Assistantships are typically awarded to graduate and undergraduate students who participate in teaching, research, administrative, or other activities in exchange for financial support at Alaska Pacific University (APU). Assistantship funds may be awarded in the form or a grant, scholarship, stipend, or tuition waiver.
Assistantships and fellowships are awarded to students to contribute to their professional development with the primary purpose of assisting students in the successful completion of their academic program. Activities that are relevant to each student’s program of study and contribute to the university’s teaching, research/creative activity, or service efforts are incorporated. Each assistantship requires periodic assessment and feedback regarding a student’s performance.
Students receiving an assistantship or fellowship are expected to maintain good academic standing and satisfactory progress toward their degrees.
Eligibility for Assistantships
Each graduate program must have a procedure for the awarding of graduate assistantships. Graduate programs may have specific requirements for eligibility and need to develop a procedure to periodically assess the performance of the assistantship recipients. Assistantships may also be awarded outside of the student’s primary program. These assistantships require the continued approval of the graduate program and/or grant administrator. Before any assistantship can be awarded, students must be admitted to the Alaska Pacific University as a degree-seeking student. Students placed on academic warning may retain their assistantships. Students placed on academic probation may no longer receive an assistantship. Assistantships can be reinstated if a student is back in good academic standing.
Assistantship stipends vary by discipline. The level of funding varies upon the amount of work or time assigned by the program and/or grant administrator as well as the source of the funds. The responsibilities associated with assistantships may be variable in nature. The hour commitment defined by an assistantship may be averaged across a given time period.
In these cases, students should be given adequate advance notice of these variable expectations so that they can adjust their schedules to meet the requirements of the assistantship. Supervisors must also remain sensitive to the academic demands faced by students.
Assistantship recipients may be allowed to work on a second assistantship, as part-time instructors, as student workers, or in any other capacity for APU. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure that he or she can meet the expectations and requirements of the workload if approved by the program or grant administrator for multiple assistantships or other positions.
Assistantship stipends may be subject to income taxes. For U.S. citizens, permanent residents and foreign national resident aliens for tax purposes, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has ruled that universities are not responsible for withholding or reporting income taxes on assistantship payments. Taxability of the assistantship payment is a matter between the student and the IRS. Therefore, no income taxes are withheld from assistantship payments. Students do not receive a Form W-2 for their assistantship income but will be sent a 1099 form to report their assistantship income.
Rights and Privileges of Assistantship Recipients
Assistantship recipients have certain rights and privileges specific to the assistantship experience:
- The right to be notified in writing of all decisions that affect their status as an assistantship recipient. This includes advance notification of evaluation procedures and a summary of their performance evaluation.
- The right to be notified of any complaints received by a supervisor or department chair concerning their performance of duties.
- The right to respond in writing to such complaints.
- The right, depending on the availability of departmental and university resources, to be supported in pursuing additional activities that pertain to their professional development.
- The right to balance their assistantship responsibilities with their responsibilities to their academic program so that they can complete their degree in a timely manner.
- The privilege of being treated as a professional in their chosen field of study.
When program or/grant administrator is dissatisfied with a student’s performance in fulfilling the responsibilities of an assistantship, the following steps should be taken.
- The faculty or staff member responsible for oversight should, in the course of routine mentoring, discuss the shortcomings of the student’s performance, making specific recommendations for changes.
- If improvement is not made, the faculty or staff member responsible for oversight must advise the student in writing of his/her concerns, and allow sufficient time for the student to address the performance issues raised by the faculty or staff member responsible for oversight. Specific recommendations for changes in performance should be provided again.
- The assistantship may be terminated if sufficient improvement is not made in a timely manner. The faculty or staff member responsible for oversight must provide notification of such a termination in writing. This notification must state that the student has the right to file a grievance with the program and/or grant administrator.
- The grievance policy provides a mechanism for further review if the student believes the action to be unfair, and he or she is unable to resolve the matter at the field level.
Note: An assistant who receives feedback indicating unsatisfactory performance is encouraged, at any time during this process, to confer with the program and/or grant administrator and the faculty or staff member responsible for oversight.
Assistantships may be terminated by the program and/or grant administrator with probable cause. Early termination for cause may occur when
- A student does not abide by the conditions for receipt of the assistantship.
- A student fails to perform tasks as assigned.
- A student does not make adequate degree progress.
- A student is placed on Academic Probation.
- A student does not make satisfactory research progress.
- A student fails to maintain minimum registration.
- A student persistently refuses to follow reasonable advice and counsel of faculty in carrying out assistantship obligations.
- A student fails to comply with responsibilities as an employee set forth in the department rules and regulations governing assistantships, or the terms of sponsored research agreements that fund the assistantship.
- A student’s personal conduct is seriously prejudicial to the university, including violation of the APU Code of Student Behavior, state or federal law, and general university policies.
Students may appeal a decision in the termination of their assistantships.
- The first step should be a conference with the program and/or grant administrator to first discuss and attempt to address the reasons for termination.
- Depending on the nature of the cause for termination, the program and/or grant administrator may address the situation directly, or advise the student of whether it is necessary to file an appeal.
- After the conference, if program and/or grant administrator sees it appropriate, the student must submit a written appeal to the program and/or grant administrator within two weeks of the conference.
Students should not carry more than a full-time load (21+ credits undergraduate; 15+ credits graduate). Individual departments will determine a minimum and a maximum number of credit hours.