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Is a 20/hr a week assistantship a lot for a first semester graduate student? No stipend either


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Do you mean tuition only, no stipend? This is for a master's?


Well I would work out the hours... if tuition is 5k/semester and the semester is 15 weeks long then you would be making around $17 an hour. You would have to work this out for your specific tuition cost of course. Given your credentials, can you make more than that in another position? If so, then I think you should get one of those positions instead. If not, then I would accept it.


I am working on my masters and work 20-30 hours a week as part of my assistantship. This amount keeps me very busy but is definitely doable and worth the money.

Edited by bsharpe269
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I also will be a first year grad student and asked myself the same question.  It really depends on a lot of different variables.  How much did you work during your undergrad?  If so, how many credits did you also take during the semester?  What were your grades like?  Did you feel comfortable with that load?


I looked at 20 hour GA's because they usually offer the best benefits as far as tuition reimbursement, etc. 


But, fortunately I was offered a GA that required less hours because I really want my GPA during my M.S. program to be as high as it can be.


Just take into account as many variables as you can and go from there, good luck!

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I think there are two issues.


First, is this too much work on top of your graduate studies? The common number of hours for TAs and RAs is typically 20hrs/week, but not always. Sometimes schools will try to get their students funded through a fellowship for the first year and then TA/RAs start in the summer or second year. This is ideal but not always available. If you have to be funded through an assistant-ship, 20hrs/week is the typical number and it might be tough to do classes and this work plus whatever else you might have to do (if your program requires more work), but sometimes that's the only choice you get.


The second issue is that are you expected to do this work for free? Or by "no stipend"  you mean it only covers your tuition and no extra stipend is paid. Your sidebar says you are a MFA student so maybe those programs are very strange, but I would say that the typical value of a graduate student is about $25-$50 per hour. My current school lists 1 TA unit = 15hrs/week for 10 weeks to be valued at $7500, which is about $50/hr. At other schools, our TA contracts pay $40/hr and our RA contracts pay $25/hr. Most of these hours are just made up anyways (including the 20hr/week thing) because in many programs, you don't really track your hours. So, if you think you are getting a good deal in the long run for this contract, then take it.

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