Oct 23, 2021  
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog 
    
2021-2022 Graduate Catalog

Financial Assistance



Scholarships, Grants, Student Employment and Loans

Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
Student Success Center, Room 5200
MSC 3519
Phone: (540) 568-7820
Website: http://www.jmu.edu/financialaid/

Assistantships

Website: http://www.jmu.edu/grad/current-students/assistantships/assist_info.shtml

Each year, James Madison University makes funds available through the graduate assistantship program. Although limited in number, assistantships contribute significantly to academic and non-academic areas of the university. Assistantships provide financial assistance to qualified students who otherwise might be unable to pursue graduate degrees. They also offer opportunities for students to gain worthwhile teaching and other experiences relevant to their chosen disciplines.

Assistantships typically include a stipend and tuition. The amount of the stipend can vary depending on the type of assistantship (doctoral assistant, graduate assistant, teaching assistant, etc.), the source of the funding and other factors. The tuition portion of the award can also vary and is especially impacted by a student's residency status. International students are eligible for assistantships.

Assistantships are awarded at the discretion of the hiring office. The hiring office prepares a contract for graduate assistantship stipend and tuition coverage. Assistantships are typically limited to nine paid graduate hours of tuition each fall and spring semester, and doctoral assistantships can include summer terms. Contracts are written for no more than one year. Assistantships may not cover the tuition for all courses required by an academic program. Students must pay for any additional hours each semester at the program's tuition rate which may be based on residency status.

Any additional charges for Web-based courses will be the responsibility of the student. Under no circumstances will payment from assistantship funds be used for audited course work or undergraduate hours. Assistantships do not cover the student's room and board expenses.

Acceptance of an offer of financial support–such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship or assistantship–for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school are expected to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties. Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of the Council of Graduate Schools' Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants (http://www.jmu.edu/grad/_files/cgs-resolution.pdf)

Criteria

To be eligible to receive an assistantship, each student must be conditionally or unconditionally accepted into a graduate program at JMU. A student who is provisionally accepted will not be eligible for a graduate assistantship until they achieve conditional or unconditional acceptance into a graduate program. Note: Graduate programs have the right to impose additional criteria as they see fit. The following academic load guidelines apply to all categories of graduate assistants.

Graduate assistants are required to make significant progress toward their degrees. They must be enrolled in nine credit hours of graduate course work each semester. Underload approval is required if a graduate assistant is not registered for nine graduate hours each semester. Underloads for fewer than six graduate credits are not approved. Only one underload may be granted during a graduate assistant's program of study.

For their courses to be covered by their assistantship, all graduate assistants must enroll each semester during the regular registration period(s) and prior to the tuition refund date as at http://www.jmu.edu/registrar. Students who register for any additional courses after this time period will be held personally responsible for additional tuition and fees. Students who drop courses after the tuition refund date will be responsible for tuition and fees. Exceptions may be made only for documented extenuating circumstances and will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the Dean of The Graduate School.

Classification of Assistantships

Athletic Assistant

Athletic Assistants are hired to perform specific duties assigned by the respective department within the Division of Athletics. 

Doctoral Assistant

Doctoral assistants are assigned to academic units to assist faculty members in their responsibilities of teaching and/or research. Students enrolled in doctoral programs at JMU may serve as doctoral assistants. Doctoral assistantship stipend and tuition packages vary by program and may extend across all semesters, including summer.

Graduate Assistant

A graduate assistant is assigned to an academic unit, support program or administrative office to assist faculty members in preparing for instruction, leading discussion groups, grading papers, conducting research, preparing laboratories, performing departmental administrative tasks, etc. Specific duties will vary according to the needs of the department. All full-time graduate students, including first semester students, are eligible for graduate assistantships.

Graduate Teaching Assistant

Graduate Teaching Assistants perform a teaching role within an academic unit. A teaching assistant is assigned to an academic unit and is required to instruct or assist with a minimum of one course. To be eligible for a graduate teaching assistantship, students must have completed a minimum of 18 hours of appropriate graduate course work. In some academic units, graduate assistants must complete specific courses in their academic programs to be eligible to serve as teaching assistants. Teaching assistants must be directly supervised by a faculty member.

