I am writing with guidance about graduate assistants working while outside the U.S.
GAs provide vital teaching and research service to the University, and some of this work might be possible remotely. GAs who are here in the U.S. are able to work remotely, provided they have supervisor approval and that the responsibilities of the position can be completed from the remote location. Last year, the University made a one-time exception to allow a limited number of GAs to work from outside the U.S. during 2020/2021 because of the exceptional hardship associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. I anticipate that the University will require all GAs to be in the United States to hold an appointment in Fall 2021 and beyond.
The employment, labor, and tax obligations to which GAs are subject when outside of the U.S. are those of the country from which they are working, even if they are working on behalf of an employer like UConn that is located in the U.S. In some cases, accepting a paycheck from UConn could expose an individual to personal liability and potentially significant consequences in the country where they reside. As a result, the University has determined that graduate students must be here in the U.S. in order to work as a GA and are expected to remain in the U.S. for the duration of their appointment. (Please remember that GAs have a right to 10 days off for a 1-semester appointment or 20 days off for an academic year appointment. With the approval of their GA supervisor, a GA could leave the country before the end of their Fall appointment and return after the beginning of their Spring appointment, treating the days outside the U.S. as time off.)
Incoming graduate students to whom departments offered a graduate assistantship in Fall 2021 and who are unlikely to be able to arrive by the start date of their appointment are strongly encouraged to defer admission to a later date or to take advantage of the tuition remission option described below. Students may request a deferral through the Accounts & Forms area of their Application Status page. The request will then be routed to the program for review and approval. Please consult The Graduate School (email@example.com) with any questions regarding the deferral process.
The University will allow any graduate students that would be graduate assistants in Fall 2021 and are unable to arrive in the U.S. to enroll in courses without a tuition charge. Students who received tuition remission last year will be eligible for tuition remission again. Departments who want to offer this option must make it available to all GAs who would have held an assistantship in Fall 2021 and are unable to come to the U.S., and they should provide The Graduate School with a list of those students (name and 7-digit Student ID) and a copy of the student’s GA offer letter at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 15th. Students receiving tuition remission are still personally responsible for remitting their student fees according to the deadlines published by the Office of the Bursar.
If you have any questions, please send them to email@example.com, and we will respond as quickly as possible.
Kent E. Holsinger
Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor
Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of The Graduate School