreed upon by student and supervisor
  • If hiring an MPA student, this option is only open to students in the on-campus format

Graduate Assistant

  • 6-8 hours service per week (no more than 8 hours per week or approximately 120 hours per semester)
    • This is typically what the MPA program adheres to, but it can be higher based on the hiring department’s needs.
  • No expectation by the Graduate School regarding the type of work in these positions, any duties can be assigned
  • Work should be performed during the weeks the university is in session, unless agreed upon by student and supervisor
  • Student does not need to be enrolled full-time
  • If hiring an MPA student, this option is open to students in both the on-campus and online formats
  • There are two options for hiring a GA.  1) The stipend is entered as a lump sum (the hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours you anticipate the student to work for the duration of the appointment), with TIM entry not required.  2) The student enters their weekly hours in TIM, which will require the faculty member or someone else to approve those hours.  The second option may be preferrable if the number of hours per week varies.    

 Cost to Hiring Department

*The following information is based on the 2024-2025 academic year. Stipend, tuition, and fees will be updated with each academic year.  

Research Assistant

    • With Program Approved Program Waiver – if hiring an MPA student (NC Resident) using a program approved in-state tuition waiver
      • Total Cost to Department For Hire: $17,750
      • Source(s) of stipend funding may be state appropriated, grant-based, or contract-based
      • Student is responsible for school-based tuition - $1,000 for the year ($500 per semester)
      • Availability of tuition waivers is limited, so please reach out to MPA staff member Susan Lynch for more information (lynch@sog.unc.edu or 919-962-0425)  
    • NC Resident without Program Waiver – if hiring an MPA student without a program approved in-state tuition waiver, or a non-MPA Student
      • Total Cost To Department For Hire:  $33,939.04
        • Stipend - $16,500 
        • Tuition - $10,552 (based on the School of Government campus-based rate)
        • Student fees - $1,982.64
        • Optional graduate student health insurance - $4,904.40
      • Source(s) of stipend funding may be state appropriated, grant-based, or contract-based
      • Student is responsible for school-based tuition associated with their academic program – this is most common, but you may choose to pay it for the student if you wish
    • Non-NC Residents – if hiring an MPA student (Non-NC Resident), or a Non-MPA student (Non-NC Resident)  
      • There is a significant expense with this option, so please reach out to MPA staff member Susan Lynch for more information (lynch@sog.unc.edu or 919-962-0425)   

Graduate Assistant

  • Only the compensation amount as determined with the information below

 Student Compensation:

*The following information is based on the 2024-2025 academic year. Stipend, tuition, and fees will be updated with each academic year.  

Research Assistant

  • $16,500 stipend (paid out monthly over the semesters)
  • UNC campus-based tuition (School of Government rate) and student fees are included
  • Student is responsible for school-based tuition associated with their academic program
  • Eligible for optional graduate student health insurance

Graduate Assistant 

    • Paid hourly – two options are available. 
      • The stipend is entered as a lump sum (the hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours you anticipate the student to work for the duration of the appointment) which is paid out in monthly installments over the course of the appointment. TIM entry is not required
      • The student enters their weekly hours in TIM, which will require the faculty member or someone else to approve those hours. This option may be preferrable if the number of hours per week varies. The student is paid on a monthly basis over the course of the appointment   
    • Recommended rate of $22-$25 per hour
    • Not eligible for a tuition/fee benefit
    • Not eligible for graduate student health insurance