Research Assistant

A research assistant is a position funded through a grant, and the duties of the assistantship are prescribed as part of the grant application. Tuition funding for research assistantships may vary and must be determined as part of the grant application process.

Service Assistant

Service Assistants are hired to perform specific duties assigned by the respective department within the Division of Student Affairs.

Assignment of Graduate Assistants

Graduate assistants will be assigned to a unit of the university only when:

  • Assigned duties and responsibilities are meaningful in terms of complementing the student's formal academic work and the student's professional development
  • The assignment of graduate assistants contributes substantially and productively to the mission of the academic unit, the program or the university.

Assistantship Hours

In accordance with university policy guidelines, graduate assistants will provide an average of 20 hours of assistance each week. Graduate assistants cannot be asked to perform more than an average of 20 hours per week unless special permission is granted from The Graduate School. Visa requirements stipulate that international students may not in any circumstances work more than 20 hours per week. Students may not begin their assignment prior to completion and submission of all required forms.

Additional JMU Employment for Graduate Assistants

Graduate students receiving stipends from Virginia state funds are occasionally permitted to accept JMU employment in addition to the 20 assistantship hours. Such employment requires formal permission from The Graduate School through the submission of the Approval for Employment in Addition to an Assistantship form that is signed by the student's advisor or the program director. The student and the advisor or director should carefully consider the potential effect of additional employment on the student's academic performance before submitting the form to the graduate school.

The maximum number of hours in addition to the assistantship that a graduate student can work for the Commonwealth of Virginia, on a weekly basis, should be no more than nine hours per week. Additional employment must be approved prior to the initiation of work and is subject to review by JMU Human Resources.

Conditions of Continuation in Assistantship

Graduate assistants are required to make significant progress toward their degrees, which means they must:

  • Carry nine hours of graduate course work each semester. Note: Underload approval is required if a graduate assistant is not registered for nine graduate hours each semester. Underloads for fewer than six graduate credits are not approved. Only one underload may be granted during a graduate assistant's program of study (except under extenuating circumstances).

  • Maintain at least a 3.0 graduate GPA in order to retain or reapply for the assistantship.

  • Students may receive assistantships for a maximum of four semesters (fall and spring) or two academic years, except for Doctoral Assistants, students in the Master of Fine Arts program or students seeking the Education Specialist degree.

Resource Allocation

Prior to the beginning of the academic year, the Dean of The Graduate School will make recommendations to the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs concerning the total number of Graduate, Doctoral and Teaching Assistantships available, as well as the amount of the stipends available to be paid within the Division of Academic Affairs. Final approval for these allocations rests with the Provost/Vice President of Academic Affairs. This total will not include allocation for Assistants in Student Affairs, Athletics or Grants. Final approval for allocations of funding for Graduate Assistants in Athletics rests with the Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance. Final approval for allocations of funding for Graduate Assistants in Student Affairs rests with the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs. Each Vice President shall be responsible for approval of allocations for Graduate Assistants within their divisions.

The Dean of The Graduate School, in conjunction with the Associate Vice President of Resource Planning and Analysis, will oversee the allocation of the assistantships among the colleges and administrative offices in Academic Affairs.

Academic deans will determine the allocation of assistantships according to academic units within their colleges and will inform the Dean of The Graduate School of their allocations.

Application Process

A student interested in a graduate assistantship should inform the graduate program to which they are applying of their interest in an assistantship. If there is not an assistantship available, the student may apply for a posted assistantship through another department.

Students may apply for assistantship positions on JMU's JobLink website at http://joblink.jmu.edu.

Award of Assistantship

Assistantship departments will choose assistants from the applications submitted for their positions. Academic unit heads and directors will review applications and set up interviews. If the award of an assistantship is recommended, the academic unit head or director will obtain a signed contract from the student for the approved time period and will submit a signed Student Employment position description to The Graduate School stipulating the various assistantship duties. If a teaching assistantship is awarded and the student will be serving as the instructor of record, the hiring department will secure and maintain a current transcript for the hired student. The process for hiring the graduate assistant is handled through the ePAR System.

