Graduate Student Tuition Waivers

Type of Policy: 
Administrative
Effective Date: 
August 2016
Last Revised: 
August 2016
Policy Owner: 
Graduate Studies
Contact Name: 
Susan Cozzens
Contact Title: 
Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development
Contact Email: 
scozzens@gatech.edu
Reason for Policy: 
This policy statement consolidates a number of current practices. It clarifies the two major types of tuition waivers; sets conditions for waiver of tuition if the student’s employment status changes during the term; and sets conditions for GRA or GTA positions in non-academic units.
Policy Statement: 
Full tuition waivers accompany all research and teaching assistant positions that require one-third to one-half time work. Half tuition waivers may be offered; tuition waivers may be prorated for approved hires after the term starts; and academic units may provide tuition waivers to GRAs or GTAs working in non-academic units if the work is done under the supervision of a faculty member. Graduate students are eligible for non-resident tuition waivers only under special circumstances.
Scope: 

The policy applies to all graduate students and all programs.

Definitions

Non-resident tuition waiver (NRTW)

Administrative action that reduces tuition for an out-of-state student to in-state level.

Full tuition waiver

Administrative action that reduces tuition for a graduate research or teaching assistant to $25.

Half tuition waiver

Administrative action that reduces the tuition bill for a graduate student to half of the in-state tuition level, in conjunction with a work assignment at half the number of hours of a full assistantship in the same program. Can be used only with state funds.

Tuition remission

The tuition rate automatically charged to a GTF account or sponsored project when a GRA or GTA is paid from the account or project. When the project pays tuition remission, the student receives a full tuition waiver as described above.

Academic Unit

Any school, department, or program within one of the colleges.

Academic Faculty Member

As defined in the Faculty Handbook. To supervise GRA or GTA credits, the individual must be cleared to be an instructor by the Office of Faculty Development.

Procedures: 

5.1 Types of tuition waivers

Georgia Tech’s policies on tuition waivers for graduate students are framed by those of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia (BOR), as well as by federal grant regulations. The BOR allows Georgia Tech to provide two distinct types, both called “waivers” in its tuition policies (BOR Policy Manual Section 7.3.4.1; see Fall 2015 revisions).

1. Non-resident tuition waivers (NRTWs)

Non-Resident Tuition Waivers (NRTWs) are also called “out of state tuition waivers.” These waivers eliminate the out-of-state portion of the tuition a student would otherwise pay. They fall into several categories:

  1. Presidential Waivers, of which there are three types: academic, athletic, and international. These waivers are awarded based on specific criteria proposed by the institution. The BOR limits the number of these Georgia Tech can give to 4% of the student body, plus an additional 140 for graduate students. For graduate students, these waivers are administered by the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid, after approval by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development.

1.2.Mandated categories. The BOR mandates that we give NRTWs to several categories of people, including employees; military personnel and their families; border county residents; family members of residents; and students associated with economic development activities of the state. (See details in the BOR Policy Manual Section 7.3.4.1.) These waivers are administered by the Registrar’s Office.

  1. Reciprocal. Another major group of NRTWs is used in exchange programs, whether international or domestic. These reductions apply to “any student who enrolls in a USG institution as a participant in an international or domestic direct exchange program that provides reciprocal benefits to USG students.” For international exchanges, these waivers are administered by the Office of International Programs.

 

2. Full Tuition Waivers

The other major category of waivers largely releases the student from payment of tuition, except the $25 mandated by the Board of Regents. The BOR permits Georgia Tech to give graduate students full tuition waivers as long as they are research assistants (GRAs) or teaching assistants (GTAs) (see BOR Policy Manual Section 7.3.1.2). Other Georgia Tech policies govern who counts as a GRA or GTA for full tuition waiver purposes (e.g., must be full time student working 13-20 hours per week). Unlike NRTWs, full tuition waivers are not limited in number by the BOR.

