We have been very successful in helping our students secure assistantships on campus. All assistants work 20 hours per week in exchange for a stipend, which is paid in semi-monthly installments and a tuition waiver for 9 credits of graduate coursework (a typical full-time course load) each semester.
There are a number of Graduate Assistantship (GA) positions available in the Department of Graduate Psychology. You cannot apply for these positions; the Program Director appoints students to these positions and considers all students who indicate interest in an assistantship when making the appointments.
However, several other options exist as well. In order to maximize your chances of receiving support, you should pursue all of the following. You can and should submit applications for the options listed below as soon as you submit your application to the Psychological Sciences program, before you know your admission status. Although only accepted students can accept an assistantship position, waiting until you have heard about your admission status to apply could jeopardize your chances of obtaining a position. In addition, many hiring supervisors are willing to offer assistantship positions pending admission. It pays to be PROACTIVE!
- Submit an application for Federal (and State) Financial Aid. You may not be aware but the criteria for determining financial aid eligibility are different for graduate students than for undergraduate students. It is very likely that you will qualify for financial aid as a graduate student EVEN IF you did not qualify as an undergraduate student. Please consult the JMU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships web site (http://www.jmu.edu/finaid/wm_library/GradFA.pdf), which contains important information about applying for aid. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is available at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov/. Submit the FAFSA at the same time you submit your JMU application to ensure that the Department of Education receives your FAFSA in a timely fashion. Your receipt of state grant funds may depend on filing your FAFSA early. If necessary, you may estimate your income and make corrections later. For information about all the options, please inquire to our Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at (540) 568-7820 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Apply for an Assistantship with the Centennial Scholars Program. This program provides a financial aid package that covers the full billable cost to attend JMU in the form of grants. These funds cover tuition, fees, room and board for a maximum of two years for graduate students. You can find links to the Centennial Scholarship Application and information on the available Assistantships on the Application page of their web site at http://www.jmu.edu/centscholars/downloadable_files/GAinfo.pdf.
- Create an applicant account on the JMU Job Link web site (http://www.jmu.edu/humanresources/emp/joblink.shtml), search the site regularly for any Graduate Assistant (GA) positions for which you are qualified, and submit an application for them. Many departments on campus [other than Graduate Psychology] have GA positions that may be a good match for you and there are new positions added regularly. The more often you check, the more likely you are to identify suitable options.