For many, the decision to attend graduate school is a big one; more than the tuition costs and time, graduate school is an investment in your career and future.

A number of options exist for those looking for guidance on how to fund a graduate education.


Margaret Cude

Maggie Cude's role as a graduate assistant not only helped her fund her master of arts in public relations—it taught her what it's like to work at a university, which is what she does as a professional today. Read her story.

We offer more than 900 graduate assistant positions to students annually at Ball State.

The graduate assistantship is our favorite gig to tell prospective students about as a way to fund their education. This option is open to students who pursue on campus programs.

Being a graduate assistant (GA) has many advantages, but most important, it offers the opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while pursuing your master’s or doctoral degree. We’ve heard from many GAs that their academic program opens the door for a job opportunity, but their GA experience seals the deal.

Full-time GAs work 20 hours a week and receive a majority waiver of tuition cost and a stipend determined by the department. Part-time assistants work 10 hours a week and receive a waiver for half their tuition cost and a stipend. 

All of this information is available in a downloadable brochure (PDF).

Brochure (PDF)

Type of Assistantships

There are three types of assistantships offered to graduate students.

  • Research—assist with department research projects
  • Service—work in an administrative or office setting
  • Teaching—instruct/assist in instruction of undergraduate students

McNair Scholars

We are proud to offer additional benefits for previous McNair Scholars.

The Graduate School has funds to support about 10 graduate assistant positions for these students.

The award is for one year and can be renewed for one additional year. 

McNair Scholars can also receive an application fee waiver by providing certification from their local McNair program director.

Please mention your McNair Scholar status in your application. 

Benefits of a Graduate Assistantship

Benefits of a graduate assistantship include:

  • majority waiver of tuition (you are still required to pay about $1,500 each semester for remaining tuition costs and several university fees)
  • Serving two, full consecutive semesters as a graduate assistant may also make you eligible for fee adjustment for the semester immediately following your assistantship.
  • stipend (amount is determined by your hiring department) deposited electronically and directly through the Office of Payroll and Employee Benefits on a biweekly basis (also during holidays and breaks)
  • University Bookstore discounts
  • Indiana resident tuition for your spouse or children while you are a graduate assistant
Additionally, all graduate students:
  • can access services at the Ball State Federal Credit Union
  • receive free tickets to regularly scheduled athletic events
  • receive free or discounted tickets to performances at Emens Auditorium, University Theatre, and more
  • qualify for a Muncie Public Library card


To be eligible for a graduate assistant position, students must meet the following requirements:

  • good academic standing (no academic probationary status)
  • for master’s students, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 (or 3.0 in the latter half of previous degree)
  • for doctoral students, a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2
  • enrollment in at least 6 credit hours per semester or 3 hours in a five-week session
  • official academic transcript(s)
  • regular (not probationary or conditional) acceptance into a graduate degree program
  • completion of bachelor’s degree for master’s graduate assistants
  • completion of master’s degree for doctoral graduate assistants
  • additional department-specific prerequisites

Find a Graduate Assistantship

The best place to start when looking for a graduate assistantship is to contact your program director. They can inform you about opportunities within your academic department or at other offices on campus.

Typically, most graduate assistantships start in the fall.

You can find openings within or outside of your academic department. They are posted on the Graduate School Facebook page and the Career Center website.

Find Openings through the Career Center      Find Openings through Facebook

Many graduate students work on campus.

Graduate assistants may work up to only nine additional hours each week. Student employment in addition to an assistantship requires permission from the GA’s department and the associate dean of the Graduate School and a completed form.

Find a Job on Campus  download the permission form

Many employers offer education assistance to their employees.

These educational benefits range from providing tuition reimbursement or scholarships to financing select job-related course work. Speak with your supervisor or a human resources representative at your employer to pursue this option.

You may receive up to $5,250 in tax-free education benefits from your employer each year. The payments do not have to be for work-related courses.

Learn more about this tax savings.

Assistance for veterans is available; however, careful planning is necessary if you wish to have assistance apply toward your online or distance education enrollment.

Learn more about our veterans’ benefits.

For more information, contact Ball State's VA certifying official, Kristi Hoerst, at 765-285-5736 or

Students from selected Midwestern states may qualify for the following tuition discounts:

If you are an Indiana resident age 60 or older, you may qualify for a 50 percent reduction in the cost of your Ball State tuition.

Learn more about the discount.

Ball State employees and their dependents may be eligible for significant tuition reductions for academic programs and courses.

Your questions about employee fee remission may be directed to Payroll and Employee Benefits. You may contact the office at 765-285-8461 or by email.

Questions about employee dependent fee remission may be directed to the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships.

Are you still looking for ways to fund your graduate degree at Ball State?

Learn more about financial aid and scholarships.


Among the most-asked questions about getting your graduate degree are “What is it going to cost?" and “Can I afford it?”
Here at Ball State, we strive to make education affordable. 

calculator Our Net Cost Calculator provides a preliminary estimate of how much you can expect to pay for a graduate degree from Ball State.

Types of University Costs

Tuition or Per-Credit-Hour Fees

These apply to all graduate students taking courses on- or off-campus, short-term, online, or through distance education.

The rate is different for Indiana resident and nonresident students.

Student Services Fee

This fee applies to students taking at least one main campus course.

Other Fees

  • Mandatory fees include health, recreation, technology, and transportation fees. These fees apply to students taking at least one main campus course and are dependent on the number of credit hours a student takes.
  • Program and course fees apply to some programs and courses such as those in the College of Architecture and Planning, MBA, and nursing. 

See Our Tuition and Fees

Other Costs

Aside from university costs, graduate students must also consider the cost of living.

Learn more about what you can expect to pay to live in Muncie, Indiana.