For Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, Graduate Assistants, and Fellows
The Office of Graduate Funding has compiled the following list of questions frequently asked by graduate students regarding tuition scholarships and billing. Tuition and fees are subject to change without notice.
What are assistantships and fellowships?
An assistantship is an appointment in which graduate students pursuing an advanced degree engage in specified teaching or research duties. Assistantships carry a bi-weekly stipend and may cover tuition costs.
A fellowship is a non-service award made to academically superior graduate students to assist them in the pursuit of an advanced degree. This award carries a monthly stipend and usually covers tuition costs. All stipends are taxable income.
How do I apply?
Students wishing to be considered for assistantships and fellowships should inform the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) of the program to which they are applying. Or, students may send letters to the DGS, in care of the department, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506. There is no Graduate School assistantship/fellowship form, however some programs may have forms.
What scholarship opportunities are available?
Click here for a list of scholarship opportunities and application information.
What is the assistantship/fellowship application deadline?
Most fellowships and assistantships are awarded for the academic year, which begins in August. Most departments make appointment decisions for the next academic year between February and April. Students interested in an assistantship or fellowship are strongly urged to contact the appropriate Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) no later than January 15 for the next academic year. Departments notify students of assistantship appointments and the Graduate School Fellowship Office notifies students of fellowship appointments. Announcements are generally made by May.
Ethnically diverse students and women in under-represented areas applying for tuition scholarship and for a Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship are considered for spring, as well as academic year awards. For more information about these awards, see Fellowship Opportunities or call the Recruitment Office, (859) 257-4555.
What is included in my tuition scholarship?
Tuition scholarships include the standard tuition; they do not include Johnson Center fees and health fees; nor do they include student specific fees, such as lab fees, course fees, program fees, music fees, distance learning course fees, or tuition charges above and beyond the standard graduate rate. These additional fees are the responsibility of the student and will appear on your billing statement. Part time students are generally not charged the health fee, and you must request the health fee to be included on your bill at the Student Billing Services (18 Funkhouser Building) if you would like to use the Kentucky Clinic services.
Tuition scholarships for full assistantships (20 hrs per week) cover the full standard tuition, and tuition scholarships for half assistantships (10 hrs per week) cover half the standard tuition, regardless of the course load (a student with a half assistantship taking 3 hrs worth of classes will receive a tuition scholarship for half the standard tuition for 3 hrs).
Note: A half assistantship is equal to 10 hrs of work per week. An assistantship that requires 20 hrs per week but is only 1 semester (as opposed to a full-year assistantship) is still considered a full assistantship.
Do I have to be admitted before being considered for an assistantship or fellowship?
No. Awards are sometimes offered before an applicant is officially admitted to the Graduate School; all awards offered are contingent upon admission. Post-baccalaureate (non-degree) students are not eligible for fellowship consideration, or for those tuition scholarships that accompany most assistantships.
Do I need letters of reference?
Most departments require letters of reference or recommendation, and many have their own recommendation form. Students should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) in their intended program of study as to procedures for letters of reference.
Why would I receive a bill if I have a tuition scholarship?
If you receive a bill, it may be for the fees listed above that are not covered by the tuition scholarship. Additionally, if you have a half assistantship, you will be responsible for part of the tuition. You may also receive a current bill for charges from a past semester—in our billing system, payments on an account, including term specific payments such as tuition scholarships, are applied to the earliest charges before they are applied current charges. Thus, if you owe a balance from a previous semester, it may appear that your entire tuition scholarship was not paid, because it was applied to the earliest balance. It is therefore a good idea to check your online account towards the end of each semester, just to be sure you don’t have any additional fees owed to the University.
When would I not qualify for a tuition scholarship?
Students that are on academic probation (GPA below 3.0) will not receive a tuition scholarship. Additionally, if a student has an assignment that starts after the midpoint of the semester, or if the assignment is less than 4 months in length (per semester tuition is to be covered), they will not receive a tuition scholarship (with the exception of summer).
Are tuition scholarships available during the summer?
Students that are working as research assistants or graduate assistants for at least 1 full summer session will receive a tuition scholarship for the out-of-state portion of tuition for both summer sessions. Full time assistantships (20 hrs per week) will receive a tuition scholarship covering their full out of state tuition, and half time assistantships (10 hrs per week) will receive a tuition scholarship covering half their out of state tuition. In-state tuition scholarships are not available during the summer for research and graduate assistantships.
Fellows, please refer to your award letter for information regarding whether or not summer tuition is included. Teaching assistants, please refer to your department, as the departments handle the summer teaching assistantships.
What should I do if I have a question about a billing statement?
If you have a general question about charges, please contact Student Account Services at 257-3406.
If you have a question in reference to your Graduate School tuition scholarship, check your online account at myUK. The billing statements are not as up to date as the website, and tuition scholarships that have been recently applied may not show up on your mailed billing statement. If you still have a question about your scholarship, contact the Graduate School Tuition Scholarship Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do I need to contact the Graduate School if I have a tuition scholarship and change my hours or late register?
Yes, you should contact the Graduate School if you have a tuition scholarship and change your hours or late register.
