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Graduate Assistantships at Shippensburg University

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


Tuition Waiver 

Allocated Hours

Summer GA May 13 - Aug 16 3-6 credits 150 hours
Summer SLGA May 13 - Aug 16 3-9 credits 250-300 hours
Summer SPP May 13 - Aug 16 No waiver 150 hours
Fall GA Aug 19 - Dec 13 9-12 credits 250 hours
Fall SLGA Aug 19 - Dec 13 9-12 credits 350-400 hours
Fall SPP Aug 19 - Dec 13 No waiver 250 hours
Spring GA Jan 8 - May 10 9-12 credits 250 hours
Spring SLGA Jan 8 - May 10 9-12 credits 350-400 hours
Spring SPP Jan 8 - May 10 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. Graduate assistantships are awarded for two, consecutive semesters 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 or worksite supervisor. Those who are ineligible for a graduate assistantship are nondegree students, those working towards certification without a degree, those working towards a graduate certificate, or students in a doctoral program.

International students are eligible for graduate assistantships and should contact the Office of International Studies prior to the beginning of the hiring process. 

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. You can apply for available positions at under System Access, Apply for GA Positions.

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 Graduate School office will verify your eligibility and then send an official letter of appointment. You will then be required to sign a memorandum of agreement and return it to The Graduate School.

Graduate Assistants may be hired for an assistantship through the end of the first week of a semester, for summer assistantships, through the end of the first week of Summer term A. 

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 9 credits for fall/spring, and 3 for summer.  Students will have to make other financial arrangements to fund their graduate education.

Some programs are on an accelerated schedule where 12 credits is the norm for the department; Applied Psych, Business (MBA), Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Social Work, and Strategic Communication the graduate assistantship tuition waiver extend from a maximum 12 credits.

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 Graduate School 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.

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. 

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. All graduate assistants are obligated to work for 250 hours per semester and 150 hours for the summer (which includes Summer term A and term B). Once the graduate assistant exhausts their 250 hour work obligation per semester, those assistants classified as Student Life will be contracted to work an additional 50, 100, or 150 hours based on their student employment contract. All graduate assistants currently earn a $10.00 hourly wage and use Etime to record their hours.

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

A Graduate Assistant (GA) who has a satisfactory work history shall not be dismissed because the GA is a poor fit for the duties and requirements of the job for which they were hired.  The Graduate School, Graduate Coordinators, and work sit supervisors shall work in concert to re-assign a GA to a position for which the GA's skills set is in alignment with the job requirements.  Re-assignment of a GA requires the consent of all the respective supervisors and/or departments or programs.

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 Director of The Graduate School 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 The Graduate School office.

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

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

Contact The Graduate School 1871 Old Main Drive, suite 200, Shippensburg University, Shippensburg, PA 17257 Phone: 717-477-1148