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Graduate Financial Support

Financial Support and Awards Guidelines 

Financial support is awarded on an annual basis. Students should generally expect continued financial support as long as satisfactory progress toward the degree objective is maintained. “Satisfactory progress” will be assessed in consultation with the major professor through the Annual Statement of Accomplishments and Goals. In general “satisfactory progress” means meeting the time guidelines, maintenance of a GPA of at least 3.0, holding at least one advisory committee meeting each academic year, steady progress on the research project and satisfactory performance as a laboratory assistant. 

Graduate students are usually paid through some type of assistantship. Assistantships may be awarded for the 9 month academic year, in which case summer support must be separately obtained, or for 12 months. The standard assistantship stipend ($30,887) for graduate students in Plant Biology is considered to be 4/9th time for 12 months and the Department makes every effort to assure that students are supported at this level, assuming satisfactory progress. 

Continuing students should request assistantship support on the questionnaire which they receive from the Graduate Coordinator in January. The following types of assistantships are available: 

Laboratory (LA) or Teaching Assistantship (TA)

These awards are given to students who serve as laboratory assistants in courses taught by Plant Biology or Biology faculty. Nineteen hours of service is required per week, usually involving nine contact hours. The department currently has 17 of these assistantships (also called TA’s or Teaching Assistantships), seven of which are assigned by the Division of Biology to help with the Biology core courses. 

LA or TA appointments are made for the academic year (Fall and Spring semesters); summer support is arranged separately. 

Highest priority for awarding departmental LA or TA support is given to students enrolled in Plant Biology (PBIO); secondary priority goes to non-Plant Biology students working with PBIO faculty; lowest priority goes to non-Plant Biology students working with adjunct PBIO faculty. 

Graduate School Assistantship (GSA) 

These assistantships are awarded yearly by the Graduate School. There are three categories for this award: New Student competition, Continuing Student Competition and Finishing Doctoral Students. The Continuing Student Award is for those who received a New Student Award the previous year and meet certain criteria as set by the Graduate School. The New Student Competition is for first year students to either the Master’s Degree program or the Doctoral degree program. These awards are made on the basis of achievement and promise of scholarly success, and are awarded to those students deemed most promising in each department’s applicant pool. The Finishing Doctoral Award is for doctoral students who will be in their final year of graduate work. Students who have not already received three (3) years of Graduate School support are eligible to be nominated. Students who have been enrolled full-time for six years or less will receive higher priority. 

GSA’s are normally awarded for the student’s first five semesters (F, Sp, Su, F, Sp). 

The Graduate School requires that GSA recipients do 16-18 hours of service per week, but leaves the specific duties up to the department. Typically the Plant Biology Department considers progress in the thesis/dissertation program to meet this requirement. 

Overview of all available Financial Assistance Resources from the Graduate School

Research Assistantship (RA) 

Graduate students may receive support on a research assistantship, which is paid from a faculty member’s research grant, if available. Duties for an RA are arranged between the student and the faculty member, but will often involve research toward the student’s thesis or dissertation. 

Summer Support 

A limited number of LA positions are available from the Plant Biology and Biology Departments during the Summer semester, and these will be awarded to as many graduate students as possible who have received departmental or GSA support during the previous academic year, are making satisfactory progress, and who request such support on the January questionnaire. Requests from students who are beyond the time guidelines will receive low priority. Requests for summer support from students who have been supported on grant funds will be considered on an individual basis. 

Because there are a limited number of LA positions available during the summer, faculty are encouraged to support as many students as possible on grants during the summer. 

Regents’ Out-of-State Tuition Waivers 

This award is for non-resident domestic and international graduate students who do not have an assistantship. Scores on the GRE verbal test should rank above the 60th percentile. Scores on the GRE quantitative test should rank above the 50th percentile. A minimum graduate GPA of 3.5 and/or a 3.3 undergraduate GPA are required. It is awarded for one semester and continued for the remainder of the year provided the student maintains a minimum 3.0 graduate course GPA. 

National Council of State Garden Clubs, Inc. 

These scholarships are for Georgia residents (5 year residence requirement) and require full family financial disclosure. The amount varies from $250 to $5,000 for one calendar year; application deadlines have usually been in mid-June. Application is made through The Garden Club of Georgia, State Headquarters, 2450 Milledge Avenue, Athens, GA 30602-5817. The awards are based on “financial need, academic achievement, character, initiative and general attitude”. 

Graduate School Awards 

Numerous awards are offered through the Graduate School each year. Announcements of these awards will be sent out by the Graduate Coordinator. If you wish to be considered for nomination of a Graduate School Award, please email the Graduate Coordinator AND Graduate Coordinator’s Assistant by the deadline given. 

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