Graduate Assistantship and Fellowship Policies

Tuition Waivers

Tuition waivers may be offered to students receiving a qualifying graduate assistantship or fellowship and are governed by the specific tuition waiver policies of the granting academic college.

Qualifying graduate assistantships must be a minimum of 10 hours a week and may not exceed 20 hours a week (see previous page) and must total a minimum of 160 hours during spring and fall semesters.   

  • Students who, for any reason, do not complete a minimum of 160 hours in a given semester will not be eligible for that semester’s waiver and will be billed for the tuition.
  • Partial tuition waivers are not given if the student works fewer than the minimum hours (160) required per semester.

Tuition waivers cover base tuition for NDSU graduate credits only. Students are responsible for differential tuition, student fees, and tuition for non-graduate level credits taken or Cooperative Education credits.   

  • The tuition waiver may be reduced by other financial awards directed specifically to pay tuition.
  • Students receiving a graduate tuition waiver may not receive other NDSU tuition waivers. Student eligible for multiple tuition waivers will receive the waiver resulting in the most tuition being waived.

Tuition waivers are applied to student accounts following completion of required trainings. 

Eligibility for a summer tuition waiver is dependent upon the specific tuition waiver policies of the granting college which may include holding a summer assistantship or having received a tuition waiver for the preceding or following academic term (spring or fall semester). 

Rights and Privileges of Graduate Assistants 

Graduate assistants have certain rights and privileges specific to the assistantship experience:

  • The right to be notified in writing of all decisions that affect their status as a graduate assistant. This includes advance notification of evaluation procedures and a summary of their performance evaluation. 
  • The right to be notified of any complaints received by a supervisor or department chair concerning their performance of duties. 
  • The right to respond in writing to such complaints. 
  • The right, depending on the availability of departmental and university resources, to be supported in pursuing additional activities that pertain to their professional development. 
  • The right to balance their assistantship responsibilities with their responsibilities to their academic program so that they can complete their degree in a timely manner. 
  • The privilege of being treated as a professional in their chosen field of study.


Graduate assistants may have their assistantship terminated by the Dean of the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, upon recommendation by their supervisor, with documentation of probable cause. Early termination for cause may occur when: 

  • A student does not abide by the appointment conditions. 
  • A student fails to perform tasks as assigned. 
  • A student does not make adequate degree progress. 
  • A student is placed on Academic Probation. 
  • A student does not make satisfactory research progress. 
  • A student fails to maintain minimum registration. 
  • A student persistently refuses to follow reasonable advice and counsel of faculty in carrying out assistantship obligations. 
  • A student fails to comply with responsibilities as an employee set forth in the University Catalog, department rules and regulations governing assistantships, or the terms of sponsored research agreements that fund the assistantship. 
  • A student's personal conduct is seriously prejudicial to the university, including violation of the NDSU Code of Student Behavior, state or federal law, and general university regulations. 

Appeals Process 

The North Dakota State University philosophy is to encourage and seek resolution of problems at the level most closely related to the origin of the specific disputes. 

The first step should be an informal conference to first discuss and attempt to resolve the problem(s) with the person(s) directly involved. 

When a mutually satisfactory resolution cannot be reached or if discussion of the problem(s) seems inappropriate because of the nature of the student's complaint, the student should seek advice from the director of the program, chair of the department, or the graduate program coordinator. 

Depending on the nature of the problem(s), the department chair or student's graduate committee chair may deal with the situation directly, advise the student to discuss the problem(s) with the appropriate academic dean and/or the Dean of the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, or advise the student of the appropriate grievance procedure to pursue. 

If the graduate assistant wishes to challenge the termination decision, a written appeal to the Dean of the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies must be made within 14 calendar days of notification of the mediation results (refer to section titled "Graduate Student Appeals").