FAQ

Questions

Am I eligible for financial aid as a distance education student? Am I eligible for financial aid as an unclassified graduate student? Am I required to pay an application fee for multiple applications submitted for the same term? Am I required to send transcripts from every college ever attended? Are entrance exams a requirement for graduate admission at Mississippi State University? Are there any graduate level waivers that are excluded from taxation? Can a student have a job off-campus in addition to having an assistantship? Can I switch from unclassified to a degree program? Do I receive tuition exemption if I am enrolled in a distance education course? Do I receive tuition exemption if I am enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) course? Does the graduate assistant have to pay taxes on the stipend? Does the Graduate School offer Health Insurance Supplement? How do I register for classes as a distance education student? How many credit hours must a graduate assistant be enrolled in to be eligible to hold a graduate assistantship in the Fall semester and Spring semester? How many hours are required for a graduate assistant during the Summer term? How many unclassified hours will transfer to a degree program? I am having trouble accessing Canvas. What do I need to do? I am resigning from my assistantship. What will happen to my assistantship and tuition remission? What is an assistantship? Where can I apply for a graduate assistantship? Where can I get a copy of the graduate assistantship handbook? Where can I get an application for a graduate assistantship? Why are there tax withholdings on my tuition waiver?

Am I eligible for financial aid as a distance education student?

Yes, please contact the Student Financial Aid Office for information regarding financial aid requirements.

Am I eligible for financial aid as an unclassified graduate student?

Certain types of financial aid may not be available when in the unclassified status. The Graduate School encourages one to contact the Student Financial Aid Office for additional information regarding financial aid eligibility, prior to applying.

Am I required to pay an application fee for multiple applications submitted for the same term?

Yes, a $60 non-refundable application fee is required for each application submitted for processing.

The application fee for International applicants will increase to $80.00.

Am I required to send transcripts from every college ever attended?

We require an official transcript showing the bachelor's degree and any work after bachelor's degree. If transfer work is needed, we will send you an email requesting it.

Are entrance exams a requirement for graduate admission at Mississippi State University?

Most graduate degree programs do require an entrance exam as an admissions requirement. Please contact the graduate coordinator of the program you want to pursue for information regarding exams, scores, etc. You may also refer to the Graduate Bulletin, Requirements Quick Reference guide.

Are there any graduate level waivers that are excluded from taxation?

Graduate Research Assistantship and Graduate Teaching Assistantship tuition exemptions are not subject to taxation. However, Graduate Service Assistantship tuition exemptions may be subject to taxation based on the relation of course of study and assistantship duties.

Can a student have a job off-campus in addition to having an assistantship?

Student can have an off-campus job and an assistantship as long as it does not interfere with their class schedule and it would not prevent them from working the required 20 hours per week.

Can I switch from unclassified to a degree program?

Students admitted in unclassified status must remain unclassified for a period of one semester before being admitted to a degree program.

Do I receive tuition exemption if I am enrolled in a distance education course?

Graduate assistants tuition award does not cover the Distance Education courses when a student is enrolled in more than 9 credit hours. Graduate assistants are responsible for payment of any additional per credit hour rate incurred as a result of Distance Education courses. The full-time tuition exemption credit will be applied to a student’s Banner account covering the basic tuition of the Distance Education course. Tuition Exemption does not cover the Distance Fee charge.

Do I receive tuition exemption if I am enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) course?

Graduate assistants tuition award does not cover the cost of ESL courses when a student is enrolled in more than 9 credit hours. Graduate assistants are responsible for payment of any additional per credit hour rate incurred as a result of ESL courses. Some international students are required by the University to take ESL 5323 and/or ESL 5313. Both are considered undergraduate prerequisite course while holding an assistantship. ESL 5323 and ESL 5313 cannot be taken concurrently.

Does the graduate assistant have to pay taxes on the stipend?

Yes, all compensation paid is subject to state and federal taxes.

Does the Graduate School offer Health Insurance Supplement?

The University provides a health insurance subsidy for Graduate Assistants who purchase the University-sponsored health insurance plan through the MSU Longest Student Health Center.  The total health insurance subsidy is $400 per academic year; $200 for the fall semester and $200 for the spring/summer semester.  The subsidy will be deposited into each Graduate Assistant’s Banner account during the first week of October for the Fall semester and the first week of February for the Spring semester.  To access information about the University-sponsored health insurance plan, visit http://www.health.msstate.edu/healthcenter/insurance_student.php

How do I register for classes as a distance education student?

To get registered, students should contact their graduate advisor.

How many credit hours must a graduate assistant be enrolled in to be eligible to hold a graduate assistantship in the Fall semester and Spring semester?

A graduate assistant must be enrolled in a minimum of 9 graduate credit hours during the entire Fall semester and Spring semester. The full-time course load may not be composed of undergraduate courses unless the undergraduate course is a program prerequisite. Therefore no course may be dropped if the resulting course load is fewer than the required 9 graduate credit hours, nor may any course in the 9-hour load consist of or be converted to audit status.

How many hours are required for a graduate assistant during the Summer term?

A student is required to be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours if working the entire summer or 3 hours if just working one term or Maymester.

How many unclassified hours will transfer to a degree program?

Nine graduate hours of work received as an unclassified student may be transferred to a degree program with the approval of the department. Hours completed in this status may not be used to satisfy provisional admission requirements.

I am having trouble accessing Canvas. What do I need to do?

Distance students should refer to CDE’s Technical Assistance page for additional information on Canvas and other technical issues.

I am resigning from my assistantship. What will happen to my assistantship and tuition remission?

Resigning or being removed from your assistantship, your duties, stipend, and tuition exemption will cease. Your tuition exemption will be pro-rated. You will be required to pay back a pro-rated portion of the previously applied tuition exemption.

What is an assistantship?

Graduate assistantships are provided as financial support for graduate students.  They are intended to facilitate progress toward the earning of a graduate degree.  Graduate research, teaching, and service assistantships are available on an annual or nine-month basis.  Individual academic and non-academic departments/units are responsible for awarding the assistantship, establishing duties and responsibilities, work schedule, and determining stipend rate.  A graduate assistant’s work schedule must not exceed 20 hours per week.  The minimum stipend rate is $600.00 per month.

Where can I apply for a graduate assistantship?

Please contact your home academic department to see whether they have any assistantships availabe. You may also submit your application to the Graduate School.

Where can I get a copy of the graduate assistantship handbook?

From the graduate school website.

Graduate Student Handbook

Where can I get an application for a graduate assistantship?

From the graduate school website and you can also obtain an application from various departments.

Graduate Assistantship Application

Why are there tax withholdings on my tuition waiver?

All Graduate tuition waivers are taxable unless exempt under the Internal Revenue Code.  It is important that you complete your Tuition Remission form completely and answer the questions concerning your course of study and the role it plays in the performance of the duties of the position.