South Dakota School of Mines and Technology has funds available from various sources for graduate assistantships 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.
Financial assistance is available for graduate teaching assistants (GTA) and for graduate research assistants (GRA). 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.
The Dean of Graduate Education grants the 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. Graduate assistants are required to attend GTA/GRA training each semester prior to any release of funds.
Graduate assistants under state contract are subject to institutional policies set forth in the Faculty/Staff Handbook. Research assistants are required to sign an “Employee Agreement to Disclose Inventions” form. Teaching assistants are required to sign a “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Compliance Sheet”.
A student with a research assistantship (GRA) 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 a satisfactory 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 in order to prevent payment delays.
Graduate assistants who are eligible for reduced tuition at one South Dakota Regental institution are also eligible at other South Dakota institutions. Graduate Special Students (non-degree-seeking students) are not eligible to receive assistantships.
Graduate students are assessed the same campus fees as undergraduates (see “Tuition and Fees”). State law does not permit reduction or remission of fees under any circumstances.
Assistantships with Tuition Reduction
The minimum compensation, established annually by the Board of Regents and currently set at $3,157, 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.
- Summer assistantships. The minimum registration required to receive reduced tuition with a qualifying assistantship in the summer is 2 credits.
Self-support classes, including English remediation classes, are not eligible for reduced tuition.
A student receiving an assistantship and 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. Students who withdraw from the institution will have their assistantships pro-rated to reflect time actually worked.
Minimum Registration for Assistantships without Tuition Reduction
Students may elect to register for fewer than the 9 credits required for tuition reduction while receiving an assistantship. However, the following minimum registration still applies to any student receiving an assistantship, even if tuition reduction is not awarded:
- An assistant receiving a three-quarter time stipend (62.5 percent academic study, 37.5 percent research or teaching) must be registered for a minimum of 7 credit hours during the academic semester in which the assistantship is in effect. Registering for 7 credits does not qualify for reduced tuition. Only students registered for 9 credits in the fall or spring and receiving a qualifying assistantship may receive reduced tuition.
- An assistant receiving a half-time stipend, (75 percent academic study, 25 percent research or teaching) must be registered for a minimum of 5 credit hours during the academic semester in which the assistantship is in effect.
Registering for 5 credits does not qualify for reduced tuition. Only students registered for 9 credits in the fall or spring and receiving a qualifying assistantship may receive reduced tuition.
Note that an assistant receiving a full-time stipend (50 percent academic study, 50 percent research or teaching) must be registered for a minimum of 9 credit hours during the fall or spring academic semester in which the assistantship is in effect. Reduced tuition is available for students meeting these criteria.
A number of fellowships from industrial and governmental agency sources are currently available. Eligibility requirements and restrictions are parallel to those for research assistantships. A fellowship award usually does not include reduced tuition 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 informtion on these programs should be made to the Financial Aid Office.