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General Information

Graduate Assistantships and Fellowships are managed by the Graduate School and can be in support of general administrative duties, teaching assignments, or research projects.

  • The tuition waiver that accompanies graduate assistantships is assigned a dollar-equivalent value, and is counted as a scholarship for financial aid purposes.  This means that financial aid eligibility, including student loan eligibility, is reduced by the amount of the tuition waiver. (For example: if an out-of-state graduate student COA is $39,730... and the tuition waiver is valued at $22,150... then the remaining financial aid eligibility is $16,580.)
  • Often, the tuition waiver is not applied until after student loans are offered.  If this happens, USFA will reduce the student loan award by the dollar value of the assistantship.  The reason for this is because student loans are awarded at the COA limit. (For example: A student is awarded $20,500 in a Stafford Unsubsidized Loan and $7,560 in a Graduate PLUS loan prior to any assistantship awards.  The student is then awarded an assistantship valued at $11,180.  To reduce the loans by $11,180, the Graduate PLUS loan will be canceled and the Stafford Unsubsidized Loan will be reduced to $16,880.)
  • If a loan-based refund is generated prior to the tuition waiver, you will need to repay Virginia Tech for any portion of the refund returned to the lender. If this happens to you, do not send excess loan funds to the lender.  USFA will return the funds for you, and the University Bursar will bill you for excess refunds.
  • Many graduate assistants will decline or reduce their loans if their assistantship includes a monthly stipend.  The stipend table for graduate assistants ranges from Step 1 to Step 50. Each step represents a pay range within which full-time (20 hrs/wk) graduate assistants must be paid. Individual departments determine which pay step to use based on the student's qualifications and experience, academic standing and availability of funds. Departments have a wide range of stipend options to make competitive offers. See more at for Graduate Students