The signed contract and position description will be attached to the ePAR. Student Employment will work with respective candidate and department in completing the I-9 process. Tax and direct deposit forms are submitted to JMU's HR-Payroll department for processing.

Students who are reappointed from one academic year to the next will be required to complete the Graduate Assistantship Contract Form and Student Employment position description only. Deadline for submitting Rehire Contracts is April 24.

All contract materials should be submitted through ePAR no later than 30 days prior to the contract start date. Failure to submit contracts 30 days prior will result in delayed financial aid or a revised award package as well as delays, including late stipend payment, tuition payments and loan disbursement. Completed and signed online I-9 forms are required to be in Student Employment no later than 2 days after the first work day of the contract. Failure to submit the I-9 form in a timely manner will result in the student's assistantship being terminated. The student will not be paid for time contributed and the student will not be eligible for contract renewal. In no instance will the student be allowed to continue past the due date for the I-9 form. Violation of this time requirement may subject the university to criminal penalties. The Dean of The Graduate School may reallocate to other academic units or programs any full academic year assistantships that remain unfilled by the beginning of classes each semester.

Notice of Non-Discrimination and Equal Opportunity

James Madison University does not discriminate on the basis of age, disability, race or color, national or ethnic origin, political affiliation or belief, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, veteran status, parental status (including pregnancy), marital status, family medical or genetic information, in its employment, educational programs, activities, and admissions. JMU complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding non-discrimination, affirmative action, and anti-harassment. The responsibility overall coordination, monitoring and information dissemination about JMU's program of equal opportunity, non-discrimination, and affirmative action is assigned to the Office of Equal Opportunity. Inquiries or complaints may be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity (540) 568-6991, OEO homepage, oeo@jmu.edu.

JMU prohibits sexual and gender-based harassment including sexual assault and other forms of inter-personal violence. The responsibility for overall coordination, monitoring and information dissemination about JMU's Title IX program is assigned to the Title IX Coordinator. Inquiries or complaints may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator: Amy Sirocky-Meck (540) 568-5219, Title IX homepage, titleix@jmu.edu.

Obligations of Graduate Assistants

Students who accept assistantships must be available for planning, orientation, training and/or workshops approximately one week prior to the beginning of the contract period as requested by the academic units or programs granting the assistantships.

Students who are granted graduate assistantships are required to abide by university policy, state and federal law.

Academic Load

The following academic load guidelines apply to all graduate assistants. Graduate assistants must:

  • Carry a full load of nine graduate credit hours each semester.
  • Underload for no fewer than six graduate credit hours only once during a graduate career (extenuating circumstances may apply).
  • Receive prior approval from the graduate program director when planning to register for more than nine credit hours.
  • Pay for any additional credit hours above those paid for by their assistantships.
  • Pay for the additional cost of any web-based courses.

For courses to be covered by assistantship funding, graduate assistants must enroll each semester during the regular registration period(s) and prior to the tuition refund date as published by the Office of the Registrar. Students who register for additional courses after this time will be personally responsible for additional tuition and fees. Students who drop courses after the tuition refund date will be responsible for tuition and fees and will receive a grade of "W" for the course. Exceptions may be made only for documented extenuating circumstances and will be handled on a case-by-case basis by the dean of The Graduate School. Students must contact the Office of the Dean of Students if all courses are dropped to withdraw from the university.

Stipends and Tuition Allocations

In all cases, the hiring department or program area pays the stipend. Stipends are paid in semi-monthly installments and are taxable income. Stipends are not wages, and the Graduate Assistant is not primarily engaged in providing services, but instead is being provided training by the university in a work setting.

