Graduate Assistantships at Shippensburg University

Applications for Graduate Assistantships for the Fall 2022 semester have been closed.  

Shippensburg University provides financial assistance to graduate students through graduate assistantships (GAs), student life graduate assistantships (SLGAs), graduate residence director appointments, student loans, and student payroll positions (SPPs).

Graduate assistant appointments can provide you with the opportunity to participate in professionally-related activities with faculty and administrators. These assignments can extend your learning experience beyond the classroom and enhance your professional development.

GA and SLGA appointments are awarded on a competitive basis, without regard to financial need. They provide a tuition waiver as well as compensation for work performed. SPP appointments are also awarded on a competitive basis. SPPs do NOT provide tuition waivers.

Program Requirements

Type of Position Beginning and Ending Dates Tuition Waiver Allocated Hours
Summer 2022 GA Position May 7 - Aug 12 3 graduate credits 150 hours
Summer 2022 SPP May 7 - Aug 12 No waiver 150 hours
Summer 2022 SLGA May 7 - Aug 12 3 graduate credits 250 hours
Fall 2022 GA Aug 15 - Dec 16 9 graduate credits 250 hours
Fall 2022 SLGA Aug 15 - Dec 16 9 graduate credits 400 hours
Fall 2022 SPP Aug 15 - Dec 16 No waiver 250 hours


Every graduate student who is not a current Shippensburg University full-time employee may apply for a graduate assistantship. To be eligible to receive a graduate assistant appointment, a student must have an overall 3.0 GPA from their undergraduate institution and be admitted into their first Shippensburg master's degree. Students may not be appointed as graduate assistants while working toward their second Shippensburg University master's degree. Non-degree students, those working towards certification without a degree, those working towards a graduate certificate, or in a doctoral program are not eligible. Graduate assistantships are awarded for one semester at a time. The appointment and continuation of an assistantship will depend upon good academic standing (3.0 GPA) and recommendation of the Graduate Program Coordinator. International students should contact the Office of International Studies prior to the beginning of the hiring process. Students who are employed full-time at the University are ineligible.

How to Apply

1. Answer “Yes” to the question on the graduate admission application about being interested in a graduate assistantship. This will place your name on a list of students from which academic departments will hire their graduate assistants. Due to the nature of the work, most academic departments hire students from their programs to be graduate assistants. Please note that academic departments may require the completion of additional steps to apply. Please contact the graduate coordinator of your program for more information.

 2. Check the Career Development Center's website for available graduate assistantships on campus. Positions posted in this location are typically for service-oriented offices on campus. Positions are generally posted beginning in April for the following fall semester and in November for the following spring semester. Positions are posted as they become available, so it is a good idea to check the CDC's website regularly for updates.

Appointment Process

Lists of available graduate assistantships and student payroll positions are available online. You may wish to contact some of these departments directly to express interest in their positions. You should also work with your academic department to identify potential positions.

Departments that hire students will review the applications that have been submitted and consult with academic departments to identify candidates. They may contact you and conduct an interview before making a final decision. If you are selected, the department will make a verbal offer and ask for your acceptance before making the formal recommendation for appointment.

After the appointment is submitted online by the department, the Office of Graduate Studies will verify your eligibility and then send an official letter of appointment. You will then be required to sign a memorandum of understanding and return it to the Office of Graduate Studies. If you have not worked for the university before, you will need to fill out appropriate payroll forms.

Tuition Waiver

The tuition waiver applies to courses necessary for graduation. Therefore, in most cases, students may not hold graduate assistant positions for more than two years, defined for this purpose as four regular semesters and one summer session. The tuition waiver will cover only nine credits and students will have to make other financial arrangements to fund their graduate education. Only if the department is on an accelerated schedule where 12 credits is the norm for the department, e.g. Social Work, Criminal Justice, will the graduate assistantship tuition waiver extend from a maximum of nine to twelve credits.

Academic Load

During the academic year, full-time graduate assistants usually enroll in nine graduate credits each semester. Graduate students may be instructed by their Graduate Coordinators to take only six credits for a semester or two during their program, putting students in temporary part-time Graduate Assistant (GA) status so that only those courses required to graduate are covered by the tuition waiver. 

During the summer sessions, all graduate assistants who get paid for summer GA positions must register for and complete at least one graduate course (3 or 4 credits) during one of the summer sessions.

Work and Compensation

There are two types of graduate assistantships: regular assistantships and Student Life assistantships. The Office of the Provost is responsible for regular assistantships and all graduate assistants so assigned must work 250 hours per semester regardless of credit load taken. GA appointment letters will note that even part-time GA's are required to work the full-time allocation of 250 hours. 

The Student Affairs Division is responsible for Student Life Graduate Assistantships (SLGA) and those so assigned must work 400 hours per semester and receive payment per an hourly wage.

Graduate Assistantship Status for those who fail, withdraw from class(es), or need to repeat class(es), the tuition wavier will be prorated based on the date of withdrawal, and the student will be billed accordingly. Under no circumstances will the School of Graduate Studies award a tuition waiver for a class from which the student previously withdrew (received a W on their transcript) or received a grade of F grade on their transcript, or received a grade which fails to meet academic requirements and the student is repeating the course.

Employee Benefits

With the exception of the tuition waiver and compensation for work performed (including social security and workmen's compensation payments), students in Graduate Assistantships and student payroll positions do not receive any of the benefits provided to regular university employees, such as health benefits, sick leave, special parking passes for vehicles, or paid holidays or vacations. 

Changing an Appointment

Upon the consent and approval of all involved parties including the Graduate Dean, Graduate Assistants may move from one graduate assistantship to another. 

Resignation or Dismissal

A graduate assistant may resign from a GA position during the course of a semester. Any hours worked prior to resignation must be recorded on the student payroll and paid to the student.

A student who resigns will have tuition waiver prorated based on the number of hours actually worked. For example, if a graduate assistant works 50 hours and then resigns, only 20 percent (50/250) of the tuition will be waived. The student will then be billed for the remaining 80 percent.

 A student who withdraws from classes and no longer meets the academic load requirements will be dismissed from the assistantship. Compensation and tuition waiver policies are the same as those for a resignation.

 A Graduate Assistant may be dismissed from a position due to poor work performance or an inability to discharge the duties of the assignments. The supervisor must notify their supervisor and the Dean of Graduate Studies in writing of the decision and justification. Compensation and tuition waiver policies are the same as those for a resignation.

It is not possible for a student to continue in a Graduate Assistant position while on academic probation. 

When graduate students are unable to resolve issues related to their employment by talking with their supervisors, students are encouraged to contact the Department Chair, the respective college Dean, or another individual in the university's chain of command, information which can be retrieved at the Graduate Dean's Office.

Please contact the Graduate Office if you have any questions at (717) 477-1148 or

Please contact the Graduate Office if you have any questions at (717) 477-1148 or Old Main 200