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TAship without a tuition waiver? Is it worth it?


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After a LONG LONG wait I've just heard that my department wants to offer me a TAship for the fall.  Only downside is that my school doesn't offer tuition waivers for TAs, only GAs and apparently there is a distinction between the two. 


I'm in this situation where I'm pushing 70k in debt because of some personal stuff that happened in undergrad so I really can't afford to take out more loans to finish off my second year.  Is it worth taking the TAship without the stipend or no?  I know the experience would be good but I was really hoping to get something that would pay for school. 

Edited by jammiedodger6873
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Does the TAship come with any financial benefits at all, like a stipend? If so, then I'd say it's worth taking because it would lower the amount of debt you need. Is there any possibility of getting a GA position or a tuition scholarship to help offset your tuition expenses?

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What does the TAship pay? How much would tuition (and fees) cost? I don't think there's a problem if, after paying tuition, your TAship gives you enough to live off.

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The way I would think about this is to forget about the fact that GAs get tuition waivers and you don't. Since you didn't get a GAship, that part doesn't matter anymore. Instead, just consider these two things:


1. How much money will the TAship pay you? Even if it a salary not an hourly rate, still figure out how much money per hour it translates to.

2. How much will it cost you to pay for tuition and live in this town. 


With these two things, you can then consider how much debt you may or may not have to add for this degree. Is it worth it? Only you can answer that. Many people, like me, would not pay any amount for graduate degrees but you should make the decision that is best for you.


Another thing you should consider is the effective hourly rate. Is this an amount you are comfortable with? You should also consider how much time your TA duties will take away from your studies. If you are only being paid a small amount for a lot of your time and labour, the extra pay might not be worth it. You might find your studies and/or research (if you are in a research based program) suffering because of your TA duties and then you will end up in more debt without a lot to show for it. 

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Awesome end result!

I took a part-time TA job that lasts for 10 weeks this semester, and pays $5,000. I don't get a tuition waiver to my knowledge, but I already have loans situated to cover my tuition for the year. I have a fairly small amount of debt from my undergrad compared to most people I know, so I'm more comfortable taking out loans for a really good grad program.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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