The university's Budget Office determines if the university (through The Graduate School), the hiring department or the program area will pay for tuition allocations. The terms for tuition allocations are as follows:

  • In no case may an assistantship cover undergraduate hours or audited hours.
  • Assistantships pay nine credit hours of graduate course work each semester, unless an underload is approved.
  • The student is responsible for payment of tuition for all additional hours taken above the designated number of hours covered by the contract.
  • Some graduate assistantship positions pay out-of-state tuition: however, out-of-state tuition is not fully funded for all assistantship positions. If an out-of-state student is hired in an "in-state funded position," the student is responsible for payment of the difference between the in-state and out-of-state tuition rates. The contract will specify the tuition classification.
  • Distant Learning tuition rates will be paid up to, but not exceeding, the on-campus rate for graduate credit hours as designated in the contract.

For new assistantship positions, The Graduate School, working with the Budget Office, will verify that funds are available and assign new position numbers.

Forfeiture of Assistantship

Students who leave the university, fail to perform the duties under their assistantships, lose their eligibility for the assistantship, or violate a university policy or state or federal law will forfeit their graduate assistantships. In such cases, the university may withdraw tuition payment and will have no further obligation to continue to pay a stipend. In some cases, students may be expected to pay the university for tuition for the current semester.

Evaluation of Graduate Assistants

All graduate assistants must be evaluated each semester. The format and timing of the evaluation is at the discretion of the hiring department. Evaluations should be kept on file in the hiring department for five years.

Responsibilities

The division heads are responsible for allocation of funds within their divisions to provide for graduate assistantships.

  • The Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs is responsible for approval of Graduate Assistantships within the Division of Academic Affairs, and for the final approval of reallocations of graduate assistantships across college lines.
  • The Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance is responsible for approval of graduate assistantships in Athletics.
  • The Senior Vice President for Student Affairs is responsible for approval of graduate assistantships in Student Affairs.

The Dean of The Graduate School is responsible for the general supervision of the assistantship program and has responsibility for:

  • Overseeing tuition budget for assistantships and managing the contract and allocation process;
  • Approving the appointment of graduate assistants recommended by the department or academic unit head and concurred in by the appropriate dean and vice president;
  • Ensuring that Teaching Assistants are contracted in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

The academic unit, department or program heads have responsibilities for:

  • Completing and reviewing contracts for graduate assistants;
  • Budgeting for assistantship stipends and tuition allocations (unless tuition is paid by The Graduate School);
  • Ensuring that position descriptions for assistantships are submitted to the Student Employment Work Center and are on file in the appropriate academic units;
  • Monitoring the performance of graduate assistants within their academic units;
  • Submitting official notification to the Dean of The Graduate School of each resignation before the position is reassigned;
  • Enforcing the rule that graduate assistants may not begin their assignments prior to completion and submission of all required forms.

Sanctions

Failure to follow these procedures in hiring graduate assistants may result in appropriate sanctions, up to and including termination of the assistantship contract or the employment of the individual violating this policy.

Training and English Language Competency

Graduate teaching assistants must have proper training and meet English language competencies.

Supervision of Graduate Teaching Assistants

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTA) are any graduate students who have teaching responsibility. A teaching responsibility includes teaching or assisting in the teaching of a course, a lab section of a course, or more than one class session in a course. The academic unit must assign a full-time faculty member to supervise the teaching assignment of the GTA. The faculty supervisor must meet with the GTA on a regular basis, at least once every two weeks. In addition to assigning a faculty supervisor, the GTA must experience a course and/or workshop designed to teach the GTA about methods of college level instruction.

GTA Selection Criteria

All students being considered for GTA assignments must:

  • Have completed a minimum of 18 credit hours of appropriate graduate course work to serve as the instructor of record for a course while in their assistantship position.
  • Demonstrate an acceptable understanding of appropriate methods and techniques required for instruction of college level students. All GTA candidates must be allowed to demonstrate this understanding by teaching at least one observed full class session.
  • Demonstrate a sufficient level of English proficiency and fluency, and understanding of the learning style of students attending JMU. All international students must demonstrate that they have achieved a satisfactory score (as determined by the individual graduate program) on the Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). In addition, a sufficient level of English proficiency must be demonstrated under actual class circumstances where the students being taught by the GTA can participate in evaluating the student's English proficiency.
  • Have their teaching evaluated by their faculty supervisor mid-way and at the end of the teaching semester. The results of the evaluation must be conveyed directly to the GTA by the supervisor.
  • Have their teaching evaluated by their students in same manner used by their academic unit. The GTA must share the results of the student's evaluation with their supervisor.
  • In those cases where an international graduate student has been accepted with the understanding that he or she will receive an assistantship but, after arriving cannot satisfy one or more of the GTA selection criteria, every effort should be made to honor the assistantship offer until the students is able to teach.

