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Tuition Waivers

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Tuition Waivers for Qualifying Graduate Assistants (QGAs)

Beginning Fall 2010*, qualifying graduate assistants may be eligible for tuition waivers up to the total number of hours remaining toward the degree, provided they meet the eligibility requirements for QGAs. QGAs may receive tuition waivers for courses required for the degree and/or graduate certificate program.   

Tuition waivers do not cover: 

  • University fees
  • Tuition for OU Online (formerly Liberal Studies) courses
  • Tuition for OU North America and Europe (formerly Advanced Programs) courses
  • Tuition for College of Professional and Continuing Studies (formerly OU Outreach) courses
  • Tuition for College of Law courses
  • Audited courses 
  • OU Health Science Center professional degrees

* Information for students appointed to a graduate assistantship prior to Fall 2010 can be found in section of the Graduate College Bulletin.  

More details on tuition waivers and costs not covered can be found in section of the Graduate College Bulletin

Award Process

  • Once a tuition waiver is awarded, the information is sent to Student Financial Services
  • Tuition waivers are factored into a student's overall aid package
  • Student Financial Services will disqualify any over-awarded waivers
  • Student Financial Services sends tuition waiver information to Bursar Services
  • Allowable waivers are posted to the student's bill
  • The student is responsible for any tuition not covered by the waiver
  • It may take a few days to a few weeks for the entire process

5 Things to Know About Your Tuition Waiver

Change in Enrollment

Tuition waivers are calculated on the number of hours in which a student is enrolled at the time the waiver is awarded. If a student's enrollment increases or decreases, the student should email the Graduate College to receive potential tuition waiver adjustments.

Summer Enrollment

Students who held or will hold a qualifying appointment in the preceding spring or following fall semester will be eligible for a waiver in the summer, provided they have not exhausted their maximum allowable waiver.

Final Semester Enrollment

In the final semester, QGAs may enroll in less than five hours. Review the final semester enrollment page for specific requirements.


Tuition: Payment required of an individual for enrollment in courses. This term is not interchangeable with fees.

Resident Tuition: The tuition rate paid by all University of Oklahoma students.

Non-Resident Tuition: The additional tuition paid by all students who are not residents of Oklahoma.

Fees: Charges in addition to tuition which students are assessed as a condition of enrollment. This term is not interchangeable with tuition.

Tuition Waiver: A reduction in a student's tuition bill. State law prohibits the Graduate College from waiving fees.

Common Abbreviations

FTE: Full time equivalent

GA: Graduate assistant

GRA: Graduate research assistant

GTA: Graduate teaching assistant

QGA: Qualifying graduate assistant

Tuition Waiver Limits

What are the tuition waiver limits?

As a graduate assistant, a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) or graduate research assistant (GRA), you may be eligible for a full waiver of the academic credit hours needed to complete your graduate degree.

  • We waive, in any semester, up to the hours required to complete the degree. For example, if a student is in a 30-hour program and has completed 20 hours, they are eligible for up to 10 hours.
  • The total number of hours remaining toward your degree cannot be fully determined until your program of study has been approved by the Graduate College.
  • All credit completed after admission to the graduate degree program will be deducted from the available tuition waiver.
  • Transfer credit applied to the degree will be deducted from the available tuition waiver.
  • Graduate credit for which an unsatisfactory grade such as D, F, or U was received will be deducted from the available tuition waiver in cases where the credit would have been applicable to the degree if a satisfactory grade had been received.
  • It may take up to three weeks for the waiver to appear on your bursar statement. If you do not see the waiver after the 3rd week of the semester, email and include your 9-digit OU student ID number.

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Break in Appointment

What if a student has a break in appointment?

They are eligible for the waiver in the semesters they are appointed (plus summer) as a qualifying GA (.50 FTE assistantship for the full semester).

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Losing a Tuition Waiver

Can a student lose the tuition waiver? 

If a student is placed on academic probation, fails to make satisfactory progress toward their degree, or fails to enroll in the minimum number of required hours, the student will lose the tuition waiver award. Also, if a student fails to have a qualifying graduate assistantship appointment for the entire semester, the student will lose any waiver dependent on that appointment. A graduate research assistant whose appointment is not renewed through the end of the semester will lose tuition waiver for that semester.

