FAQs for Funding Compensation Policy

Q&A from March 12, 2024 Funding Memo

View Memo

What is the Graduate Assistant Support Plan (GASP)?
In 2005, the institution implemented the Graduate Assistant Support Plan (GASP). Under GASP, UNC Charlotte committed funds to cover expenses for many full-time enrolled doctoral students and Master of Architecture students with 20-hour assistantships. GASP covers full tuition and health insurance, regardless of residency status and the stipend source. The funding for GASP has increased incrementally over time. Please refer to the GASP Policy

What is the Master’s TA Resident Tuition (MTART) program?
In May 2022, under the new policy on graduate student compensation, the Graduate School began providing master’s TAs receiving a two-year assistantship of at least $14,000 per year with resident tuition.

What are the requirements for educational expenses on grants?
The policy required investigators to budget for educational expenses for graduate students on grants. Going forward, budgets must include the cost of non-residential tuition and health insurance costs for doctoral students. 

How many students does the Graduate School fund between the two programs? How many does it expect to enroll next year?
In total, the Graduate School funded 727 students in AY 22-23, 881 students in AY 23-24, and projects a need to fund 928 students in AY 24-25 with GASP/MTART if 152 new GASP-eligible Ph.D./Ed.D. students are enrolled. 

Why is there currently a funding challenge?
With the $8,000 budgeted on grants for educational expenses, under the current GASP program, the Graduate School pays at least $11,036 in tuition ($19,036 minus $8,000) for every out-of-state or international Ph.D./Ed.D. student funded on grants. This is significant as approximately 80% of all grant-funded RAs on GASP are out-of-state or international students, and, currently, just 23% of grants pay the full $8,000 towards nonresident tuition. The plan projected that the savings from grant-funded tuition of $8,000 per non-resident student would be sufficient to fund the budget. However, the dramatic growth in Ph.D./Ed.D. students funded on grants has led to increased expenses that have outpaced expectations. 

Two new initiatives in 2022, MTART and the $1,000 scholarship to cover E&T and health fees for Ph.D./Ed.D. students, also added to the funding challenge. 

Will there be a mechanism for faculty to request a waiver for including full GASP in their budget for agencies that do not allow student tuition to be budgeted?
The Division of Research and the Graduate School will work together to request GASP coverage for their students.  

What University policies are affected by these changes?
The specific policies are Policy 50.5: Tuition Remission for Graduate Students Supported by Sponsored Awards and the Policy on Graduate Student Compensation.

Below you will find several frequently asked questions and answers about the Policy on Graduate Student Compensation. If you are a UNC Charlotte faculty or staff member, please join us for a Funding Q&A Session.

Are the Compensation Packages set up for an academic year, or for the fiscal year?
Compensation packages are set up for the academic year, typically from August 16th through August 15th of the following year.

Can a program have different compensation policies for RAs and TAs?
Yes, as long as a program compensates students similarly based on the type of assistantship (RA-TA) and the student level/experience (master's degree earned, comps passed, etc.) and position roles and responsibilities therein.

Can a program have different compensation packages for the same type of assistantship in the same program?
Yes, programs can establish different pay levels for students based on milestones completed, whether the person has an earned master's degree in a related discipline, significant research experience, etc., as long as the policy is applied consistently to all students.

Do fellowships and scholarships have to be included in compensation packages?
No, fellowships and scholarships are categorized differently and are not subject to the same policies as tuition, fees, and stipend.

The Policy on Graduate Student Compensation now requires a minimum of $14,000 per academic year and resident tuition to be paid for master's students, and my college/program does not currently have the funds to support these additional costs. Does my compensation package have to include them?
Given the recent revisions to the policy, the Graduate School will hold harmless programs that do not currently have the resources to meet the minimum stated compensation levels as long as students are compensated similarly within a given program. However, programs should indicate how they intend to obtain and/or redirect funds to increase stipends and pay fringes and should also include a timeline to meet the minimum compensation levels that should be by fall 2024.

I'd like to hire a student in a program that does not belong to my department. Do I compensate them based on our departmental rates, or the student's program?
Students are compensated based on their program, so you should reference the package for the student's program and compensate at that level.

Are all students required to enroll at the same level? What is that level?
Students receiving tuition benefits must be enrolled full-time to ensure matching funding packages.

I have students who have 10-hour GAs; what are the compensation rates for those students?
Students on 10-hour GAs must receive half of the academic year compensation package. Doctoral students funded on GASP must be on 20 hr/wk assistantships unless alternative packages are arranged in advance with the Graduate School.

Do students holding 10-hour GAs have to enroll full-time to receive tuition and other educational expenses?
Yes. However if an individual program does not (cannot) provide complete compensation packages by fall 2024, students may be hired as student temps.

Can a compensation package include a stipend and educational expenses funded from multiple sources?
Yes, if a student is supported by more than one source, the compensation package (stipend, tuition, fees etc.) must be allocated proportionally from each funding source. 

If a program is not in compliance now, when will it have to be in compliance?
Programs must be in compliance now in terms of students having the same compensation packages based on GA type, experience, etc., and the program should meet the minimum university requirements for compensation and benefits by the academic year 2024-2025 and should also make annual progress towards that goal.