III. Financial Aid
All Neuroscience Program graduate students in good standing are fully supported during their tenure at MSU from one or a combination of sources. Stipends for Neuroscience Program graduate students are considered a subsidy for education, not as payment for employment. An effort is made within the Neuroscience Program to provide equal opportunity and to impose equal requirements on all graduate students. All Neuroscience Program graduate students are required to participate in research, academic course work, teaching and outreach as part of their degree requirements. Students are also strongly encouraged to participate in Program activities throughout their graduate training including during Brain Awareness week, Interview Days and the NSP graduate student council.
In general, Neuroscience Program graduate students receive a graduate assistantship stipend from the Neuroscience Program during their first two years or are appointed to a fellowship for two years to the Neuroscience Program Training Grant. In addition, all graduate assistants and fellows receive a full tuition waiver each semester (up to nine credits in Fall and Spring semesters; up to five in summer semester), waiver of matriculation fees, and paid health insurance. The files of exceptional applicants will be forwarded by the Neuroscience Program Director to the Dean of the College of Natural Science as nominees for a College of Natural Science Doctoral Recruiting Fellowship or a University Distinguished Fellowship and University Enrichment Fellowship. Students are also encouraged to apply for extramural funding, including fellowships from the National Institutes of Health and/or National Science Foundation. As of 1987, graduate assistantships are not exempt from U.S. taxation (Tax Reform Act of 1986). Thus, all paperwork required by U.S. law for employment must be completed (including the I-9), State and Federal W-4s, etc.) The stipend checks are disbursed bi-weekly each month. Students must be enrolled for at least 3 credits during every semester in order to receive an assistantship and 1 credit to receive a fellowship. This requirement may be reduced for assistantships to 1 credit after successful completion of the standard and specialized Comprehensive Examinations, but individual circumstances may vary (e.g., requirements of Individual Fellowships). Full time status is defined in section II, Definition of Full-Time Status for Doctoral Students.
Teaching experience is required of all Neuroscience Program graduate students, whether or not they are supported by a Neuroscience Program graduate assistantship or fellowship. Teaching is considered an essential component of the Neuroscience Graduate Student’s educational experience and training, and is an academic requirement for completion of the Ph.D. degree. Graduate students who have assistantships and all other graduate students who are enrolled for three or more credits a semester may use University facilities, may obtain discounts on tickets to sporting and cultural events on campus, and are eligible for Michigan State University housing. This requirement is reduced to 1 credit after successful completion of both components of the Comprehensive Examination.
After the student completes his/her laboratory rotations and decides on a laboratory to pursue his/her doctoral research, the major professor will arrange financial support for the graduate student, which will also include the tuition waiver and health care. For example, the major professor may wish to use funds from his/her research grant to support a Neuroscience Program graduate student or may arrange for internal or external support. In addition, various programs are available within Michigan State University to support or supplement graduate student stipends. For example, teaching assistantships may be recommended after consideration of the program needs and consultation with the student's major professor.
Students who have written their own grant applications and received their own externally funded applications worth at least $20,000 (direct costs) are eligible for in-state tuition rate. The in-state tuition rate applies only to the semesters during which the student is supported by the fellowship. The student must submit in writing a request to the Dean of The Graduate School for the in-state tuition rate to be awarded or approved. For specific questions, contact the Graduate School, Dean's office.
Recent information on scholarships and other financial aid can be obtained in the Office of Financial Aid (252 Student Services Building) and at the Office of Financial Aid website. Graduate students can use the services of the MSU Credit Union to arrange for a loan. COGS, in conjunction with the Financial Aid Office, allows graduate students to receive interest-free loans of $250 for 60 days. ASMSU/COGS loans provide a $60 maximum for up to four weeks. These loans are available to graduate students who have paid their ASMSU or COGS tax. The ASMSU/COGS loan office is located in 307 Student Services Bldg. A valid MSU student identification card and picture identification must be presented. The "Funding Opportunities For Graduate Students" bulletin is published weekly.