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Graduate Assistantship Enhancement Program

About the program

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) is pleased to continue the assistantship enhancement program designed to help departments in the college recruit top prospective graduate students into their terminal degree programs. This competitive enhancement will provide an additional $4,000 in compensation each academic year for up to four consecutive years.  The graduate assistantship enhancement will be provided in addition to the funding package offered by each student’s academic program.  


The program is limited to students pursuing terminal degrees in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

In order to be eligible for nomination, a prospective student must first have been accepted by the program they applied to and would be supported by the standard departmental assistantship for all four academic years. Departments/units are encouraged to submit nominees who merit enhancement fellowships based upon both the academic excellence as well as the diversity of backgrounds* they bring to a department's entering graduate student cohort.  Students must be enrolled full-time (minimum 6 hours/semester) to be eligible for the additional compensation. Graduate Directors will verify enrollment each semester and promptly notify the appropriate Associate Dean if a student is no longer in good standing, does not meet the minimum enrollment requirement, or has left the degree program early. 

Students awarded a Presidential Fellowship are not eligible for this college enhancement program. Students awarded substantial funding from an external source may be ineligible for this award (e.g., NSF GRFP). 

*The University of South Carolina is committed to a diverse faculty, staff, and student body. We strive to cultivate an inclusive environment that is open, welcoming, and supportive of individuals of all backgrounds as we recognize that diversity is essential to providing academic excellence and is critical to our sustainability. The University is committed to eliminating barriers created by institutional discrimination through accountability and continuous process improvement and we encourage individual units to use these graduate enhancement awards as an opportunity to recruit students with diverse voices, perspectives, and experiences. 

Nomination Deadlines

There are three independent nomination deadlines selected to help CAS graduate programs recruit top doctoral and MFA students both early and later in the admissions process. Full and fair consideration will be given to each nominee, regardless of nomination period. 

The nomination deadlines for the upcoming admissions cycle are:

  • Monday, January 30, 2023
  • Monday, February 27, 2023
  • Monday, April 3, 2023


Terminal degree-granting units may submit up to three applications in rank order. If no nominees for a unit are selected during the first round, the unit may nominate three prospective students in the second round and so on; any nominee from the first round who was not selected during that round must be re-nominated in the second round and so on for consideration. No unit may receive more than three graduate enhancements per year; depending on available funds, the college will consider additional awards and/or funding that increase diversity in graduate programs. The college encourages the submission of candidates who bring diversity to the graduate student community and/or to your discipline.   The selection committee will only consider nominations submitted by the three formal deadlines rather than on a rolling basis. If a unit nominee accepts another offer or receives a Presidential Fellowship or external fellowship funding at any point in the admissions cycle, the graduate director should promptly notify the appropriate associate dean. If a unit nominee declines the offer prior to submission deadlines, the unit may submit another application for review. 

Application Process

To nominate an admitted applicant, the graduate director must submit the following documents electronically using the online form below: 

  • A maximum one-page letter from the graduate director summarizing the nominee's merits and the total financial support offered to the nominee by the program; this letter should also include the ranking of the nominees if more than one nominee is being put forward. To maintain our commitment to diversification of our graduate programs, it is critical we understand individual unit applicant pools. As such, the letter should provide a demographic breakdown of the graduate student applicant pool (if known), as well as the current graduate students in your unit. Please also provide a list of potential faculty members who could serve as mentors (if known) to the incoming students. 
  • Admitted student’s cover sheet, three letters of recommendation, transcripts, and a personal statement by the student submitted as a single PDF file labeled with the name of both the nominee and the graduate program.  

The online nomination form is available below. Nominations in each round will be reviewed by the associate deans in the college and results will be announced in a timely manner. 

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