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

 

Cost to Hiring Department

*The following information is based on the 2022-2023 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: $17,250
      • 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:  $33,314.24
        • Stipend - $16,000 
        • Tuition - $10,552 (based on the School of Government campus-based rate)
        • Student fees - $2,021.64
        • Optional graduate student health insurance - $5,096.74
      • 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 2022-2023 academic year. Stipend, tuition, and fees will be updated with each academic year.  

Research Assistant

  • $16,000 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 – hiring department determines pay rate and hours per week to calculate lump sum stipend, which is paid out in monthly installments over the course of the student’s appointment
  • Recommended rate of $18-$20 per hour
  • Student does not need to enter hours in TIM
  • Not eligible for a tuition/fee benefit
  • Not eligible for graduate student health insurance