Financial Resources


Each year, the Graduate School allocates a few graduate assistantships to the Masters of Public Administration Program. The Graduate School sets the stipend level and determines whether assistants will qualify for a tuition scholarship. Funding for these positions is provided by the State of New York, and is therefore subject to a degree of uncertainty and change from year to year. Presently, graduate assistants, but not their dependents, qualify for health insurance coverage. Students may receive assistantships for a semester or an academic year.

There are four possible sources of funding for graduate assistants in the MPA program:

  • University allocations provided on a “formula” basis from the Graduate School. One full-time assistant is equal to one line. One-half line can be used to pay for a student for one semester or half the student’s costs for two semesters.
  • Clark Fellowships for qualified minority students, which are two-year fellowships fully paid out of a separate account in the first year. In year two, the program pays half of a Clark Fellow’s stipend (or one-half of a line) with the balance provided by the Graduate School.
  • Departmental funding through which he program may award assistantships using its own funds (either a portion of the state account, or Income Fund Reimbursable accounts).
  • Grant and contract funds which are dependent upon the availability of resources created by the successful grant and contract activity of MPA program faculty.

The MPA Admissions Committee determines recipients of assistantships from University, Clark Fellowship or departmental funding. Assistantships funded by grant and contract funds should be awarded by the principal investigator(s) to students in good standing who meet their specific needs.

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Selection Process for Graduate Assistants

Continuing Assistants

Each year the Graduate School determines the number of assistantship lines available to the MPA program. Continuing students with previous support have the highest priority for an assistantship provided they have not exceeded their eligibility of four academic year semesters and are in good standing with the program.

An assistant is in good standing if he or she has earned at least a 3.0 in every course, is making timely progress toward completion of the degree and has a positive written evaluation from his or her faculty supervisor(s). The program administrative assistant will provide a copy of the faculty evaluation to the student and place the original report in the student’s departmental file.

New Assistants

Presently enrolled students not receiving support and newly accepted students must notify the MPA program assistant of their interest in an assistantship by the due date published by the Graduate School. The MPA Admissions Committee will review the academic files of all students who have applied for new assistantships and will rank them according to the following criteria:

(1) demonstrated ability to meet the academic rigors of graduate school as determined by undergraduate academic transcripts and writing samples,
(2) demonstrated leadership ability,
(3) demonstrated intellectual curiosity, and
(4) good citizenship.

The admissions committee or a subcommittee may interview applicants to determine who will receive new assistantships.

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Job Description for University, Clark Fellowship and Departmental Awards

Graduate assistants must be in good academic standing at all times. Graduate assistants in the MPA program assist faculty in their research activities including: conducting literature reviews; securing funding for research; collecting, organizing and analyzing data; and writing research papers and reports.

Because of their close association with MPA faculty, their fellow students will perceive graduate assistants to be leaders within the program. Therefore, graduate assistants are expected to attend all MPA-sponsored activities such as lectures, colloquia and social events and will actively support the MPA Graduate Student Organization. Their faculty supervisor may assign other duties.

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Tuition Scholarships for Graduate Assistants

A supported student with less than 24 hours of graduate credits is eligible for a tuition scholarship for up to 12 credit-hours (in-state rates) per semester. After 24 credit-hours have been taken, a student is qualified for a tuition scholarship of only 9 credit-hours per semester (in-state rates).

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Work Requirements for Graduate Assistants

Assistants receiving a full-tuition scholarship and stipend shall work 20 hours per week. While receiving an assistantship, they may not work in another job on campus or for another state government agency.

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Research Assistantships

From time to time, faculty write grants or win contracts to conduct work. The faculty member who is the principal investigator (PI) of a grant or contract may hire research assistants to assist him or her with the project. The PI may fund a research assistant position for a semester, an academic year or a summer. The terms of employment for the research assistant are negotiated between the PI and the assistant and the PI has sole authority for determining whether the assistant is making satisfactory progress and should be renewed or not. All research assistant positions are temporary and contingent upon the availability of grant or contract funds.

Financial assistance including research/teaching assistantships, partial tuition offset and fellowships (limited availability) is available to some qualified applicants. The MPA Admissions Committee will develop and publish criteria for making financial aid decisions, including application deadlines for awards.

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Last Updated: 8/5/16