  1. GRAs (sponsored). Most GRAs are supported under grants or contracts and thereby receive full tuition waivers. When this is the case, tuition “remission” is charged to the grant. Tuition remission is paid at the rate negotiated with the federal government and is reflected in our agreements with our federal audit agency, ONR (the Office of Naval Research); the current rate is posted on the Office of Sponsored Programs web site. If the agency’s policies for a particular program do not allow this full payment, the EVPR can authorize that the sponsored project not be charged tuition remission. The EVPR office must approve this at the time the proposal is submitted. In order to maintain consistent charging, Foundation accounts also pay tuition when they support GRAs. The money charged to grants and foundation accounts goes into a fund called GSTRP (the Graduate Student Tuition Remission Program), which is used for general operations.
  2. GTAs (and non-sponsored GRAs). Any graduate student on non-sponsored GRA or GTA support (that is, support paid with state operating funds) also receives a full tuition waiver and pays the mandated $25 tuition.  Georgia Tech is required under its federal contracting relationship to maintain consistency between the cost of sponsored GRAs and the cost of GTAs and non-sponsored GRAs. The waivers for non-sponsored assistantships are allocated to the colleges under a set of procedures described in another policy.
  3. Graduate Assistants. The BOR would also allow Georgia Tech to give full tuition waivers to graduate assistants (those doing small jobs or administrative work or part time students), but Georgia Tech reserves that category of employment to be used without a full tuition waiver.

 

 

5.2 Timing of waivers

Both NRTWs and full tuition waivers must be applied to a student’s account before tuition is due (the Monday of the second week of class). Full tuition waivers must be associated with a GRA or GTA appointment by that same time. If these conditions are not met, the student is responsible for full tuition for the term.

Termination mid-semester

Assistantships may be terminated mid-semester if students withdraw, complete their degree work, or leave campus permanently. In these cases, stipends will be paid only to the date of termination. Any tuition waiver applied at the beginning of the semester will continue to be in force. Sponsored projects will be charged the monthly rate for tuition remission up to the date of termination. If a student does not complete the work commitment for any reason other than withdrawing and leaving school, then the tuition waiver will be removed and student will be responsible for paying tuition for the full term at the applicable rate (resident or non-resident).

 

Late hires

In the rare case in which a student is hired for a GRA or GTA position after tuition and fees are due for the term, responsibility for tuition up to the month of hiring remains with the student, at the applicable rate (resident or non-resident). Responsibility for tuition from the month of hiring shifts to the account to which the GRA or GTA position is being charged through the use of a prorated tuition waiver amount reflecting the portion of the term remaining based on the last day of the hiring month.  Because the percentages vary from term to term, the Bursar will post the percentages for each term. Since late hiring is an exception to regular practices and may affect other aspects of financial aid, it requires review by the Registrar, Bursar, and Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and written approval from the Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

5.3  Other provisions

Half waivers

Graduate programs may offer half research or teaching assistantships to full-time students, if state funds are being used. Like full assistantships, these automatically waive the non-resident portion of tuition. The student pays half of in-state tuition, and the other half is waived. The student is still responsible for all differential tuition in programs where this applies. The work assignment for these assistantships must be half the number of hours required for a full assistantship in the same program.

Waivers for work outside the colleges

All tuition waivers are allocated to and used by academic units alone. The student’s home school must enter the waiver, regardless of where the student is working. By entering the waiver, the academic program certifies that the work to be done is relevant to the student’s graduate education. If non-academic units want to fund GRA or GTA positions, they can request the waiver to accompany the positions from the home school of the student who will be hired. The unit must certify that the assignment contributes to the student’s graduate education and an academic faculty member must provide supervision for the educational aspect of the work, as shown by the student’s registering for GRA or GTA credit with that faculty member. All GRA or GTA assignments outside the colleges must be approved by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development.

Student responsibility for fees

Tuition waivers do not include waivers of payment of fees. Responsibility for fees always remains with individual students when they are hired as GRAs or GTAs.

Responsibilities: 

Home school of GRA or GTA enters the tuition waiver to accompany a GRA or GTA appointment.

Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid enters all Presidential non-resident tuition waivers, either under standing instructions or with the approval of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development in the case of graduate students.

Registrar’s Office enters NRTWs for special categories mandated by the Board of Regents.

Office of International Education approves NRTWs for international exchange students.

Executive Vice President for Research (EVPR) approves all exceptions to the policy of charging tuition remission to GTF and sponsored accounts.

Bursar’s Office applies or removes tuition waivers, including pro-rating when approved and posting the schedule and percentages for pro-rating.

Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development approves all late GRA or GTA hires; all GRA or GTA hires outside the colleges; and all special cases of NRTWs.

Students are responsible for paying all fees and any tuition that is not waived by the Bursar’s deadlines each term. 

Enforcement: 

Principal investigators, units, or programs that violate the policies must pay any resulting tuition balances with GTF or GTRC funds. Students who violate the policies must pay any tuition due or have their registration canceled due to lack of payment.

To report suspected instances of noncompliance with this policy, please visit Georgia Tech’s EthicsPoint, a secure and confidential reporting system, at: https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/report_custom.asp?clientid=7508

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