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Minimum Salary

What is the minimum salary an academic unit is required to pay a graduate assistant?

Starting July 1, 2014, graduate students with a 0.50 FTE appointment must receive at least $10,372.50 for an academic year appointment (9 months) or $13,830.00 for a calendar year appointment (12 months). Graduate students with a 0.25 FTE appointment must receive at least $5,186.25 for an academic year appointment (9 months) or $6,915.00 for a calendar year appointment (12 months).

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Transfer Hours

How do transfer hours affect waiver limits?

We waive only the hours required at OU to complete the OU degree. Transfer hours reduce the hours required at OU and will reduce the number of hours eligible for waiver. This applies to any hours that reduce the number of OU hours required in the program.

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Not Appointed For the Entire Program

What happens when a student does not have a QGA in year one, but gets one in year two? Can only those hours remaining in their program be waived, or do they get a full allotment of waivers?

In any semester, the waiver is only up to the hours needed to complete the degree. For any degree, the maximum is for the number of hours remaining toward the degree when the student first receives a QGA appointment and a tuition waiver.

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Remaining Waiver Amount

Will students receive warning letters when their waiver eligibility is about to expire?

The Graduate College sends departments a report of each student and their remaining "waiver credit." Students can contact to verify waiver eligibility.

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Running Out of Waivers

What happens if a student has 3 hours of eligible waiver remaining and enrolls in 9 hours while having a GA? Are only 3 hours waived?

Yes, the student is responsible for the remaining 6 hours of tuition.

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Changing Programs

What happens when a student changes from one program to another without finishing the first? How are the waiver hours calculated?

It will be a clean slate, but any hours from the uncompleted degree that apply to the new degree will reduce the limit for the new degree.

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Completing a Master's and Starting a Doctoral Program

What happens when a student completes a master's degree and is admitted to a doctoral program? Is there any “carry-over” in unused waivers?

No, there will be no carry-over (e.g., a student who completed a 30-hour degree but only received 15 hours of waiver does not carry 15 hours over). Each degree is a fresh start.

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Enrollment in a Master's and Doctoral Program

What if the student is in the final semester of their master's degree and simultaneously enrolls in doctoral courses? 

The academic unit should notify the Graduate College. We will handle these situations on a case-by-case basis.

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OU-Tulsa and OU HSC Courses

Are Norman campus students eligible for a tuition waiver for courses taken on the OU-Tulsa campus or at the Health Sciences Center?

Under special circumstances, tuition waivers awarded by the Norman campus Graduate College may be applied toward courses taken on the OU-Tulsa campus or OU HSC. Contact the OU campus where you are employed as a graduate assistant if you have questions about a course's tuition waiver eligibility.

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Tuition Waiver Not Showing Up

My tuition waiver has not been credited to my bill. What should I do?

In order for your award to be applied against your first university bill, your academic unit's request for a tuition waiver must have been received in the Graduate College at least three weeks prior to the start of the term. If the request was received after this date, it will take about a month for your award to be credited to your account.

If your bill is still in error 30 days after you receive your award letter, or if you have any other problems, contact the Graduate College at 325-3811 for assistance.

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Student Loans and Tuition Waivers

My student loans were used to pay my tuition before my waiver was applied. What can I do?

Bursar Services will send you a check for the amount of your waiver(s) once it appears on your bill.

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Final Semester

I'm in my final semester. What are my options?

The Graduate College offers two options for a student’s final semester of their current degree program:

  1. If a student does not need financial aid in the final semester, they may enroll in less than 5 hours. See the Final Semester Enrollment page for details. 
  2. The Graduate College may allow additional hours of tuition waiver to assist the student in meeting the minimum enrollment requirement for financial aid. 
  • Example: If a student has 2 hours of tuition waiver remaining, the Graduate College may add 3 hours of tuition waiver in the student's final semester.
  • If a student needs to enroll in 5 hours to meet financial aid requirements in the current semester, the student should email with their name and student ID, indicating it is their final semester, and that they need to enroll in 5 hours to remain in the full-time student status. The Graduate College will review the request and reply to the student.

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