TARA Information

TARA Policy

Montana Board of Regents Policy 940.31 - Approved November, 2010

"Tuition levels will bear a relationship to the costs incurred by the campus in providing the education to the student.  Tuition levels for resident students will bear a relation to the cost of education and the level of state support.  Campuses have the flexibility to set non-resident tuition at 150% of resident tuition and set non-resident tuition for graduate research and teaching assistants at 100% of resident tuition."

Teaching/Research Assistantship Definitions

Teaching Assistants are those students involved in instruction, usually of undergraduates.  Qualified TAs perform instructional duties in an area of their expertise, most often within their home departments, although qualified TAs may perform outside their departments.  UM faculty members oversee all TA teaching duties.  General TA duties include: actual instruction in a classroom setting, instruction in recitation sections, assisting with laboratory setup, conducting help sessions and holding office hours to advise students on class assignments, grading papers, exams, lab reports and homework. 

Research conducted by Research Assistants is a significant portion of the total sponsored research at UM.  RAs often conduct research in a relevant area of their major course of study under the direction of a faculty member.  The research is usually a component of the faculty advisor's research that is directly supported by external funding.  RAs are generally expected to carry out a specific research project, which often forms the basis for a thesis or dissertation.  RA general duties include: performing experiments, calculations, analyzing results and disseminating knowledge orally or in written publications, reflecting on the state of the field and proposing new research problems, attending conferences to present results and collaborate with other researchers, training and supervision of less experienced research personnel.

Who is eligible for TARA status?

Students who meet the following criteria:

  • Must be on a TA or RA contract or demonstrate that duties are equivalent to a TA or RA.
  • Maintain registration of at least 6 credits (6 credits is part time status, 9 credits is full time status)
    • Enrollment shall be verified after the third week of each semester.
  • Out of state residency status
  • Receive the minimum base as determined by The Graduate School
    • $9000 for Master's students for fall and spring semesters
    • $14800 for Doctoral students for fall and spring semesters
    • $4500 for one semester for Master's students
    • $7400 for one semester for Doctoral students
Note:  Base wages must be paid through UM but can be processed through the following:
  • Teaching and Research Assistant Contracts (UM funded TA contracts come with tuition waivers; RA contracts are variable)
  • Students funded by grants that are not on TA/RA contracts must demonstrate that they meet the job description of a teaching or research assistant.
  • Students with scholarships or fellowships that do not meet the job description of a teaching or research assistant or are not working for their funding may be eligible for the Dean's Merit Award.

Preparing and Routing the TARA Eligibility Form

TARA Eligibility Form (pdf)

  • All requests for TARA tuition assessment classification must be made before the third week of classes.  No TARA status changes will be made after the third week.
  • Department completes top part of TARA eligibility form with student and department information.
  • Complete the eligibility requirements section
    • Look up the student's residency in Banner on the UGASTDN form.  If you do not have access to the UGASTDN form, contact Karen Moore.
  • Complete the funding section by describing the source/sources of funding
  • Attach a copy of all eligibility documentation to the TARA form (i.e. Contract, stipend request form, financial aid scholarship form)
  • If you are using hourly wages to qualify the student, The Graduate School will need a copy of the hiring card plus a memo from the department stating the total weekly hours and wage that will be worked/earned for the semester or semesters that the student is claiming TARA eligibility.
  • Send the completed TARA Eligibility form with attached documentation to The Graduate School. 

Deadlines for submitting TARA Eligibility Form

Fall - August 1st
Spring - January 1st