Application Process for Assistantships

A student interested in a graduate assistantship should inform the graduate program to which he/she is applying of his/her interest in an assistantship. Some programs have the ability to offer assistantships to their own students, and some have agreements with other departments to recommend applicants for their positions. If a student cannot find an assistantship through their home program, students may want to choose to apply for an assistantship that is posted online.

To apply for an assistantship:

Complete and submit the application for the appropriate position. Assistantship departments contact applicants directly to set up interviews. After selecting a Graduate Assistant, the department will create the contract materials and forward them to The Graduate School. The graduate assistant will sign the contract, complete the tax forms and return them immediately to the assistantship department so information can be entered into the payroll system.

Questions concerning assistantships should be made directly to the graduate program or department offering the assistantship.

Deadlines

Some academic units may require specific deadlines for assistantship applications. Consult the appropriate academic unit for their application deadline.

Federal Financial Assistance Programs

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships helps qualified students secure a financial aid package designed to meet their financial needs. In most cases, students who have earned a bachelor's degree are no longer eligible to receive federal and state grants, with the exception of the tuition portion of the assistantships mentioned in the prior sections, which may use state dollars to fund the waiver. Therefore, the award package for graduate students generally consists of loans and work-study eligibility.

Students interested in information on financial assistance programs, including scholarships, should visit the financial aid website (http://www.jmu.edu/financialaid/), contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or send an e-mail to fin_aid@jmu.edu. A general overview of the aid process and basic consumer information can be found by reading the JMU Terms and Conditions for Financial Aid – Consumer Information document available at http://www.jmu.edu/financialaid/terms-and-conditions.shtml

Application Procedures and Deadlines

All financial aid applicants must undergo a standardized federal "needs analysis" by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To facilitate timely processing of financial aid, it is essential that applicants ensure their FAFSA has reached the federal government by March 1 prior to the academic year for which they are seeking financial assistance. Failure to apply by the priority filing date may cause delays in receiving aid.

A student must complete a FAFSA before financial aid eligibility can be determined for the following sources of aid:

  • Federal Unsubsidized Direct Loan
  • Federal Work-Study Program
  • Need-based Foundation Scholarships
  • Federal Grad PLUS Direct Loan

When a student files the FAFSA, the federal processor calculates his/her Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The EFC is an estimate of the family's ability to contribute to the student's overall educational expenses for one year. JMU calculates the student's financial "need" by subtracting the EFC from the Cost of Attendance (described later).

Financial aid recipients must complete the FAFSA each school year. Amounts and types of assistance may vary from year to year. If funds are available, the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships continues to assist students who meet the following conditions:

  • Complete the FAFSA, with precedence given to those who apply by the priority filing date of March 1 prior to the academic year for which they are seeking financial assistance.
  • Meet the general eligibility requirements for aid as defined by the FAFSA.
  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements (described later).

Students offered financial assistance by JMU will receive electronic notification regarding their financial aid eligibility. The financial aid office will send a notice to the JMU e-mail account, which directs students to MyMadison, where they may view and interact with their financial aid package. The aid notice has important information, so the recipient should follow all instructions to ensure the completion of required forms. Students can find consumer information regarding the financial aid process, including pertinent rules and regulations, through the financial aid section of their MyMadison account. If any of the information included in the financial aid package or award notification is incorrect, the student should immediately notify the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Financial aid is awarded based on FAFSA information, as well as the student's status at JMU (e.g., academic level, enrollment status and residency).

Federal and state regulations also require the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to consider any outside sources of assistance when awarding financial aid. These outside sources can be JMU scholarships, private scholarships, veteran's benefits, tuition waivers, etc. The student's financial aid package may fluctuate throughout the year based on changes in FAFSA information, JMU status or the receipt of additional aid. Financial aid notices are usually sent in early summer.

