Professor working with two graduate assistants

What to Expect as a Graduate Assistant

Being a graduate assistant (GA) at Ball State is a great way to fund your education and has many advantages. Most importantly, graduate assistantships offer you the opportunity to gain meaningful professional experience while pursuing your passion. When you sign your graduate assistantship contract, you agree to abide by these graduate assistantship guidelines.  We recommend you read them carefully.

Graduate assistantships at Ball State are either full-time or part-time. The type of position assigned will determine your tuition remission and other related benefits.

  • Full-time graduate assistants work 20 hours each week and can work the full academic year or a Fall-, Spring-, or Summer-only appointment.
  • Part-time graduate assistants work 10 hours each week and can work the full academic year or a Fall-, Spring-, or Summer-only appointment.

Graduate assistants do not work federal holidays when the University is closed (per the University calendar) and therefore can prorate their hours during these periods.

All graduate assistant positions receive some form of tuition remission for their service to the University.

  • Full-time graduate assistants with full academic year assignments (both Fall and Spring) receive 30 credit hours of tuition remission. Fall-only or Spring-only appointments receive 15 credit hours of tuition remission, and Summer appointments receive 9 credit hours of tuition remission.
  • Part-time graduate assistants receive 15 credit hours of tuition remission for the academic year. Fall-only or Spring-only appointments receive 7.5 credit hours of tuition remission, and five-week Summer appointments receive 4.5 credit hours of tuition remission. Ten-week Summer appointments receive 9 credit hours of tuition remission.

The university will waive non-resident tuition for all GAs, including part-time GAs. If a GA holds an appointment in fall and spring but not in the summer, the university will waive any non-resident tuition for the summer term. Students are still responsible for the student service fee, mandatory fees, and any applicable program and course fees.

For more information, read the full Graduate Assistantship guidelines (PDF).

All graduate assistantships qualify for a stipend deposited electronically by the Office of Payroll and Employee Benefits on a biweekly basis. The amount of stipend is determined by the hiring academic department.

Additionally, all graduate assistants receive the following benefits:

  • University Bookstore discounts.
  • Receive assistance in finding health insurance through the Affordable Care Act or other government and private programs. Learn more about this program.
  • Access to services provided by Ball State Financial, a division of Financial Center First 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 free Muncie Public Library card.

Keep reading to learn how to find a graduate assistantship position at Ball State as well as the next steps you'll need to follow to secure your assignment.

Finding an Assistantship

Finding an Assistantship

Most GA positions typically start in the Fall Semester. The best place to start when looking for a graduate assistantship is to contact your program director. They'll inform you of opportunities within your academic department or at other offices on campus.

You can also find GA openings outside of your academic department using Cardinal Career Link via Ball State's Career Center.

Eligibility Requirements

In addition to being admitted to a Ball State graduate program, students are expected to meet certain requirements to acquire and maintain a graduate assistantship position at the University.

  • For master’s students, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.75 on their undergraduate degree (or 3.0 in the latter half of the previous degree) is required to obtain an assistantship.
  • For doctoral students, a minimum undergraduate cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a minimum graduate GPA of 3.2 on their master’s degree (if a master’s degree is required for admission).

To maintain a graduate assistantship appointment, all graduate students must also maintain good academic standing with the University and stay enrolled in at least 6 graduate credit hours per semester (or 3 graduate credit hours in a five-week Summer term).

McNair Scholars

We are proud to offer additional benefits for previous McNair Scholars. The Graduate School has funds to support eight graduate assistant positions for units hiring these students. The award is for one academic year and can be renewed for one additional year if desired.

McNair students should inquire with the hiring unit if there is an assistantship position available for them. If the hiring unit wishes to employ the student in an assistantship, they will make the request to the Graduate School for stipend and tuition support. 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.

Next Steps After Finding an Assistantship

After landing a GA position, you'll need to complete a few steps and review some key materials before you begin working.

All Ball State graduate assistants must review, agree to, and follow the "Guidelines and Information for Ball State University Graduate Assistants", which includes our tuition remission policy.

Review the Guidelines (PDF)

Your assistantship contract must be signed before you can begin to receive your stipend (if applicable). The Graduate School will email you with appropriate steps you need to take in order to complete this step. For new graduate students, this email will contain important instructions on how to complete your employment verification.

Employment Verification

Ball State University participates in the federal E-Verify program for employment eligibility. This process provides the Social Security Administration (SSA) and, if necessary, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with information from each new employee’s Form I-9 to confirm work authorization. The federal verification process must be completed by the third business day of work.

Out-of-State and International Graduate Assistants

If you plan to arrive on campus during Orientation Week, do not worry. It is acceptable to wait until Orientation to visit the Graduate School office and sign your contract. When you arrive to Ball State, please bring with you all the necessary identification documents. All students will need a Social Security number to process their contract. International students must contact the Rinker Center for Global Affairs for more information about obtaining a Social Security number.

Graduate assistants receive stipends on a biweekly basis. See the calendar of pay dates to know when to expect deposits.

All Ball State employees are required to authorize the electronic direct deposit of their paychecks and manage their paystubs digitally in Self-Service Banner via myBSU.

Lastly, be sure to learn how to properly record your hours when working as a graduate assistant by using the Kronos timestamp management system. Learn how to use Kronos.

The department or unit overseeing your graduate assistantship may require you to undergo specific training or orientation sessions before the start of your contract. Check in with your employer to see what they require.

All graduate assistants are required to review the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and Ball State's Student Code of Conduct sexual harassment policies before the start of their contract.

Graduate students new to Ball State and/or graduate assistantships are required to complete harm-reduction training. During your first term as a GA, you will also be required to complete a FERPA awareness course via Canvas. You will receive emails with instructions on how to complete the training, as well as reminders if it isn’t completed in a timely manner.