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* Academics

Graduate Program

Financial Aid

Effective Fall 2002, assistantships will be governed by the Institute's Graduate Tuition Policy.

Financial Aid Awards

Teaching assistantships are awarded by the department based on nominations from students' research advisors. TA offers are made in the middle of the preceding semester. For offers made at this time, the most important selection criteria are the nomination from the research advisor, fair distribution of offers to students of all CS faculty members, English communication ability, and academic progress.

Additional offers may be made to waiting list candidates around the start of each semester, when unexpected vacancies arise. The same selection criteria as before are still in place, but at this time, it also becomes important to choose students who have the qualifications needed to TA the particular class for which there is an opening. Positions filled from the waiting list are normally for one semester only. If you did not receive a TAship in the first round of offers and would like to be placed on the waiting list, contact Terry Hayden.

Institute policy limits teachings assistantships to two semesters for M.S. students and four semesters for Ph.D. students. Students typically become research assistants when their teaching assistantships expire.

Research assistantships are handled by individual professors. You may be able to arrange a research assistantship through your advisor. Occasionally, a professor will send all CS grad students an e-mail announcement about an opening for a research assistant.

Students who have not passed the qualifying exam at the end of their first year in the PhD program will be allowed a third semester of TA support. After that, they are expected to leave with an MS.

Registration issues

  • Only full-time students are eligible for Rensselaer financial aid. This means that teaching assistants must be registered for at least 9 credits and research assistants must be registered for at least 12 credits.
  • If you drop a course after the drop deadline, you are still charged tuition for it. However, if you drop the course, your research assistantship will not pay for it.

Academic Progress Requirements

These policies apply to all students supported by the Institute, including TA's, RA's, and Fellows.

In order to continue to receive financial aid, students in the PhD program must meet the following deadlines:

  • Pass Qualifying Exam by end of first year
  • Pass Research Qualifying Exam by end of second year
  • Pass Candidacy Exam by end of third year

Time spent on approved leaves of absence is not counted toward these deadlines.

Students who would like extensions of these deadlines must petition the Graduate Curriculum Committee at least 3 months in advance of the affected semester.

It is the responsibility of the Graduate Chairman to remind those students affected by this rule of the need to petition for financial support.

Getting Paid

The Computer Science Department payroll is handled by Pam Paslow, so you should direct questions to her. Here is her contact information:

Pam Paslow
MRC 303

In order to get on payroll, new students must complete some paperwork:

  • If you are an international student and you have not already done the paperwork at orientation, you should contact Judy Sawyer in the payroll office for an appointment.
  • If you are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, you should see Pam Paslow in MRC 303. Bring ID such as
    • social security card and driver's license
    • social security card and birth certificate
    • US passport

You will be paid every other Friday. You may be paid by check or direct deposit.

If you are paid by check, you will need to pick up your check. On paydays, checks can be picked up at Academy Hall. On other days, they may be picked up from the Payroll office in the Rice Building. You must bring a photo ID with you when picking up your check. If picking up someone else's check, you must bring their ID as well.

If you would like to be paid by direct deposit, you must fill out a Payroll Check Disposition Authorization form. You can obtain the form from Pam Paslow. Send the completed form, along with a voided check, to the Payroll office via campus mail. If you have direct deposit, you will receive a notice in campus mail every two weeks telling you how much money has been put in your account.

* Return to main Graduate Program page