Graduate Student Guide: Funding Eligibility

POLITICAL SCIENCE DEPARTMENTAL POLICIES GOVERNING TA AND OTHER DEPARTMENTAL FUNDING ELIGIBILITY RENEWAL

Recommendations for continued funding are made by the Graduate Financial Aid Committee to the Department Chair. Applications are called for and consistent with the ASE agreement, final award notices are normally provided by 1 June. Eligibility for continued funding is determined by the number of years that one has been in the program. Students who are offered funding upon admissions are funded for up to five years from the quarter that they first enroll in the program.

The committee considers the following criteria when evaluating applications:

1) Academic performance, as indicated by satisfactory progress toward the degree (see the Graduate Handbook for guidelines) and satisfactory academic performance in the Department (for which key concerns are incompletes and GPA);

2) For students who have had TA appointments, evaluations of performance, with an emphasis on recent appointments. Evaluations are based on the Student Evaluation of Instruction summaries provided by the Office of Educational Assessment and written instructor evaluations.
Several principles, established by the University in Executive Order 28 and departmental policies, govern the Financial Aid Committee's recommendations. In short, these provide a presumption of continued funding as long as there are sufficient funds, the student is eligible for an award, and the academic and TA performance are satisfactory.

The relevant principles are:

1) Appointments and re-appointments are primarily based upon academic and TA-related performance in the graduate program at the University of Washington.

2) If a student has sufficient remaining quarters “guaranteed”, re-appointment as a TA for the same number of quarters as awarded in previous years can be expected if a student demonstrates satisfactory progress toward the degree, maintains good academic standing, and performs satisfactorily as a TA.

3) Students who have held departmental fellowships or research assistantships but no teaching assistantships are considered for appointment to teaching assistantships under the re-appointment policy.

4) According to departmental policy, all doctoral students must have at least one quarter of teaching experience, or its equivalent, before the dissertation defense and degree completion.

5) In keeping with university policy, all TA awards are subject to the availability of sufficient resources.

TA Awards and Alternates

There are two types of awards:

1) An offer of placement as a TA or other instructional support role for one to three quarters (known as guaranteed quarters), or

2) Placement on an alternate list for one to three quarters of TA eligibility. As resources become available, the department offers TA employment to students on this list. Financial support for students on the alternate list is therefore determined by the number of TA positions that are available, the fit of teaching positions with teaching profiles of students, and by a student's performance in previous assignment.

In addition to appointment as a TA, acceptance of guaranteed or alternate quarters constitutes a willingness to serve in other instructional support roles. Declination of an instructional support role constitutes declination of a TA position for the quarter(s) in question. These alternatives include, but are not limited to:

1) Serving as the Lead-TA, subject to eligibility for full funding.

2) Serving as an instructor for a writing-link course;

3) Serving as the service learning TA;

4) Offering an independent course (for advanced students only);

Residency

The department must request resident and non-resident tuition waivers for all students receiving departmental funding. Because the WA State Legislature restricts the number of non-resident tuition waivers available to the university, students who are eligible for Washington residence but do not apply for resident status in a timely manner are jeopardizing their chances of receiving future non-resident tuition waivers. It is therefore especially important that you obtain state resident status if you are eligible [For more information visit the WA state residency website: http://www.washington.edu/students/reg/residency.html . For residence reclassification forms contact the Residence Classification Office, 209 Schmitz Hall, 543-4188].

Policies Regarding Extensions of Eligibility for Aid and “Double Dipping”

The Financial Aid Committee will normally grant an extension of eligibility if breaks in TA service during the time of eligibility are directly related to the completion of one's graduate program. Student-initiated and externally-funded research is typically viewed as a favorable basis for extending eligibility, especially if the leave is for dissertation research involving field work prior to the end of the 5-year eligibility period. Research assistantships, FLAS, NSF, or other training grants are not normally a basis for extending eligibility, as they are aimed at basic skill acquisition and carry the added incentive of freeing up time from teaching duties. Extensions are for a maximum of one academic year and may be granted for a partial academic year. The committee considers eligibility extensions on a case-by-case basis during what would normally be a student's last year of eligibility.

If you plan to seek an extension of eligibility, attach a letter to your TA application explaining the nature of your leave of absence and grounds for extension.

The department strongly discourages student acceptance of teaching assistantships while also accepting external research or training grants.