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Student Employment FAQs

What are the different types of graduate assistantships at Clemson?

A document listing the different types of graduate assistantships at Clemson may be downloaded here.

Do graduate assistants have to pay tuition and fees? If so, how much?

Graduate assistants pay a graduate fee, which is a reduced (and heavily subsidized) version of graduate tuition. Details of academic expenses for graduate assistants change frequently so it is best to check the latest online postings, on the tuition page.

Are graduate assistantships renewable?

Some are and some are not. In most cases renewal will depend on many factors including progress in the degree program, quality of work for assistantships having job duties, availability of funds, etc. Details of the assistantship term and the conditions under which it may or may not be renewable should be provided in the official offer documents. If such details are not provided, please inquire of the sponsoring unit regarding such conditions.

Can I hold a graduate assistantship and not register for any classes?

No. Graduate assistants must be registered for a minimum of 9 credit hours and a maximum of 15 credit hours for fall and spring, and a minimum of 3 (maximum of 6) credit hours per summer session, while holding an assistantship.

Can my assistantship be terminated by Clemson? If so, under what conditions?

Clemson may terminate an assistantship for several reasons that fall into the following three categories. 1. Status; 2. Progress toward degree; and 3. Job performance. We consider each below.

Status. If a graduate assistant is dismissed or suspended from Clemson by the Dean of the Graduate School, for any cause, then the assistantship is normally terminated as well. (Note that the Dean is the only person at Clemson who can dismiss a graduate student from a graduate program. Programs themselves cannot dismiss a student; programs wishing to dismiss a student should make a request to the Dean of the Graduate School to do so.) If a graduate assistant is placed on academic probation, usually due to low grades, then the assistantship may be terminated, but it need not be. The latter is at the discretion of the unit sponsoring the assistantship.

Progress toward degree. Inadequate progress toward the degree can be grounds for dismissal of a graduate student by the Dean of the Graduate School, and/or to revocation of an assistantship by the sponsoring unit.

Job performance. An assistantship that involves performing specific job duties may be revoked at any time, with two weeks notice, because of failure to perform the job duties at an adequate level. Failure to perform will be determined by the job supervisor (who may be a laboratory director, department chair, or research advisor). All incidents of failure to perform job duties must be documented, with a copy to the graduate school and the student file, if any action affecting the assistantship is to be taken.

Can Clemson terminate a grant-funded assistantship due to a lack of funds in a grant account?

An assistantship is normally offered for a fixed term, and is considered a firm and binding agreement between Clemson and the assistant. If insufficient funds are available in a grant account to pay a stipend through the end of the assistantship term, then an alternate source of funds must be found to pay the stipend through the end of the assistantship term. To do otherwise would be to violate the assistantship agreement. Thus, sponsoring units including grant PIs and department chairs and program coordinators must be careful when offering assistantships from accounts with limited funds.

Under what conditions can a student terminate an assistantship?

It is expected that a student will serve as a graduate assistant for a full term. This is especially important for assistantships that involve teaching, since it can be very disruptive if a teacher leaves mid-term. In cases where a student needs to terminate an assistantship early, it is the responsibility of the student to inform the appropriate staff in advance (at least two weeks) of the intended termination date, in order to ensure a smooth transition in hiring a replacement graduate assistant and so that appropriate payroll actions can be taken. If this action is not taken, then the student will be liable for any payments made beyond the date when the student ceased working as an assistant. Notice of termination prepared by the student should be both verbal and written.

If my assistantship is terminated, does that change how much tuition I have to pay?

Yes it does. If the assistantship is terminated at the end of a term and you are not reappointed for the following term, you will need to pay the prevailing rate for tuition without the subsidy that is normally provided to graduate assistants. If your assistantship is terminated in the middle of a term, your tuition liability is complicated. Some guidelines are provided on the Fiscal Policy web page. You may wish to contact the Graduate School for advice if your assistantship is terminated in the middle of a semester.

What health benefits and insurance come with my assistantship?

Graduate assistants pay a health fee as part of the graduate fee, and this health fee provides access to the Redfern Health Center on campus. Details on the services offered at Redfern may be viewed at the Student Health Services web page.

Health insurance is a separate issue from the health fee. All graduate students at Clemson are required to demonstrate that they have some form of health insurance. For students choosing to pay for their own health insurance (which will be most graduate students) Clemson offers a group plan, details of which may be found on the Student Health Services website. 

Note that for graduate assistants Clemson offers a very substantial subsidy, in addition to the assistantship stipend, to help offset the cost of health insurance. Details on this subsidy are provided on the Health Insurance page.

What is Clemson’s policy regarding days off / sick days / vacation for people on assistantships?

Graduate students with nine-month or 12-month graduate teaching assistantship appointments work on the same calendar as faculty with nine-month or 12-month appointments, respectively. Duties over holiday periods for graduate research assistantship appointments should be agreed upon in writing by the student and the faculty advisor in charge of the research program.

Graduate assistants may request up to four weeks of leave without pay per semester and one week of leave without pay per summer session for illness of a close family member, death in the immediate family, or personal illness or hardship. If leave is not approved by the administrator of the graduate assistantship, the graduate assistant may petition the Dean of the Graduate School for approval.

A graduate assistant of any gender is eligible for up to six weeks of parental leave without pay. The request for parental leave must be made to the department at least one month in advance.

I am appointed as a graduate assistant during the academic year but not in the summer. Can I accept a different assistantship for just the summer?

Yes, you may.

I am appointed as a graduate assistant during the academic year but not in the summer. Am I required to register in the summer to retain my academic-year assistantship?

No, you are not. Registration and enrollment requirements for assistantships apply only for the term(s) which you are appointed as an assistant.

If I am appointed as a graduate assistant after a semester starts, how does that effect the tuition and fees that I must pay?

If your assistantship starts in the middle of a term, figuring your tuition liability is complicated. Some guidelines are provided on the Fiscal Policy page. You may wish to contact the Graduate School for advice if this situation applies to you.

Is a person allowed to hold multiple assistantships?

Yes, providing that the total workload for all assistantships taken together does not exceed 28 hours per week for domestic students and students with permanent resident status. International students are usually restricted by their visa to work a maximum of 20 hours per week.

Do audited courses count towards the required minimum credit hour load?

No, they do not. The minimum credit hour requirements for holding an assistantship must be met with graduate-level classes for which the student must be officially registered.