Offers of Financial Support

Offers of financial support may also be sent by graduate programs following the evaluation of applications. Such offers are always subject to approval by the Graduate School and are conditional on the existence of adequate funds to provide this support.

Financial support to a graduate student may be provided in form of a State appointment or a Research Foundation (RF) appointment. Teaching assistantships and Graduate assistantships are State appointments and are governed by the GSEU contract with the State of New York. Research assistantship appointments are made via the Research Foundation and are governed by the RA Union contract with the Research Foundation. Research Assistantships are funded by grants.

The campus establishes a minimum academic year stipend for state appointments. All appointments (TA, GA, RA) are subject to a campus maximum stipend level. In order for a stipend appointment amount to exceed the prescribed maximum, the employing department must obtain written approval from the Dean of the Graduate School.

Students are entitled to know the conditions under which offers of financial support are made, and to expect that explicit commitments of support will be honored, subject to conditions that are stated explicitly at the time of offer.

Consequently, both letters of admission with support and subsequent offers of renewed support should specify:

  • Amount of financial support, including tuition scholarship if applicable.
  • Nature of support - teaching assistant (TA), graduate assistant (GA), or research assistant (RA).
  • Period for which support is given.
  • Level of support - e.g., full, three-quarters, one-half.
  • Time and/or effort involved at level of offered support for graduate or teaching assistant, or certifiable percent of effort for research assistant.
  • Academic and assistantship obligations corresponding to the level of support. A written description should be provided before the obligations begin.
  • Conditions for renewal of support.

Renewal of Support

Subject to the University's policies on the maximum time for which a student may be supported, a department's first obligation for support must be to continuing graduate students in accordance with the conditions stated in the initial letter of offer and subject to the existence of adequate funding. These students must be making satisfactory academic progress, be in good academic standing, and have satisfactorily carried out their academic and assistantship responsibilities as teaching and graduate assistants. The same principles apply to graduate research assistants, recognizing also that reappointment is subject to available external funding and to applicable Research Foundation policies. Offers of continued appointment and support are to be made in writing.

Support may be terminated if a student's academic progress or performance of assistantship responsibilities is unsatisfactory. Support should not be terminated in the middle of an academic year unless student status is withdrawn, the student fails to meet the assigned responsibilities of the assistantship, or all degree requirements have been completed. In the event that external funds with which a graduate research assistant is supported terminated before the end of the period of appointment, departments should make their best efforts to identify alternative support sufficient to allow the student to complete the academic year.

It is the joint responsibility of each graduate student and his/her department or program director to expedite the progress of the student through his/her graduate career. That progress should not be delayed to meet instructional or professional needs of departments beyond those responsibilities assigned to the student.

Unless expected amounts, levels and terms of continuing support are specified in the initial letter of offer, amounts and levels beyond the first year are not to decrease below the original offer unless the reduction is requested by the student or is mutually agreed upon by the student and the department. Any such reductions below the institutional minimum will be accompanied by a corresponding reduction in the student's academic and assistantship obligations.

Financial support may be increased beyond the minimum level offered provided the increase does not derive from decreases in the amount of support already committed to other students below the institutional minimum. Any conditions, restrictions or limitations on increases above the University minimum are to be stated explicitly in the letter of offer or renewal.