The graduate assistant program is designed to meet several purposes. The student receives support for his or her graduate studies including both tuition waiver and a modest stipend. In addition, the student benefits through a valuable professional experience that supplements and supports the student's program of study. At the same time that the program benefits the graduate student, it also benefits the University. It provides the university with the services of a talented beginning professional. It also provides the University with a mechanism for attracting and retaining highly talented student in its graduate programs.
Graduate assistantships are authorized for the fall, spring, and summer terms by the President of the University on the recommendation of the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Instructional Budget and Planning Committee. All records and files concerning graduate assistantships are the responsibility of the dean of the school or director of the office in which the appointment is made.
Schools and offices with an open Graduate Assistantship position should advertise the position with the Human Resources Services at least a month before the hiring date. The advertisement should list the required skills and duties of the position and have a deadline for application (e.g. August 1st for Fall, November 15th for Spring, and April 15th for the Summer semesters). Human Resources Services will forward the received applications to the assigned supervisors for the assistantships. The supervisors will then interview the applicants and forward their hiring recommendations to their Dean and the Vice President of Academic Affairs.
Graduate assistants' responsibilities, in general, will be professional and educational in nature, designed to be of educational benefit to the students. Graduate assistant positions should not be designed primarily as clerical/non-professional positions. An office or program that uses the services of a graduate assistant must have a position description, identifying the major responsibilities and duties, and demonstrating the educational benefits for the graduate assistant.
There are three types of graduate assistantships depending on the assigned duties:
Instructional Graduate Assistantships: These graduate assistants may be assigned a wide variety of professional duties assisting instruction. The graduate assistants are not given primary responsibilities for the classroom as an instructor of record. Examples of duties that may be assigned include:
Research Graduate Assistantships: These graduate assistants are assigned to work on various research, scholarly, and professional projects directed by the faculty.
General Graduate Assistantships: The assigned duties for these graduate assistants consist of a wide range of professional duties, depending on the student's interests and expertise, and the needs of the University. Positions may be assigned to any office or program of the University that provides an appropriate experience for a graduate assistant. For example, such duties might include:
To be eligible for a graduate assistantship, or for the renewal of a graduate assistantship, a student must:
Other eligibility requirements may apply depending on the nature of the individual graduate assistantship under consideration. No one may hold a graduate assistantship for more than the equivalent of two calendar years.
Graduate assistants are both students and employees of the university and are subject to all official University policies for students and employees. These policies are found in the policies, Regulations, and General Practices, the Catalog, the Student Handbook, and other University documents.
Graduate assistants receive a waiver of tuition and a stipend, but not a waiver of supplementary fees. Typically, tuition for nine credits per semester, or the equivalent, are remitted; however, selected programs may deviate from this standard with approval of the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Stipends are payable in equal monthly installments as specified in the appointment letter. Pursuant to Section 117© of the Internal Revenue Code, stipends received for performance of services required as a condition of receiving a tuition scholarship are included in the recipient's gross income. Such stipends are subject to federal and state income tax withholding, but are not subject to social security tax. Prior to receiving payment of a stipend, withholding allowance forms must be completed and returned to the Payroll Office. Stipends are reported on Form W-2.
Graduate assistants are required to work as assigned for a maximum twenty hours each week. Individual work schedules are arranged by supervisors and may vary depending on the type and extent of the assignment. These schedules should not be in conflict with required classes. The work period begins one week prior to the first scheduled class of the semester (or summer term) and ends one week following the last scheduled class. Graduate assistants are not assigned to work on holidays when University offices are closed. Individual work assignments are defined by the graduate assistant's supervisor.
Each graduate assistant has a supervisor assigned by the dean of the school or director of the office in which the appointment is made. This supervisor is responsible for evaluating the work of each graduate assistant each semester and is responsible for reporting the outcome of that evaluation to the graduate assistant as well as to the dean or director. Renewal of the assistantship depends on a satisfactory evaluation. If the graduate assistantís supervisor is not a faculty member, a faculty member should be assigned by the dean or VPAA to supervise and evaluate the educational component of the graduate assistantship.