The Graduate School offers graduate programs these assistantships to help provide financial support for students who have been accepted into a master’s or a doctoral degree program and whose enrollment will enhance the educational diversity of the student body of the program into which they are admitted. Criteria for awarding the assistantships include students’ personal history, experience, leadership potential, and research goals, as well as their demonstrated promotion of understanding among persons of different background and ideas, and their demonstrated academic achievement by overcoming barriers such as economic, social, or educational disadvantage. In particular, the Graduate School’s AAGA recruitment program is designed to assist graduate programs in attracting students who traditionally have not participated in the University’s graduate programs. Programs are encouraged to nominate undergraduates who have participated in program like McNair and SROP and students who have attended an undergraduate institution such as a small liberal arts college or a HBCU or HSI.
Units should offer AAGA’s to admitted applicants whom they expect to receive offers of financial assistance from other universities or who have externally funded fellowships. In accordance with state law, the selection process “shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin”.
Candidates who are offered an AAGA on socioeconomic grounds should be members of the first generation in their family to obtain a Bachelor’s degree and have participated in a TRIO Program (Upward Bound, Talent Search, Educational Opportunities Centers, Student Support Services) or have similarly compelling backgrounds.
Only U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents are eligible for an AAGA. All candidates for an AAGA must be accepted into a graduate program when offered the award.
Funds are provided directly to the colleges to offer these assistantships as part of the overall financial aid package needed to attract these students to Michigan State and as an overall part of the total graduate assistant budget available in the college for general support of all graduate students. The Graduate School provides the first year (two semesters) of funding and the department/college is obligated to provide additional years of funding, as long as the student is making satisfactory academic progress toward the degree, for the duration of the student's program.
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