Do I Have to TA if I Have a Fellowship? – UW Graduate School Skip to content

Do I Have to TA if I Have a Fellowship?

I received an NRSA predoctoral fellowship. My understanding is that the fellowship is to cover my graduate school tuition so that I can devote full-time efforts to research (as required by NIH policy). However, my department has requested that I TA in the Spring quarter (concurrently with my fellowship) to cover the tuition shortfall. Is this typical? Are there options for tuition waivers so that I may focus solely on research? Are there limits to the number or amount of tuition waivers for NRSA recipients? 

(This week’s answer is courtesy of Helene Obradovich, Director of Fellowships and Awards, Graduate School.)

The Graduate School often provides tuition waivers for students who receive prestigious, individually-awarded, nationally-competitive fellowships from external organizations that don’t cover the full cost of tuition. We want to ensure that graduate students know that they can and should apply for these prestigious awards without concern for how they will cover the cost of tuition. Examples of types of funders/awards include the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral and Dissertation fellowships, NSF Graduate Research fellowships, fellowships from the AAUW, ACLS fellowships, etc. NIH NRSA individual fellowships also fall into that category. Have your department contact our Fellowships & Awards office to discuss how this might work. The request for tuition coverage must come from your department.  Our staff can be reached at or 3-7152. Any graduate student considering applying for an award that doesn’t cover the full cost of tuition should also contact our Fellowships & Awards office before applying for confirmation on whether we can assist with tuition coverage.

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