Graduate assistants in the department actively appointed as a research assistant (RA) or teaching assistant (TA) at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are assessed fees each term and are eligible for several benefits.  Some of the fees are mandatory, while others are waived. 

The following information is provided as a guide for our M.S. and Ph.D. students appointed to graduate assistantships and are current as of January 2024 for incoming students in Fall 2024 and subject to change. Note that these fees, fee waivers, and benefits are different for online graduate students who are not appointed to assistantships.

Tuition waiver benefit

Graduate assistants (RA/TA) receive a full tuition waiver as part of their compensation.  Typically, the tuition waiver and fee waivers are not taxable.

Health facilities, insurance, and fees

The University provides health services at McKinley Health Center and the Counseling Center. The University also provides dental and voluntary vision coverage for assistants. 

Student Health Insurance Fee

Graduate assistants, dependents, spouses and partners are eligible to participate in the University Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan.

If you have proof of your own health insurance as a domestic graduate assistant, you can waive the Student Health Insurance Fee and be insured by your existing health coverage.  If you cannot, then you are eligible to receive a partial fee waiver for 87% of of the Student Health Insurance Fee for the graduate assistant, and 40% of the Student Health Insurance Fee for one dependent, if elected. The cost of insurance as of Spring 2024 is $1008 for the assistant prior to the fee waiver, leaving a cost of approximately $232 per semester. For more information, see the Student Affairs Web Site for costs for assistants, partners and spouses, and dependents.

Fee waivers and associated benefits

Graduate assistants (RA/TA) receive waivers that completely or partially cover some fees assessed to graduate students every semester. Full waivers are granted for the following fees:

  • Health Service Fee, enabling access to McKinley Health Center and the Counseling Center
  • Academic Facilities Maintainence Fund Assessment (AFMFA) Fee (contributes to deferred maintenance costs on campus buildings)
  • Library/Technology Fee (graduate students have access to all libraries and computer labs)
  • Service Fee (contributes to Campus Recreation and Student Legal Services)
  • Transportation Fee (graduate students have access to the SafeRides program and enhanced late night transportation, and free use of the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District bus network)
Mandatory fees

Other fees that are assessed and are not eligible for waivers and must be paid by the assistant are:

  • General Fee ($305 per semester, supports auxiliary services and other campus costs)
  • Student-Initiated Fees ($73 per semester, covers costs of initiatives created by student government)

More information about fees can be found at the Registrar's Web Site.

Other benefits

Campus recreation

Your Service Fee waiver enables you to access to Campus Recreation facilities, one of the premiere recreation programs in the nation.

Sick, bereavement, family medical, military leave, holidays, vacation 

Graduate assistants (TA/RA) receive paid sick leave (13 days per year), as well as leave for jury duty, funeral leave, and military service. Assistants receive leave for university holidays (12 days per year). For further details and eligibility, see Illinois Human Resources.

Graduate assistants, like faculty, do not receive paid vacation. Students have 1 month of unpaid leave (earned July 16-August 15). Typically this pool of time is available for time off throughout the year, at your supervisor’s discretion.

Parental leave

Eligible assistants are entitled to up to six (6) weeks of paid parental accommodation.

Workers compensation

Graduate assistants (TA/RA) are eligible for Worker's Compensation Insurance if they are injured on the job.

Unpaid leave of absence

An assistant may be granted an unpaid leave of absence during the term of  his/her appointment upon request to and at the sole discretion of the University.

For more information, see the Graduate College Benefits Page.