Information for Graduate Assistants

Graduate Assistantships

An assistantship is awarded to a graduate student who provides teaching (teaching assistantship: TA) or research (research assistantship: RA) support to the University that is a part of his/her academic program. In recognition of this support, the tuition and a portion of health care (but not fees) are provided by the grant/contract funding agency or through the University.

Eligibility Criteria

To be appointed, to retain an appointment, or to be reappointed, a student must hold Regular (not Provisional) status, must maintain a cumulative average of at least B (3.00) in any course work taken, must be eligible to register (i.e., must not have more than three viable grades of Incomplete on his or her academic record), must be enrolled in a graduate degree program scheduled to extend through the entire period of the appointment or reappointment, and must be a full-time student.

Appointment Type and Duration

Effort devoted to the duties of a graduate assistantship typically range between 10 and 20 hours per week (also sometimes called a “half GA” and “full GA” respectively). Appointments ordinarily are made for the nine-month period, August 23 through May 22, but may be of shorter duration for a variety of reasons.

GA Payroll Deduction

Graduate Assistants are eligible to use payroll deduction as a method of paying university charges not covered by their tuition waiver. There is no additional cost for participating in the payroll deduction plan. Instructions on how to enroll in GA Payroll Deduction are available through the Bursar at this page. The deadline to enroll in payroll deduction is the tenth day of the semester.

Payroll, Benefits, and Health Insurance

The Human Resources web site has an extensive compilation of information on graduate assistant medical and dental benefits and policies. Health Insurance benefits can be found here. Information about payroll direct deposit, W-4’s, taxes, and I-9’s can be found on Payroll’s website here.

Students who are employed on-campus must provide a Social Security Number. If the Social Security Number was not provided on the student’s application, the student should take steps to update their record in Student Admin by completing the Biographical Update Request Form and submitting that form, along with a copy of their Social Security card, to the Office of the Registrar. These items can be submitted either in person or via secure fax at 860-486-0272. International students who do not have a Social Security Number at the time of admission or completion of an I-9 must update their Social Security Number in both Student Admin (by following the process detailed above) and in Core-CT. To update their Social Security Number in Core-CT, the GA should submit a copy of their Social Security card to the Payroll Office either in person or via secure fax at 860-486-4296 (Attn: Grad Payroll).

Stipend Rates

Stipend rates for graduate assistants are graduated in terms of progress toward the advanced degree and experience.

  • Level B/I: for graduate assistants with at least the baccalaureate.
  • Level M/II: for experienced graduate assistants in a doctoral program with at least the master’s degree or its equivalent in the field of graduate study. Equivalency consists of thirty graduate level content course credits of appropriate course work beyond the baccalaureate completed at the University of Connecticut, together with admission to a doctoral program.
  • Level P/III: for students with experience as graduate assistants who have at least the master’s degree or its equivalent and who have passed the doctoral general examination.

Registration and Tuition Waivers

Students employed as Graduate Assistants are required to maintain full-time student status (6 or more credits), as noted in their offer letter and The Graduate Catalog. Employment as a GA is a result of student status, therefore GAs are expected to registered for a minimum of six credits before the start date of their employment (August 23 for Fall, January 8 for Spring). GAs who have not completed their registration for a minimum of six credits by their start date are not fulfilling one of the contingencies of employment and will be subject to termination from their assistantship.

As a result of the six credit requirement, GAs may not enroll in either zero credit continuous registration courses or GRAD 5960/6960, which is a three-credit course that cannot be taken in conjunction with other courses. GAs who have made the decision in conjunction with their advisor to enroll in research credits should register for either GRAD 5950 or 6950. Doctoral students should register for GRAD 6950. Plan A Master’s students should register for GRAD 5950. Permission numbers are not needed for students to register for these research courses. If the student attempts to register and receives an error, they should contact the Registrar for assistance.

A graduate assistantship provides the student with a tuition waiver for the duration of the appointment (GAs are still required to pay student fees as the negotiated GA rate). When graduate fee bills are calculated by the Bursar’s Office, the tuition waiver will automatically populate to the GA’s fee bill once two items are in place:  an active payroll authorization in Core-CT and enrollment in at least six credits. GAs who terminate their assistantship without completing all degree requirements within seven calendar days are subject to prorated tuition. GAs who are terminating and completing degree requirements must submit the Request for Alternate Completion Date form to align their GA termination and degree completion dates and avoid prorated tuition.

Supplemental Employment

Graduate Assistants seeking employment beyond their GA appointment must complete the online Supplemental Employment Approval form, which requires their advisor’s approval and is submitted to The Graduate School for final approval.