UW Graduate School

Funding FAQs

Academic Student Employees (TA/RA/SA)

Is it possible to hire an ASE for less than 50%?

Yes, you can hire at less than 50%. You should use the pay schedule listed in Schedule 2, and remember that the student will not receive insurance or tuition waiver benefits. Don’t forget that the student can only work for the percentage of time hired (e.g., if it’s not a 50% appointment, you can’t expect the same work effort/time as you would for a regular, 50% ASE).

I want to hire a student as an RA, but the student has work study. Is that possible?

Yes, you use the Work Study RA rate listed in the far right columns in the salary chart. These appointments do not receive tuition waivers or insurance because work study students must work less than 50%. More information >

I am hiring an ASE who comes from a department with a different pay rate than our department. What salary should I use?

Teaching assistants and staff assistants are paid at the hiring department salary rate; Research assistants are paid at the student’s academic home department rate.  For more information, read the policies >

How many hours in a quarter is an ASE expected to work?

These are union positions and the workload requirements, along with other policies and procedures, are spelled out in the UW/UAW contract.

I would like to hire a student from a fee-based program to serve as an ASE. Is that allowed?

Graduate students enrolled in fee-based degree programs are eligible to be hired as ASEs and, if in eligible positions, receive GAIP coverage and payment of course fees. However there is a difference from hiring a student who is in a tuition-based program. Tuition waivers provided from central resources are not available to pay fees for these students, so employing departments pay a portion of the fees directly to Educational Outreach (course fees only, not fees that are normally paid by eligible ASEs). For more information, please see the Planning and Budgeting brief [Note: the Planning and Budgeting brief applies only to the Seattle campus. For Bothell and Tacoma campuses, please contact the Planning and Budgeting office or the relevant authority on your campus] and the Fee-Based Degree Policy Handbook (page 14).


Our student is supposed to receive a tuition waiver (either resident or non-resident differential), but it has not disbursed to the student’s account? What should I do?

There are several steps to take:

    1. Waivers are usually not disbursed to the student’s account until shortly before the quarter begins. Have the student wait until classes begin and then check his/her account balance.
    2. Check to make sure that the student is registered for 10 credits (the waiver will not disburse at less than 10 credits).
    3. Check to make sure the student’s appointment is in an eligible category AND that it is entered into the payroll system.
    4. If the above are all correct and the tuition has not been waived, contact the staff in the Fellowships and Awards office to confirm whether or not a waiver was placed on the student’s account and how to resolve it.
We have a non-resident student receiving a fellowship that does not provide a tuition waiver. Is there any way to waive the non-resident portion of the tuition?
  1. If the fellowship is administered by (paid through) the UW payroll system, a student is eligible for a NRD waiver if he/she is registered for 10 credits and is paid at least $500 per month for five out of the six pay periods. Students with eligible appointments will have this waiver placed automatically. If you believe a student is eligible and the waiver has not dispersed by the beginning of the third week of classes, please contact the Office of Fellowships and Awards.
  2. If the fellowship is not paid through the UW payroll system (i.e., the funding agency sends the payment directly to the student), then an NRD waiver is not available. However, if your department has a resource such that you can provide a $1250 stipend ($500/month over 5 pay periods) through the payroll system, then the student would receive the automatic NRD waiver.
Can students in fee-based programs receive tuition waivers?

Technically speaking, no, since students in such programs do not pay tuition. Instead, they pay program and course fees and have their charges and payments managed through Educational Outreach. As such, they are not eligible for the various tuition waivers provided by the Graduate School (e.g., GO-MAP tuition waivers, Top Scholar tuition waivers, etc.). Fee-based students employed in eligible ASE positions must have the operating and building portion of their fees paid. Some fee-based academic programs that set aside revenues for student financial assistance can use those funds towards payment of fees; other programs can pay fees out of discretionary or non-state monies.

For information about payment of fees for fee-based ASEs, please see the Planning and Budgeting brief: “Criteria for Course Payment for Graduate Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Staff Assistants Who Are Matriculated in Fee-Based Degree Programs.” [Note: the Planning and Budgeting brief may apply only to the Seattle campus. For Bothell and Tacoma campuses, please contact the Planning and Budgeting office or the relevant authority on your campus.]


My student would like to enroll for less than 10 credits and keep his/her GSA appointment with tuition waiver and benefits. Is that possible?

A Petition for Reduced Enrollment can be filed with the Office of Fellowships and Awards, however there are limited criteria for eligibility (see below). A student in his/her last quarter before graduation must be enrolled full-time unless they meet one of these criteria.

Students must meet one of these criteria:

    1. If the student will not be making substantial use of University facilities or personnel (courses not available, faculty members not available for consultation), AND if the appointment does not directly contribute to the degree.
    2. If the appointment prevents the student from making reasonable satisfactory progress (e.g. an RA working at a remote location, without access to University facilities, on a project which is UNRELATED to the thesis/dissertation topic). This information must be well substantiated.
    3. If the student is working less than 20 hours per week or less than 5 out of 6 pay periods and thus does not qualify for a tuition waiver, and will suffer financial hardship; OR has health problems which warrant a reduced workload (documentation required).
Does a student with a fellowship or graduate student appointment have to be enrolled in 10 credits during the summer?

In summer elibility for RA/TA/SA appointments is maintained with enrollment in two credits. However, this policy does not override other enrollment policies in existence. Many other things – notably student visas, need-based financial aid, and deferral of existing student loans – may require enrollment in more credits, so students should always confirm with the pertinent offices if two credits will be sufficient.

Exceptions to the full-time enrollment requirement are Summer Non-registered Graduate Research Student Assistants (GRSAs). These are hourly positions for non-registered graduate ASEs to perform research work during summer quarter. As the title implies, students appointed in this category should not be registered at all. Information can be found at the UAW contract.


Our department has an endowed fellowship that it would like to award. Do we have to pay tuition waiver and benefits or will the Graduate School cover that?

Unless the endowment agreement requires that tuition and/or benefits are covered, you are not required to provide those. If you are using the endowment to provide recruitment funding to new students, you may wish to consider requesting tuition waivers through the Graduate School’s biennial Top Scholar process.

What is the minimum amount of a fellowship in order to receive waivers and/or benefits?
  •  Non-resident differential (NRD) tuition waivers only: $500 per month, for 5 out of 6 pay periods
  •  Non-resident differential (NRD) tuition waiver and GAIP insurance: $800 per month, for 5 out of 6 pay periods (the payroll load rate will be charged to the student’s appointment distribution budget).

Top Scholar

We received funding in one category, but we would like to use it in a different way. Can we switch use of the funding (for example, award travel money instead of a fellowship or award an RA rather than a fellowship)?

Usually not. The Top Scholar categories are paid from different funding sources and are therefore not easily changed. If there is an extraordinary situation you can contact the Fellowships and Awards office to determine is a change is possible.

The only category that has some flexibility is block grant: it can be used for recruitment travel, recruitment top-off fellowships, or a combination of both.

We awarded our Top Scholar fellowship (or RA) to a new student who now has other funding/will not be attending the UW. Is it possible to move the funding to a different new student? What about a continuing student?

The purpose of Top Scholar is recruitment of stellar students, so reassignment of a Top Scholar award follows these criteria:

    1. Okay to reassign: If the award can be offered to another uncommitted applicant and may make the difference in having the applicant accept the admission offer, and it is before the allocation deadline.
    2. Check with Fellowships and Awards for approval: if the award is to be offered to an applicant after the allocation deadline.
    3. Not allowable: Providing Top Scholar awards to continuing students.