Graduate Funding Fundamentals

Congratulations, you’ve received funding support for your graduate degree! The information on this page will help you to understand your benefits, rights, and the details associated with processing the paperwork for your assistantship, scholarship, or fellowship. 

Your Benefits Explained


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Your Benefits Explained

Stipend

The standard minimum stipend is $16,000 for master’s students and $18,000 for doctoral students, based on 2020-2021 figures of a 9-month appointment. Amounts will vary widely depending on the funding source supporting your position. 

For graduate assistants, monthly stipends are issued on the last business day of each month of your appointment. For fellows, stipends are also issued monthly, however, the date may vary. 

Taxes for Fellows

Taxes will not be withheld from your monthly stipend check as some or all of your fellowship stipend may be taxable as income. Refer to the IRS publication for details. You will not receive a W-2 or 1099-MISC at the end of the year from the University of Maine. If you would like a listing of your stipend payments for the year, please contact Rebecca Kennedy.

W-9 Forms for Fellows

If you have never received a fellowship stipend payment before, you must complete the W9 form and return to Rebecca Kennedy (rebecca.gifford@maine.edu) in order to be paid.

If you do not have a Social Security Number, then you should complete the W-8BEN, instead of the W9.


Tuition and Fees

Depending on the source of funding and the guidelines of that funding source, a tuition waiver may be included in the award. Refer to the award letter documentation for specific information on what is covered. 

Tuition waivers will not cover courses taken as audit or below the 400-level. Courses dropped after the official drop period for a given semester will not be covered by an assistantship, with the tuition becoming the responsibility of the student. 

Student fees are typically not covered in assistantships, fellowships, or scholarships, thus becoming the responsibility of the student to pay. A payment plan can be set up with the Bursar’s Office for those on an assistantship, only after the appointment form has been processed by the Graduate School.


Health Insurance 

Graduate assistantships and fellowships may cover up to half of the health insurance costs for the GA/TA/RA/Fellow plan. Visit the Bursar’s Office website for coverage details. Scholarships typically do not cover the costs of the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Insurance is required for all full-time students. 

Timeline & Process


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Timeline & Process

Here are the steps to ensure that your stipend and/or tuition (and in some cases half of the health insurance costs) are properly covered. 

Assistantship & Fellowship

If you’ve been offered an assistantship or fellowship, here are the steps you need to complete to ensure the timely processing of your appointment. Note: this timeline will vary depending on the time of year you are appointed.

Step 1: Sign and return your award letter!

Assuming you’ve received an official offer for your award, your first step is to accept. Follow up with the hiring or awarding unit if you have not received an award letter.

Step 2: Enroll in courses

You must be enrolled in 6 credits (full-time status) in order to be appointed on an assistantship or a fellowship.

International students will automatically be charged for the international health insurance plan. Go to the Office of International Programs website for additional information on waiving or enrolling in the health insurance. 

Domestic students will automatically be billed for the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Those on an assistantship or fellowship are not eligible for this plan, and should not enroll for it.

Students on an assistantship or fellowship are only eligible for the GA/TA/RA & Fellows health insurance plan. You will receive more information once the appointment form has been processed. 

Step 3: Enter your Anticipated Resources in MaineStreet

You must do this after you have enrolled in courses to avoid a $100 late fee on your student bill. Go to the Bursar’s Office website for step-by-step instructions. Fall tuition bills are generated in early July. 

If the appointment form has not been received by the Graduate School by the time the tuition bills for fall have been generated, entering your anticipated resources will alert the Bursar’s Office of your pending award.

Step 4: Ensure the submission of the appointment form

The appointing unit must complete and send the Graduate Assistant Appointment Form or Graduate Fellow Appointment Form to the Graduate School for processing as early as possible, prior to the start of the semester. Follow up with your supervisor to be sure this form has been prepared and sent to the Graduate School for processing.

Step 5: Enroll or waive the non-SHIP health insurance

Once the appointment form has been processed by Graduate School you will receive an email to your @maine.edu account from our staff with further insurance instructions.

Step 6: Set up a payment plan (optional)

Students interested in setting up a payment plan may do so through the Bursar’s Office.

Step 7: Get your staff parking permit

Graduate assistants (TAs, RAs, and GAs) and fellows are eligible for a staff parking permit. You will be able to get the staff permit once the appointment form has been received by the Graduate School.


Scholarship

If you’ve been awarded a scholarship, here are the steps you need to complete to ensure the timely processing of your award.

Step 1: Sign and return your award letter!

Assuming you’ve received an official offer for your award, your first step is to accept. Follow up with the awarding unit if you have not received an award letter.

Step 2: Enroll in courses

You must be enrolled in order to be receive university funding, refer to the award letter for a minimum credit requirement. If you’ve received a scholarship through the Graduate School, once you accept your award our office staff will be sure to update MaineStreet to cover the tuition.

Step 3: Set up a payment plan (optional)

Students interested in setting up a payment plan may do so through the Bursar’s Office.

Step 4: Enter your Anticipated Resources in MaineStreet

You must do this to avoid a $100 late fee on your student bill. Go to the Bursar’s Office website for step-by-step instructions.

Step 5: Enroll or waive in the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP)

Students who have received a scholarship are only eligible for the Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP). Be sure to enroll or waive if you have comparable insurance.

Know Your Rights


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Workplace Policies

This section is provided purely as a reference, your individual department may have rules and regulations that fall outside of the information provided. Follow up with your supervisor if the information below is not listed in your award letter.

Work Schedule

Graduate assistants (TA/RA/GA) typically work 20 hours per week and receive a monthly stipend for 80 hours.

Domestic GA’s may work additional hours, if applicable in their job, with 30 hours per week during the school year, and 40 hours per week during school breaks being the suggested maximum.

International GA’s often have limitations depending on their visa status and should confer with the Office of International Programs before working additional hours.

Sick, Vacation, Holiday Policies

The Graduate School does not have a set policy on vacation, holiday, and sick time for graduate assistants (TA/RA/GA), therefore policies can vary by department, program, or supervisor. A pre-determined agreement should be made between the student and supervisor at the time the appointment award is accepted. 

Required Training for Student Employees

Please refer to the Office of Student Employment for standard annual training. Additional training may be required depending on the type of position, confer with your supervisor for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions


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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How and when should the I-9 work eligibility form be completed? 

The I-9 form must be completed in person with the Office of Student Employment located in Winslow Hall prior to your third (3rd) working day.

Q: When and how should tax forms and direct deposit forms be completed? 

Tax forms and direct deposit information can be completed in MaineStreet Self Service once the appointment form has been processed fully by the Graduate School and Payroll offices. 

Q: When will the tuition and insurance benefit be applied in MaineStreet to adjust my bill?

Tuition and insurance benefits are applied in MaineStreet when the appointment form has been processed by the Graduate School. 

Q: Will the assistantship cover the tuition if I drop a class late? 

No. You will be responsible for paying the tuition for any courses dropped after the official drop period for that given semester unless extenuating circumstances exist. Contact our office if you have any questions.