Washington State University is dedicated to providing financial support for graduate students. As a matter of fact, nearly 99 percent of full-time Ph.D. students receive financial support while pursuing their academic studies. Explore the financial opportunities below and contact your department or graduate program for more information. There are also opportunities for graduate students to receive federal financial aid should you qualify.
One of the most common sources of funding is the graduate assistantship. Assistantship appointments provide financial support to a graduate student who engages in teaching, research, and/or service. Departments and programs generally make assistantship offers during the admissions process. Graduate assistantships may include a tuition waiver, health insurance, and a monthly salary. Contact your department or graduate program to learn more about assistantship opportunities.
Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)
The GTA may assist faculty in teaching undergraduate courses and labs, grading examinations, problem sets, or lab assignments, setting up displays for lectures and labs, and preparing or maintaining laboratory equipment.
Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)
The GRA conducts academically significant research under the direction of a faculty member who is generally a principal investigator on a grant or contract.
Graduate Staff Assistant (GSA)
The GSA provides academic and administrative program support such as academic advising, program planning, and assisting with the administration of student services offices.
Graduate Assistantship Processing Memo
The Academic-Year Processing Memo is for all graduate assistantship appointments from August 16 through May 15.
The Summer Session Processing Memo is for all graduate assistantship appointments from May 16th through August 15th.
The PERMS Personnel Action Form Acronyms offers a list of waiver acronyms options and their associated names.
Graduate assistant salaries range from step 1 to step 115 on the assistantship salary grid (PDF). Each step represents a pay range for half-time (20 hrs./wk.) graduate appointments. Each department and program determines the most appropriate salary range based on the student’s qualifications, experience, academic standing, and availability of funds. Departments have a wide range of salary options available to make competitive appointments.
Assistantship Health Insurance
Graduate assistants who maintain at least a half-time (20 hrs./wk.) assistantship appointment will be eligible for medical and dental insurance benefits. Visit the graduate student health insurance web page, or contact Health and Wellness Services for additional information.
Graduate assistants appointed and eligible for health insurance during spring semester (January 1 - May 15) are automatically provided health insurance during the summer semester (May 16 - August 15).
Enrolling Family Members
Graduate assistants may also enroll family members including spouses, eligible dependent children, and domestic partners. Coverage must be requested according to the enrollment procedures outlined in the policy brochure.
The PASS Program enables spouses or partners of eligible graduate/professional students who are on graduate school health insurance (Pullman campus only) to access health care services at the Health and Wellness Services office on campus.
Offer Letters Templates
The Graduate School requires employing areas to provide offer letters for any graduate assistantship appointment. Offer letter templates provided by the Graduate School are meant to be a starting point for the terms and conditions of each graduate assistantship appointment. Each employing area should update the appropriate offer letter template as needed.
All But Dissertation Waiver Pilot Program (ABD)
The ABD pilot program allows faculty supported tuition relief for Ph.D. students appointed to extramurally funded research assistantships. If you have passed your prelims and completed your formal program of study course work apply by submitting the ABD waiver application.
English Proficiency Exam
All teaching assistants from a foreign country must pass a TOEFL exam, unless the student is from or has graduated from one of the following countries: Australia; Bahamas; Botswana; Guyana; England; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; Nigeria; Scotland; Trinidad; Tobago; Canada. For more information please visit the IELTS website.
Responsible Conduct of Research
Access the Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) Training website for information on state regulations, guidelines, and sponsor requirements. Please log in to MyResearch to begin your Responsible Conduct of Research training. The RCR training is a requirement for all assistantships at WSU.
Short Term Parental Leave for Graduate Assistants
If an assistantship opportunity is not available in your academic area, you may contact one of the WSU non-degree administrative units below that have offered assistantships in the past. Please note that these areas may not have current assistantships available.
Fellowships and traineeships vary considerably, each with its own set of guidelines and restrictions, usually set by the funding agency. WSU offers fellowships and grants through the Graduate School and academic departments, and other external agencies. Graduate fellows who meet all eligibility criteria as outlined in these guidelines will be formally appointed through their respective academic departments under a non-service, non-payroll appointment.
Extramural Funding Opportunities
The Office of Grant and Research Development (OGRD) thru The Informer offers quick information about upcoming fellowships, traineeships, and other funding sources. Please visit OGRD for funding opportunities and upcoming workshops.
