Graduate Assistant Tuition Rate Eligibility Program
The purpose of the Graduate Assistant Tuition Rate Eligibility Program is to provide access to Graduate Assistant (GA) tuition rates for students who are funded externally; receive fellowships directly from outside funding agencies; and meet the eligibility requirements outlined below. The rationale of the program is to offer the same consideration for tuition rates afforded to graduate assistants who are funded internally through University appointments to those who are funded by external sponsors.
The external fellowship received by the student must be a full fellowship from a bona fide sponsor, e.g., U.S. state or federal agency, 501(c)(3) or other recognized foundation, or Fortune 500 company, obtained through a competitive selection process and considered prestigious. Non-competitive foreign government support of international students does not qualify. Foreign fellowships that meet the following criteria will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine true competitiveness and confirm legitimacy.
- The fellowship funding package must be equivalent financially to the sum of the prevailing rates for the following minimum standards:
- A Grade-12, half-time graduate assistantship for two semesters.
- Full-time graduate assistantship tuition rate (current federally approved tuition remission rate). This requirement is satisfied if the sponsor pays full tuition directly to the University.
- University subsidy rate of health insurance package (either 80 percent of single or 70 percent of family rate).
- If the external fellowship package meets the conditions above and the external agency does not afford adequate funding to cover Penn State’s full tuition and fees, then the student is eligible for the GA tuition rate.
Fulbright Fellows: The Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration has a new Fulbright Fellow form that combines the various tuition-related requests necessary for Fulbright Fellows. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are wishing to request tuition adjustments for a Fulbright fellow. The office also has template information for recruitment of Fulbright fellows.
The student’s graduate program director must first verify the applicant’s eligibility status based on the criteria above. The college associate dean for graduate studies also must approve each application. Forms are due by October 1 for fall requests and by February 15 for spring requests.
The completed application and required supporting documentation must be submitted by upload to your college's joint cloud folder. The Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration will notify the student’s program of the decision as well as the college, the Bursar’s office, and the Graduate School’s financial officer.
Upon approval of the GA tuition rate, the Bursar’s office will ensure that the student is assessed the appropriate tuition rate. The student must submit their tuition payment to the Bursar’s office or confirm arrangements to bill the external agency.