What should I do if I don’t receive a refund I’m expecting, or if I receive a refund I’m not expecting?
If you are expecting a refund and have not received it, check your address on myUK to be sure it is correct. Refunds are mailed to the residual/refund address in myUK. If you receive a refund you are not expecting, please contact the tuition scholarship officer at email@example.com. Students that receive incorrect refunds will still be responsible for the refund amount, so be sure to check with the Graduate School if you are unsure whether or not your refund is correct.
Important Notices Concerning Tuition Scholarships
The Graduate School Funding Office is charged with administering approximately 2,000 tuition scholarships for graduate assistants and fellowship holders each semester. These scholarships originate from a variety of sources, such as endowments, university scholarship accounts, and Research Challenge Trust Funds. Staff members of the Funding Office are charged with the fiscal stewardship of these accounts and work to see that as many students as possible receive scholarships, even though funding is limited.
- Eligibility for tuition scholarships
Students must be enrolled in a graduate program; post-baccalaureate students are not eligible. Graduate Assistants (TAs, RAs, GAs) placed on scholastic probation are not eligible to receive either an in-state or out-of-state tuition scholarship.
- Course exclusions for tuition scholarships
The Funding Office does not provide tuition scholarships for courses taken with an audit (AU) grade type or as pass/fail, and courses taken by doctoral students who have already completed 18 hours of the 769 residency requirement or are registered for 767. This policy is enforced for all graduate assistants (TAs, RAs, GAs) and fellowship recipients. Graduate students should note that they are personally liable for tuition and fee charges associated with any of the above courses. This policy is not intended to preclude graduate students from taking remedial courses, both at the graduate and undergraduate level, required by their academic program and DGS. Nor is this policy intended to preclude graduate students from taking courses to complete certificate programs, as long as the major professor and DGS endorse enrollment in certificate or undergraduate courses. DGSs who wish to ask for exceptions to the tuition scholarship policy for students taking remedial courses or certificate courses may send an e-mail to the Graduate School's tuition scholarship officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Student Recreation Fee (Johnson Center Fee) and Health Fee
All students are charged a mandatory recreation fee each semester. This fee is not covered by Graduate School tuition scholarships.
Important phone numbers
UK Student Account Services
GS Funding Office
UK Student Financial Aid
GS Recruitment Office
Nomination by DGSonly
The Graduate School is providing a lump-sum five percent supplemental stipend to students who have been awarded nationally competitive fellowships of $10,000 or more annually. Called the Graduate Student Incentive Program, the purposes of GSIP are 1) to help attract students who win nationally competitive fellowships to UK for graduate study, and 2) to reward graduate programs that recruit and cultivate national fellowship recipients.
An example of a GSIP is a new National Science Foundation fellow with a $30,000 annual stipend. This fellow would be awarded an additional $1,500 from the Graduate School each year the fellow receives the national fellowship and is a UK degree-seeking graduate student. (Students on reserve years are not eligible to receive GSIP.) In addition, the director of graduate studies is eligible to be reimbursed with a one-time award equivalent to the graduate student's GSIP award. This reimbursement must be used to support graduate education.
Students from all areas of graduate study at the University of Kentucky are eligible to apply for a GSIP upon award of an eligible national fellowship. Eligible national fellowships include those from federal agencies (NSF, NIH, NASA, NEH, and similar graduate fellowship programs) and those from major non-profit foundations (Mellon, Woodrow Wilson, Ford, and similar foundations), that are awarded competitively to students from multiple disciplines. In order to be eligible, the national fellowship must be paid through the University of Kentucky Human Resources System. The Graduate School may approve other fellowship programs that meet similar criteria, if requested by a department.
Only students newly awarded an external fellowship are eligible to be nominated. While there is no specific deadline for the GSIP, the department must nominate the student within the first semester that they receive the award. Students are ineligible for retroactive awards and will forfeit their eligibility if they are not nominated within this timeframe.
For more information, contact the Graduate School Funding Office, 203 Gillis Building, 859-257-3261, or by email at email@example.com
The following is a partial list of nationally competitive fellowships eligible for the University of Kentucky's GSIP program.
American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowships
American Education Research Foundation Dissertation Grants Program
American Lung Association Lung Health Research Dissertation Grants
American School of Oriental Research Fellowships
Brookings Institute Research Fellowships
Ford Foundation Minority Fellowships (NRC Office of Science & Engineering Personnel
Getty Center for the History of Art and Humanities, Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowships
Hudson Institute Fellowships
Metropolitan Museum of Art Fellowships
Morris K. Udall Foundation Environmental Public Policy & Conflict Resolution Dissertation Fellowships
NASA Graduate Studies Research Programs
National Gallery of Art - multiple awards
NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grants
NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
Smithsonian Institute Fellowships - multiple categories
Social Science Research Council Fellowships
Spencer Foundation Fellowship Program, Dissertation Fellowships
SSRC International Dissertation Research Fellowship
US Department of Education Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program
US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research & Development Science to Achieve Results Program: Graduate Fellowship Program
Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Charlotte Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
GSIP Nomination Form
Please email completed form to firstname.lastname@example.org