Sponsored Student Tuition & Non-Resident Waiver Form
Student tuition and mandatory fees supported from external resources may processes tuition and/or waiver requests with the following Sponsored Student Tuition & Waiver Form. Students eligible for Graduate Student Health Insurance and/or applicable non-resident waiver include:
If you qualify, please complete the Sponsored Student Tuition & Waiver Form. Please note that all graduate fellows who are requesting a non-resident waiver are required to obtain Graduate Student Health Insurance or provide evidence of the WSU minimum equivalent.
Ph.D. Fellowship Tuition Support Program
Many fellowship awards provide a “Costs of Education Allowance” or “Tuition Support” that have not kept pace with the current graduate tuition rates and often fall short of meeting the graduate fellow's educational expenses. The Ph.D. Fellowship Tuition Support Program allows eligible students to receive support from the Graduate School to augment their fellowship award by providing supplemental tuition allowance to maximize their external funding.
Non-service Payment Form
The Non-service Payment Form authorizes disbursements to individuals who are not obligated to provide services to WSU in exchange for the payments. Please see the Business Policies & Procedures Manual 30.30 for more information.
Deposit and Tax InformationCheck distribution & Direct Deposit
The Controller's Office will only issue checks on the 5th day of each month. Non Service Pay Authorization requests are submitted to Accounts Payable two to three business days prior to the 1st of each month. We recommend using Direct Deposit, as it is a great way to have quick access to your stipend. Benefits of direct deposit include: free service, convenient, efficient, and ensures fast arrival of funds. Please sign up for direct deposit through Travel Services.Tax Implications
WSU does not withhold federal income taxes on fellowships and traineeships, and this income will not be reported on an annual 1099 IRS Form. However, graduate fellows who are US citizens and resident aliens are responsible for paying all income taxes that may become due as a consequence of receiving graduate fellowship stipend payments. It is the student's responsibility to understand the federal and state income tax implications of receiving a fellowship. The IRS provides general information to assist students in determining tax liability and reporting obligations. Tax liability depends on a student's particular circumstances, students are advised to contact a personal tax advisor or the IRS with any questions or concerns. IRS Live Telephone Assistance is Toll-free: 1-800-829-1040. Instructions for 1099-MISC Form: Instructions for the Form 1099-MISC. And to find your Local IRS Office, visit: www.irs.gov/localcontacts/index.html.
International students can find more information regarding their tax liability within the Office of International Students and Scholar Tax Information website.
Preparing for the 21st Century
Internship experience is a key component in the preparation of graduate students for the 21st century workplace. Internships are on-the-job work or research experiences that provide hands-on learning opportunities for students in which to apply knowledge in real workplace settings. Participating in the everyday activities of a business or profession provides insights that students don't gain in the classroom. Such experiences
- can extend the student’s academic learning
- enhance the student’s professional skills
- better prepare them to succeed when they enter the job market
Internship experiences, which are available in a variety of businesses, government agencies, and private organizations, can enhance students’ future employment opportunities by providing them with relevant skills and work experience, and a potential network of professionals in their career field.
Procedures for Internships
Students should work with their faculty advisor to identify potential internship opportunities that fit within their program of study. Students are required to enroll for a minimum of two graduate credits or continuous enrollment status during a fall or spring internship, which allows the student to maintain active status, continue participating in WSU’s student health insurance plan, and provides access to WSU libraries and other resources.
Many graduate programs offer a 600-level, variable-credit course that could be used for an internship experience. International students must consult with the Office of International Programs for employment authorization before committing to an internship experience.
Students should complete the Graduate Student Fall-Spring Internship Approval Form and submit it to the Graduate School as soon as the internship is arranged, but no later than one week before the beginning of the internship semester. Students can continue their health insurance coverage either in the GSA plan or the regular plan on a self-pay basis. The program may also pay the student’s health insurance and provide other support during the internship.
Grant and Contracts
Fellowships and grants are available from a number of outside agencies, including private foundations, nonprofits, state and federal sources. A variety of support is offered, from one-time awards to multi-year support for living expenses, educational fees, conference travel and/or research for beginning to advanced graduate student and postdoctoral levels. Aside from the obvious financial benefit, receipt of external funding exemplifies excellence in research, writing and scholarship. Applying for external fellowships and grants is an excellent professional development experience for many of you who will be seeking academic career placement where grant funding is a necessity.
Prospective students applying for grants should contact the Office of Grant and Research Development for information.