Graduate Student Guidance

This guide will help faculty identify the differences between student employees and fellowship recipients and understand the practices for interacting with both groups.

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

A GTA performs duties that contribute to the teaching mission of K-State. These duties might include classroom or laboratory teaching, proctoring exams, grading exams, papers or other assignments, preparing instructional materials or other general assistance in the instructional process. The GTA’s teaching assignment will necessarily vary between academic units and with the student’s FTE appointment, but should not exceed an average of 20 student contact hours per week throughout the semester for a 0.5 FTE appointment. GTA appointments and compensation must be consistent with Chapter 4845 of the Kansas State University Policy and Procedures Manual.

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA):

A GRA conducts research that supports the research mission of K-State and the student’s educational goals. Research duties vary, but are supervised by graduate faculty. The research project that the students’ activities support may be part of their thesis or dissertation. GRA appointments and compensation must be consistent with Chapter 4835 of the Kansas State University Policy and Procedures Manual.

Graduate Assistant (GA):

A GA performs duties that indirectly contribute to a graduate student’s educational success. These duties vary, but generally involve administrative services that can include gathering, organizing and analyzing information, providing student services, performing administrative tasks to support a program or organizational unit or performing routine research support activities. Since the duties of most GAs are performed in a structured environment, the GA may be required to appear at specific times and coordinate their activities with the employing unit. Support of GAs may depend on the number of hours spent on their duties and will require these hours to be reported, or may be based upon a specified FTE commitment and require flexibility in the hours spent on their duties, but must be consistent with Chapter 4720 of the Kansas State University Policy and Procedures Manual. Any graduate assistantship that is not a GRA or GTA as defined below is a GA.

Graduate Fellow:

Graduate student performing research activities related to the fellowship as specified by the sponsor.

Scholarships/fellowships are amounts paid to an individual to aid and support that individual in the pursuit of study, training or research.

Current payment/disbursement options


Stipend distributions for currently enrolled K-State students should be processed through the Office of Student Financial Aid, or SFA, via the scholarship confirmation form. SFA reviews the scholarship request and posts the scholarship to the student’s account through KSIS. The excess aid will be disbursed as a refund via direct deposit if student is registered or a check will be issued.

This process may be delayed at the beginning of the semester as the volume of forms submitted is high. The aid will first be applied to outstanding charges on the student’s account. If students have additional aid by departments who have not submitted the aid request, the disbursement will be delayed.

Travel aid:

Travel reimbursements for business or educational travel on behalf of K-State substantiated by itemized receipts and/or established per diem rates, as applicable, are reimbursed through general accounting. Generally reimbursements are processed within two business days after receipt in General Accounting and payment is received by individual within 5–10 business days. Unsubstantiated travel scholarships should be paid via the Scholarship Confirmation Form.

Changes effective July 1, 2015 for fellowship payment distribution consistency

A new section for the fellowship/scholarship payment distribution process was added to PPM 6320.070 , effective July 1, 2015 to create more consistency in the payment process. Prior to this change offering the additional guidance, many scholarship payments were inaccurately coded as non-employee compensation, creating inaccurate reporting on 1099 forms.

Tax reporting for scholarship/fellowship payments

Scholarship/stipend payments for enrolled K-State students (non-employee)*:

At the end of each tax year, the tuition expenses and total aid disbursements are analyzed for each student. If a student’s total assessed tuition exceeds the student’s total aid disbursements, the student will receive a 1098-T, as required by the IRS, for use in claiming applicable tax credits. Students whose scholarship aid exceeds the assessed tuition or were not enrolled as a student at K-State should not receive a 1098-T or other form from K-State and should consult their tax advisor as to self-reportable requirements.

Tuition in lieu of salary payments (employee)*:

Payments made for employee compensation are reported on form W-2 for each calendar year.

Travel payments for scholarship travel*:

Travel scholarships processed through SFA are included on the 1098-T, as applicable, and follow the guidelines mentioned above. Reimbursements for educational travel processed through general accounting should be self-reported, as applicable, by the student.

In these cases, students should not receive a 1099 for scholarship payments as they are not receiving compensation for services or prizes or awards.

*Different tax reporting and withholding rules apply to foreign nationals receiving scholarship aid.