Cost of Attendance

An important part of determining a student's eligibility for financial aid is calculating a Cost of Attendance. In accordance with federal regulations, JMU has developed a Cost of Attendance (i.e., budget) for anticipated expenses a student may incur during the current school year. These expenses include tuition, room, board, books and supplies, travel and personal. Room and board can refer to either residence hall or off-campus living expenses, depending upon a student's response on the FAFSA. Expenses are also considered for students who live at home with parents or relatives, but the Cost of Attendance is lower than for those living elsewhere. Travel expenses include items such as gasoline, vehicle maintenance and insurance. Personal expenses include laundry, clothing and entertainment. Many of the elements in the Cost of Attendance are estimates, so it is possible for a student to spend more or less than anticipated during any given year.

Satisfactory Academic Progress

To be eligible to receive financial assistance, students must be making satisfactory progress toward graduation as defined by The Graduate School and the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. Financial aid standards are available on the financial aid website.

Student Loans

Information about student loans is available on the financial aid website.

Federal Direct Loan Program

The Unsubsidized Direct Loan is a long-term, low-interest loan for which undergraduate, graduate and professional students may apply. The interest rate on each loan is fixed on July 1st of the award year. Students can view current year interest rates at www.jmu.edu/financialaid/ . The student can either pay the interest while in school or have it capitalized (i.e., added to the principle). Payments on the principle amount do not begin until six months after the student graduates or drops below half-time status.

Graduate students may borrow no more than $20,500 per year, or no more than the established Cost of Attendance, whichever is lower. In addition, graduate students may borrow no more than $138,500 during their graduate career, which includes loans received for undergraduate study. For students who received prior Federal Stafford Loans at JMU or another institution, the debt total is the sum of all Direct and Stafford Loans.

Federal Grad PLUS Direct Loans

The Grad PLUS is a credit-based loan. Grad PLUS borrowers may apply for an amount up to the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received by the student for the academic year. The interest rate on each loan is fixed on July 1st of the award year. Students can view current year interest rates at www.jmu.edu/financialaid/. Interest begins to accrue on the date of the first loan disbursement. The first payment is due within 60 days of the last disbursement for the loan period. At times a Grad PLUS borrower may receive a deferment while he or she is enrolled at an eligible school. Contact the Direct Loan Servicing Center for details regarding this provision. Students must meet the same general eligibility requirements for federal financial aid that must be met in order to receive a Federal Direct Loan.

Applications for the Federal Grad PLUS Direct Loan are available on the financial aid website, but students should not submit an application until they have received a financial aid award notice explaining their eligibility.

Alternative Loans

Some banks offer credit-based alternative loans to students who either do not qualify for the Direct or Grad PLUS loans or cannot receive enough money through these loan programs to cover their educational expenses. Terms of these private loans vary, but interest rates are normally higher than for the Direct Loan or Grad PLUS. The financial aid office strongly encourages students to exhaust other sources of aid before pursuing an alternative loan. Interested individuals may obtain more information about alternative loan options from the financial aid website.

JMU Scholarships

Many scholarships for students are established through the JMU Foundation and individual university departments. Scholarships are awarded either through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships or by the appropriate college or division according to established criteria. Awards are based upon merit and/or need. To be considered for need-based scholarships, students must complete the FAFSA. For information on specific scholarships, students should visit the scholarships website at http://www.jmu.edu/scholarships.

Private Scholarships

Private off-campus scholarships include those awarded to students by outside (non-JMU) organizations. These scholarships are credited to the student's account upon receipt of the funds. If this type of scholarship is to be used to pay tuition and fees, the funds must be received prior to the payment due date for that semester. Mail all off-campus scholarship checks to:

University Business Office
MSC 3516
738 South Mason Street
Harrisonburg, VA 22807

The student is responsible for compliance with the provisions of the scholarship (i.e., grade reporting, verification of attendance, etc.).

Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program

This program is named in honor of Dr. Ronald E. McNair, the laser physicist and Challenger space shuttle astronaut. Funded through a grant from the United States Department of Education, the objective of the McNair Programs are to increase the numbers of low-income, first-generation and underrepresented minority undergraduates who pursue doctoral degrees, specifically the Ph.D., and go on to careers in research and teaching at the university level.

Application fees to The Graduate School will be waived for McNair applicants. For more information on the McNair Programs, refer to the website.

Employment

The Graduate School recognizes that many graduate students depend upon part-time or full-time employment to meet expenses. Though there is no limit to the maximum number of credit hours employed students may take, students and advisers should realize that a course schedule should take into consideration the demands of employment.

Student Employment

JMU employs both graduate and undergraduate students in academic, administrative or service oriented areas. Students must be degree seeking and enrolled on at least a half-time basis during the academic year to be employed in these positions. They receive payment for their services via direct deposit twice a month. Wages earned in student positions are not applied directly toward the cost of tuition; however, they serve as a source of income for weekly living expenses. There are three work programs at JMU. For more information see the Student Employment website (http://www.jmu.edu/student-employment/).

Federal Work-Study Program

Federal Work-Study (FWS) can be part of the financial aid package for students who demonstrate financial need as determined by their FAFSA. Students who are offered FWS will need to apply and interview with employers to secure a position; however, employment is not guaranteed. To obtain information about available FWS positions, refer to the student employment website. These jobs provide a student with the opportunity to earn a paycheck throughout the year. If the student reports FWS earnings as need-based employment on the FAFSA, then the money earned through this program is not counted as income when determining financial aid eligibility for that year.

Institutional Employment

Institutional Employment positions are on-campus positions available to degree-seeking JMU students regardless of financial need. To obtain additional information concerning available on-campus positions, refer to the student employment website. There are approximately 2,000 Institutional Employment positions available on campus each year. Students may not work more than 20 hours per week in any on-campus position during the fall and spring semesters.

Off-Campus Part-Time Jobs

The off-campus part-time jobs program is designed to assist students in securing off-campus, part-time employment regardless of their financial aid eligibility. The program's coordinator works with local employers to promote hiring JMU students and to assist with advertising their opportunities.

Additionally, the program is centered on creating real-world experiences for students that will not only increase self-knowledge but also develop marketable skills that will provide a solid foundation for securing jobs beyond graduation. To obtain information about available positions, refer to the student employment website.

Equal Opportunity

Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX
MSC 5802
1017 Harrison Street
Harrisonburg, Virginia, 22807
Phone: (540) 568-6991
Fax: (540) 568-7992
TDD: (540) 568-2278
Website: www.jmu.edu/oeo/

James Madison University does not discriminate and will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of age, color, disability, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, parental status, political affiliation, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or veteran status. Conduct by a member of the university community that constitutes discrimination or harassment on the basis of any protected class is a violation of university policy and is sanctionable.

Inquiries or requests for reasonable accommodation may be directed to the activity coordinator, the appropriate university office or the Office of Equal Opportunity. More information is available through the Office of Equal Opportunity website.

University Withdrawal

If students withdraw from their graduate program or the university, the University Business Office may adjust their charges based upon their withdrawal date and the JMU Refund Policy. For the university refund policy, refer to the University Business Office website (http://www.jmu.edu/ubo/).

Regardless of any adjustment to a student's charges, if he or she withdraws from the university, financial aid may be adjusted based on the percentage of the semester completed before withdrawal. In some cases, Federal Return of Title IV Funds regulations may require that aid be returned to the federal government for students who withdraw from JMU before 60 percent of a term has been completed. Financial aid is awarded for the entire term, which is generally a 15-week period. If a student does not complete the entire 15 weeks, then the Return of Title IV Fund rules will determine how much financial aid has been earned. The student can keep the earned amount for the term, but the unearned portion must be immediately returned to the federal government. In some situations, this will leave the student with a balance owed to the university. Funds are returned to the federal government in the following order: Grad PLUS and Unsubsidized Direct. See the JMU Terms and Conditions for Financial Aid – Consumer Information document in the "Quick Links" section at http://www.jmu.edu/financialaid/​ for a sample calculation.