Financial Aid- Graduate Program
All students, including supported students, are responsible for paying their comprehensive fee and should do so before the deadline to avoid late fee penalties. Graduate students who are registered for any classes should not wait for a tuition bill before paying the comprehensive fee. These fees usually include health insurance, transportation, technological fees among other institutional fees.
Students with financial aid, usually have an automatic tuition waiver either from the institution or research projects. In some circumstances, the financial aid, when paid through research grants, may cover all or partial comprehensive fees. Graduate students must consult their major advisor on these issues.
Financial aid is available for each student in various forms: graduate assistantship (GA), graduate research assistantship (GRA), graduate teaching assistantship (GTA), graduate fellowships (GF), graduate instructors (GI), and student loans.
Graduate Assistants (GAs) are employed on a half-time basis (twenty hours of work per week) to assist the undergraduate courses, special student projects, computer labs, and/or administrative appointments. They are required to fulfill their employment obligations without regard to academic terms. This means that they are also expected to average twenty hours of work per week between academic terms. In addition, they must fulfill their research and academic commitments. In some cases, US citizenship may be required.
Graduate Research Assistantships
Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) are employed on a half-time basis (twenty hours of work per week) on a research project during a specified appointment period. They are required to fulfill their employment obligations without regard to academic terms. This means that they are also expected to average twenty hours of work per week between academic terms. They are required to assist their major advisor 5 hours a week in any academic or research related efforts. Students must fulfill their research and academic commitments. In some cases, US citizenship may be required.
Graduate Teaching Assistantships
A Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) is employed on a half-time basis (20 hrs/week) to assist with the teaching of undergraduate courses in mechanical engineering limited to one week before classes begin through final exams. Students must fulfill their research and academic commitments. In general, US citizenship is not required.
Graduate fellowships are available to full-time graduate students and have no assigned university duties. However, fellowship and traineeship holders should associate themselves with ongoing research teams and should be expected to be treated like other members of the team who hold GRAs. In addition, there may be duties specified by the fellowship. They are required to assist their major advisor 5 hours a week in any academic or research related efforts. Students must fulfill their research and academic commitments. In some cases, US citizenship may be required.
Graduate instructors students occasionally may be employed as full- or part-time instructors teaching undergraduate laboratories. Doctoral candidates in addition to being eligible for assistantships and fellowships may on occasion be employed as full- or part-time instructors teaching undergraduate courses. Their duties are based on their appointment and specified by the Chair of the ME Graduate Affairs Committee. In general, US citizenship is not required.
Graduate teaching, research and project assistantships are predicted to range from approximately $680 – $1500 per month for half-time appointments for the academic year. Stipends might include supplemental scholarships, which depend upon the student’s academic record. The salary of instructors depends on their qualifications. The ME Department assumes the responsibility of paying the tuition of all supported (GA, GTA and GRA) students but students MUST enroll in a minimum of 12 hours a semester. The institutional assistantships only cover the normal semester days. In general, summer terms (mid-May to mid-August), Christmas holidays (mid-December to mid-January), and other holidays are not paid to the students. However, may vary if the student is supported through a GRA.
Other Financial Aids
1) Student loans: Graduate students may apply for student loans in accordance with the Office of Graduate Studies and university policies. Some loans have strict eligibility requirements. In some cases, US citizenship may be required.
2) Graduate Scholarships: US citizens who have been accepted without financial aid may apply for other competitive graduate scholarships. More information can be found at http://grad.uprm.edu/ayud -competitiva.htm
3) Work-Study Positions: At the begining of each semester, the Academic Affairs Office may provide one to four work-study positions. Student may be assigned adminitrative work, laboratory organization, assist student in special projects, etc.
The graduate student’s responsibilities, in connection with the assistantship and the details of the financial support which he/she receives, are outlined in their offer letter from the Department Head. GTAs will receive subsequent acknowledgement and assignment letters from the Chair of the ME Graduate Affairs Committee. To maintain the assistantship, the student must complete his or her assigned duties in a satisfactory manner and make satisfactory progress toward their degree. At any time, the ME Department may cancel his/her assistantship.
If continued support beyond your current offer is desired, you should contact your advisor at least two months before the end of the support period indicated in your offer letter. Because it is the responsibility of your advisor to work with you to secure financial support for you, it is important who you choose to work with as your advisor. Details of your financial support should be discussed before this selection is finalized. Approximately one month before the end of the support period indicated in your offer letter, you should contact the Financial Support Technician, to see if support will be continued.
Students enrolled in the Mechanical Engineering graduate program are encouraged to complete their program of study within a two years period in which they must maintain a GPA of 3.00 on a 4.00 basis. Graduate assistantships may be available from institutional funds, research projects sponsored by federal and state agencies, and other external aids. A typical assistantship includes tuition waiver and a monthly stipend up to a maximum of 24 months. Beyond 24 month, assistantship is not guaranteed.
Students may be required to work extra hours a week to meet deadlines. Under these circumstances he/she might receive extra compensation, but not necessarily. At UPRM, students are required to meet project deadlines.