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Working with Graduate Students

Graduate Student Assistant Compensation and Salary Levels Guidance

At Georgia Southern University, reasonable compensation for work performed by graduate students is comprised of three (3) components: salary, fringe benefit costs, and tuition remission.

  • Salary component is budgeted for in the personnel or salary budget line.
  • Fringe Benefits component is budgeted for in the personnel budget line.
  • Tuition component is normally budgeted for in the other expenses budget line.

Example of a total compensation package of $28,105:

Student salary 3 semesters $18,000 + Fringe Benefits $1,377 + Tuition Waiver/Remission $8,728

Graduate Student Salary

When budgeting for a graduate student salary on a sponsored project please use at least the rate set by the College of Graduate Studies. Check with your grant coordinator and/or the dean’s office to determine what the appropriate graduate student salary rate for your academic unit. The grant coordinator can calculate the fringe benefits required for the student salary. The federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Cost Principles regarding reasonable and allowable compensation must be observed.

Requests for graduate student salary must be accompanied by a justification supporting the proposed salary and effort and should include any special skills, experience or expertise required for the project. Justification is usually provided during the proposal preparation process as part of the budget justification and description of staffing needs for external funding. For internally funded hires the justification should accompany the personnel action form.

Graduate students cannot exceed .48 FTE per program or combination of programs.

The National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH), and other agencies may set minimum or maximum allowances for total compensation packages which must be followed for those proposal submissions.

Tuition on Sponsored Projects

At Georgia Southern, tuition remission is considered a component of a graduate assistant compensation package for the work performed while on appointment.

Tuition should be provided by the same funding source as their salary; the full cost of tuition should be included with all proposals, renewals and contracts as part of the proposal budget.

All proposals, including re-submissions, competing renewals and supplements which include salary support for graduate research assistants where tuition is not prohibited by the sponsor, must also include the appropriate tuition amount in the budget.

Suggested Maximum Graduate Student Compensation on NIH Research Grants

The maximum amount NIH will award for total graduate student compensation on a NIH research grant is equal to the Postdoctoral zero-level Kirschstein-NRSA stipend rates and requirements in effect when NIH issues the grant award. 


Last updated: 7/28/2020