After completing their bachelor’s degrees, some students decide to continue their education in graduate school. This can be a daunting decision as it often proves to be more expensive than undergraduate degrees.
Some students become graduate teaching assistants to alleviate costs.
According to Kansas State policy, graduate students are appointed to work no more than 20 hours per week and are paid on a biweekly basis with minimum wage being the lowest dollar amount they can be paid per hour, which is currently $7.25. This adds up to $3,750 per semester for master’s degree students and $4,250 for doctoral students.
GTAs also receive a full tuition waiver for spring and fall semesters for working a .4 full time equivalency appointment.
“I feel like this amount is not adequate,” said James Lin, graduate teaching and research assistant and student in agronomy. “I feel like as grad students, we get paid just enough to cover rent and groceries. There isn’t really much to save after all the necessary expenses.”
Lin started out as a graduate research assistant, but was offered an opportunity to be a GTA as well.
“All graduate students are different in funding source,” Lin said. “My project pays me as a GRA, so I don’t have to be a TA.”
Lin is paid $100 every two weeks after taxes on top of his GRA stipend. His tuition is also completely covered by his tuition waiver.
GTAs at K-State are among the lowest paid of Kansas schools.
At Fort Hays State, full GTAs who work 19 hours per week are paid $5,000 per semester in addition to resident tuition and nine hours of graduate tuition assistance.
According to Wichita State‘s policies and procedures regarding GTAs, stipends vary “according to the length of the appointment, the number of hours per week required by the appointment, and the funding base within each program area.” One position within WSU’s Elliot School of Communication lists a stipend of $8,000 per nine-month period, or $4,000 per semester. GTAs are also eligible for full or partial waiver in-state tuition of up to 12 hours of 500-level courses and above.
Stipends for GTAs at the University of Kansas vary across academic departments, but compensation does include full or partial tuition and some campus fees. In fiscal year 2012, GTAs made a salary of $6,375 per semester.