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 $17,000 for master’s students and $20,000 for doctoral students, based on 2022-2023 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 activity or technology 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). More information is available in the FAQ section below.

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 health insurance. 

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 the $50-per-month 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 the $50-per-month 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.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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

Once your appointment form is completed and processed by payroll, you will receive an email confirming that your job is activated in MaineStreet and outlining the next required steps. You will then complete the first portion of the online I-9 via MaineStreet > Employee Self-Service > Personal Details.

When the first portion of your I-9 is completed AND the job is activated in MaineStreet, you will then go in person to the Office of Student Employment in Wingate Hall with your documents so that they can verify and complete the second portion of the I-9.

More information can be found on the Student Employment website.

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.

Q: Is health insurance required?

Insurance is not required for grad students unless they are:

  • Grad Assistants, GA, TA, RA
  • Graduate Fellows or
  • International students

Q: What are the different health insurance plans offered through the University, and how much do they cost?

There are only two plans offered through UM.

  1. Voluntary insurance (SHIP) $3918
  2. GA/International insurance $2663

Q: How does the health insurance charge (premium) appear on the student bill?

  • International students are charged insurance when they enroll in full-time courses for Fall.
  • GA insurance is added later once the Grad School has processed an appointment form.
  • The voluntary insurance is not billed through MaineStreet and is not an automatic charge for students.

Q: How can students enroll in a health insurance plan?

  • International grad students are charged the insurance premium in MaineStreet when they enroll for 6 or more Fall credits. Enrollment or waiver should be completed online at the Gallagher Health Insurance site. The Office of International Programs can help with questions.
  • Domestic graduate students NOT on a GA or Fellowship can enroll in the voluntary plan online through Gallagher Health.
    • Fall course enrollment is necessary to prove eligibility
  • Domestic Graduate Assistants or Fellows are charged the GA/Intl insurance in the MaineStreet student bill when their appointment form is processed by the Grad School. An email with instructions and the link to Gallagher Health Insurance will be sent to the student.
  • Enrollment or waiver can only happen 24-48 hours AFTER the appointment paperwork has been processed by Grad School staff. The Bursar’s office will upload the GA/Fellow student data to the Gallagher site (daily), so the student will be active to enroll or waive.

Q: Do students need to waive out of the UMaine insurance plan(s) if they have private insurance?

YES, grad assistants and international students have until October 1, 2022, to waive the UMaine plan online at the Gallagher Insurance site. If they do not waive out by October 1, they will be automatically enrolled and billed for the insurance.

  • Once the waiver has been completed online, it can take 24-48 hours to remove the premium charge on the MaineStreet student bill.
  • If GA’s chose to waive out of any of the plans because of their own health insurance, the waiver option will appear in a few days. Once the student applies for the waiver, they should receive an email stating that the waiver has been submitted and/or processed. Students should look out for an email from notifications@gallagherstudent.com.

Q: Can dependents be enrolled on the health insurance plan(s)?

Voluntary SHIP does not allow dependent enrollment, but the GA/International plan does. Students should complete the enrollment online after they have enrolled themselves. GA plan will cover dependents and domestic partners.

Q: What is the coverage period for the health insurance plans?

Both Voluntary SHIP and GA/International plans begin August 1, 2022, and end July 31, 2023.

Q: I was told that my insurance will be covered 100% but I only see 50% being covered, what should I do?

They should contact Jessica Ouellette at jessica.ouellette1@maine.edu

Q: What do the health insurance plans cost?

Voluntary SHIP is $3918 for the year. GA/Intl is $2663 for the year.

Q: Can Grad Assistants/Fellows/International students enroll in the GA insurance for the Fall only?

Yes, but typically only if they are going to be a December graduate. The Fall-only plan needs to be manually adjusted by the Bursar’s office.

Q: Will an assistantship pay the heath insurance premium? If so, when will the charge be removed from the student bill?

Most GA and Fellow positions will cover 50% of the premium if the student enrolls. Some positions may cover more. The benefit is applied immediately when the appointment form is processed at the Grad School.

Students CANNOT receive the 50% benefit if they do not enroll in the health insurance plan with UMaine.

Q: If students have a specific policy, coverage, or claim questions, who should they contact?

Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk for UM.

Q: What if I need urgent care and my paperwork is not yet processed or received?

Students would need to contact Jessica Ouellette via email:
jessica.ouellette1@maine.edu

Frequently Asked Questions