Tuition Remission for Graduate Assistantships Policy
Effective July 1, 2003, the following policy is implemented to clarify the roles and responsibilities for fiscal oversight of tuition remission budgets for graduate assistantships.
Tuition remission funded from the university's general fund budget may only be used to support the tuition of specifically identified students designated as Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, Graduate Service Assistants, University Fellows, Integrated Program in Biomedical Sciences (IPIBS) Fellows, and Diversity Scholars.
To be eligible for tuition remission these graduate assistants, fellows, and scholars must be full-time students when receiving stipends. Full time for purposes of this policy is defined as students enrolled for at least 9 credit hours in spring or fall and 6 credit hours in the summer. Master's and doctoral candidacy, which is billed at 1 credit hour at resident graduate rates, is also considered full-time status.
Graduate assistants, fellows, and scholars will receive tuition remission only during the months they are paid stipends. Each student in approved positions will receive full tuition, either at the resident or nonresident rate, depending on the student's official residency status. Units are not permitted to award partial tuition remissions or to split graduate assistant positions under this policy.
Tuition remission accounts will follow the same general budgetary and accounting rules and conventions for general fund accounts. Though, since these budgets will be adjusted during the year based upon the actual mix of resident and non-resident charges, these budgeted funds will not be included in the annual year-end carryover calculations prepared by the Controller's Office.
A request to add or delete a new graduate student assistantship, fellowship, or scholar position to a tuition remission program requires written approval by the University Provost. Once approval is given Budget and Financial Planning (BFP), in consultation with the Graduate School, will adjust tuition revenue budgets as needed to ensure full tuition coverage of the newly approved positions.
Tuition remission for graduate students supported by grants should be treated as a direct charge. Similarly, students supported by grants will not receive tuition remission unless the Vice President for Research grants an exception to the direct charge policy and identifies the source of funds to cover the tuition. Students supported by non-state, non-grant funds will not receive tuition remission from central sources. Deans, department chairs, and program directors, however, may provide additional tuition scholarship support from other funding sources.
REASON FOR POLICY
The University has a long-standing student financial aid program that remits tuition for selected graduate assistants and other advanced study students. Specifically, Graduate Teaching Assistants, Graduate Research Assistants, Graduate Service Assistants, University Fellows, IPIBS Fellows, and Diversity Scholars all receive a stipend for academic performance. The University also provides participating students special student health insurance, funded centrally.
Over time, changes in the student mix, the difference between resident and nonresident tuition rates, the mismatching of graduate assistant positions with tuition remissions and the unauthorized “splitting” of positions have led to serious budgeting difficulties. As a result, many tuition remission accounts end the year with significant operating deficits. The University has absorbed these unplanned expenditures in a number of ad hoc ways, most of which do not address long-term fiscal concerns. Academic units often cite that the rules for awarding tuition remission under this program are ambiguous and imprecise. Therefore, this policy is being implemented to remedy this situation. This change in the tuition remission policy should result in clearer guidelines and a structurally balanced budget for tuition for graduate students on assistantships, fellowships, and other advanced study scholarships.
The continuing financial viability of the institution depends in large part upon tuition. Thus, this tuition remission program is not intended to be a substitute for the general population of graduate students paying their own tuition or from other student financial aid sources.
Each existing graduate assistant, fellow, or scholar position will have a unique position control number (PCN), which is assigned by position management during the annual budget development process. There will be a one-to-one correspondence between the number of graduate assistant positions supported by the program and the number of tuition remissions awarded.
Tuition remission, as defined in this policy, is an internal payment for tuition (and imbedded student fees) charged by the University of Louisville. It does not include books, room, board or other out-of-pocket educational expenses.
Academic units have the responsibility to track the residency status of students within this program. Each unit will work directly with BFP to adjust the current fiscal year's budget based upon the actual mix of resident and nonresident student charges. BFP, in turn, will track the university-wide aggregate changes for institutional planning and inclusion in the next year's operating budget.
The responsibility for monitoring and maintenance of tuition remission accounts relating to this program rests with the respective academic units. Each unit dean is responsible for budgetary oversight of tuition remission accounts within his or her unit.