Graduate Fellowships and Graduate Assistantships are specific appointment positions through Oregon State University. While both appointments provide benefits to graduate students, they are distinctly different appointment types.

OSU Graduate Fellowships are appointed to OSU as a means to acknowledge and support outstanding graduate students in pursuit of their advanced degree objectives. Graduate fellowships provide a living stipend, graduate fellow health insurance premiums, and tuition support, and may also include support for mandatory fees, without a commensurate service requirement. Graduate Fellows are not employees of OSU, and appointments are not governed by contractual bodies. However, it is the intent of the institution to ensure that an incentive remains for graduate students to seek competitive graduate fellowship support and for graduate fellows to be recognized and honored for the distinction that they bring to themselves and to the university as a result of their success.

External awards may use the term “fellowship” to describe financial awards, including scholarships, that support a graduate student’s education, but Graduate Fellowships at OSU are formalized appointments with specific policies and requirements.

OSU Graduate Assistantships are appointed to OSU to provide service in the form of employment to the institution. In exchange for service, either in the form of teaching or research, an assistantship provides:

  • A monthly salary
  • Tuition remission
  • An institutional contribution toward mandatory fees
  • The graduate assistant-only health insurance premium

Graduate Assistantship appointments at OSU are ultimately governed by the contract agreement between OSU and the Coalition of Graduate Employees, American Federation of Teachers Local 6069. The CGE contract takes precedence over all other published information.

Departments should consult the Office of Human Resources and the CGE contract for definitive employment rules and regulations concerning Graduate Assistant appointments.

Comparing fellowships and assistantships at OSU

The following chart provides a comparison of fellowships and assistantships at OSU. You can download a PDF version of this chart:

1. Tuition support
Differences in the tuition fee support for graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships.
OSU Graduate Fellowships OSU Graduate Assistantships
Accompanied by Tuition Waiver – Waiver is defined as a scholarship award directly applied to the student account. Accompanied by Tuition Remission – Remission is defined as a reversal of tuition charges on student account, so students are exempt from tuition up to 16 credits.
Waivers available through Graduate School on qualifying fellowships, with requests submitted by third Monday in February. Remission provided with assistantship, almost exclusively from same funding source as employment. Remission funding available through Graduate School only by transfer of funds and in select cases e.g. Laurels Grant
Summer tuition not covered by Graduate School waiver if on appointment, but may be by other fund source. Summer tuition covered if on appointment, covered by same funding account.
Ecampus tuition support provided up to 12 credits of enrollment, made as adjustment to waiver after add course deadline. Exemption from payment of tuition applies to OSU Extended Campus (Ecampus) courses
Term fees may be supported through additional funds, separate allowances, as specified, but not standardly covered in fellowship offer. Matriculation Fee and Int’l Student Orientation fee responsibility of fellow. Large portion of term fees remitted per Collective Bargaining Agreement, including one-time Matriculation Fee and Int’l Student Orientation fee.
2. Enrollment requirements
Differences in the enrollment requirements for graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships.
OSU Graduate Fellowships OSU Graduate Assistantships
Minimum 12 credits in fall, winter, and spring with Graduate School tuition waiver support, minimum 9cr for other appointments, unless specified. Minimum 12 credits in fall, winter, and spring.
Minimum 3 credits in summer, if on appointment. Minimum 3 credits in summer, if on appointment, but typically 5 credits required for employment type.
Enrollment cannot be satisfied by audit, withdrawn, or INTO-OSU courses. Not specified.
3. Health insurance
Differences in health insurance for graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships.
OSU Graduate Fellowships OSU Graduate Assistantships
Mandatory coverage, but must enroll in insurance. Mandatory coverage, and automatically enrolled in employee-only insurance.
May also cover dependents through plan, with 90% premium paid by OSU. May also cover dependents through plan, with 90% premium paid by OSU, but must complete enrollment form.
May elect for summer coverage, must enroll by May 1 and premiums triple charged in May in advance of summer. Summer coverage automatically provided, and premiums charged in 1/9 amounts during each month of academic year.
4. Compensation
Differences in compensation for graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships.
OSU Graduate Fellowships OSU Graduate Assistantships
Compensation for appointment in the form of monthly or quarterly prepaid (i.e. in advance) stipend, and for use with living expenses. Compensation for appointment in the form of monthly employment stipend, paid after monthly service completion.
OSU does not withhold taxes for US citizens and resident aliens. OSU must withhold tax on any taxable fellowship stipend disbursed to nonresident aliens, unless there is a treaty exemption in place. OSU does withhold taxes based upon filed W-4 and/or other IRS documentation.
Stipend meets or exceeds the prevailing recommended minimum rate for 0.49 FTE graduate appointments as established annually by the Graduate School. Compensation follows Collective Bargaining Agreement requirements.
5. Appointment setup
Differences in appointment for graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships.
OSU Graduate Fellowships OSU Graduate Assistantships
Not employment, but considered equivalent to 0.49FTE appointment. Employment, vary from 0.3FTE to 0.49FTE.
Cannot be combined with any other OSU appointment. FTE allocations can vary to reach 0.3FTE minimum to qualify, maximum total appointment is 0.49FTE.
Tuition Waiver may come from single or multiple sources, in the form of scholarship. Tuition Remission must be % shared based upon FTE allocations.
Additional funds may be offered, but must be in form of stipend, allowances, with no service requirement. Additional funds may be offered, but must be in form of stipend, allowances, with no service requirement if 0.49FTE appointment.
Appointment set up through one of two processes:
  1. Foundation/OSU funds – department, Graduate School, Business Center
  2. External/Training grant funds – department, OSRAA, Business Affairs, Graduate School, HR-Business Center
Appointment set up through department and HR-Business Center.
6. Service requirements
Differences in service requirements for graduate fellowships and graduate assistantships.
OSU Graduate Fellowships OSU Graduate Assistantships
Fellowships have no service requirements in terms of hours or work carried out, but deliverables may be required per sponsor. Assistantship has specified hours and work requirement within 13-week intervals, based upon position description.
Fellows who teach or conduct research are doing so in furtherance of degree objectives, and not in service to the institution. Assistants may teach or conduct research as part of their specific work requirements and as outlined in position description.
Not employment, so requirements for appointment subject to continued status as graduate degree-seeking student, making satisfactory degree progress, and continued financial sponsorship. Rights, responsibilities, grievances, etc. all outlined through Collective Bargaining Agreement. Requirements for appointment subject to continued status as graduate degree-seeking student and making satisfactory degree progress.