SDSM&T has funds available from various sources for graduate assistantships (GAs) and fellowships. Such awards are usually made on the basis of scholastic merit and the availability of funds. Assistantships are not available to students on probation unless an exception is granted by the dean of graduate education. Graduate special students (non-degree-seeking students) are not eligible to receive assistantships.
Graduate teaching assistantships (GTAs), graduate research assistantships (GRAs), and hybrid GRA/GTA positions are offered. A GTA assists with instruction within laboratory sections, grades papers, or performs other assigned instructional duties. A GRA is compensated to conduct supervised research, generally relating to the student’s thesis or dissertation research. Hybrid positions have a combination of the duties of GRAs and GTAs, as determined by the funding department.
The dean of graduate education grants the GA award, acting upon the recommendation of the department head, program coordinator, or major professor, after evaluation of the student’s academic record, overall qualifications, and programmatic progress.
GAs under state contract are subject to institutional policies set forth in the faculty/staff handbook. GRAs are required to sign an employee agreement to disclose inventions form. GTAs are required to sign a family educational rights and privacy act compliance form.
A student with a graduate assistantship should recognize that the prescribed hours of research work are minimum expectations mandated by employment practices and may not represent the effort that will be actually necessary to produce satisfactory progress and completion of a thesis or dissertation within a reasonable period of time.
Students must register before assistantships and fellowships are processed for the semester for which they are authorized. Graduate assistants who are eligible for reduced tuition at one South Dakota regental institution are also eligible for reduced tuition at other South Dakota regental institutions.
Graduate assistantships may include partial or full tuition and fees support as a benefit, as defined by South Dakota Board of Regent policy.
Assistantships with Tuition and Support
The minimum compensation, established annually by the South Dakota Board of Regents and currently set at $3,849, must be awarded in each semester to qualify for reduced tuition.
Additionally, a student with an assistantship must meet the following minimum registration requirements to qualify for reduced tuition:
- Spring and Fall Assistantships: The minimum registration required to receive reduced tuition with a qualifying assistantship in a fall or spring semester is 9 credits. Note, also, that FICA withholding applies to all graduate students with assistantships, or paid on an hourly basis, who are enrolled in less than 5 credits in either the Fall or Spring semester.
- Summer Assistantships: The minimum registration required to receive reduced tuition with a qualifying assistantship in the summer is 2 credits. Note, however, that FICA withholding applies to all graduate students students with assistantships, or paid on an hourly basis, who are enrolled in less than 3 credits in the summer semester.
Certain specialized courses that are outside the graduate curricula of SD Mines are not eligible for reduced tuition (http://www.sdsmt.edu/Admissions/Tuition-and-Fees/Tuition-Rates-Descriptions/ ). These include English remediation classes. Internet self support courses (course sections labeled 840T) are eligible for reduced tuition.
A student receiving an assistantship along with tuition remission is required to maintain 9 credits throughout the semester in which the support is received. If a student drops to fewer than 9 credits, the student will immediately lose the assistantship and will be required to repay the institution for the tuition remission on the dropped class unless the student adds additional credits to maintain full time status. Students who withdraw from the institution or have their assistantship terminated in the middle of the semester will have their assistantship stipend and tuition reduction pro-rated to reflect time actually worked.
Graduate Fellowships and other Resources
A number of fellowships from industrial and governmental agency sources are currently available. Eligibility requirements and restrictions are parallel to those for graduate assistantships. A fellowship award usually does not include reduced tuition and fees as a benefit. Pre-registration by continuing students is required to prevent payment delays.
Graduate students who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-citizens may be eligible for other forms of financial aid such as federal Stafford student loans, federal Perkins student loans, or federal work study. Application and requests for additional information on these programs should be made to the Financial Aid Office at SDSM&T.