Transitioning to a GA/Getting Started
The information below will help you to successfully onboard your new Graduate Assistants (GAs) and make their transition to being a GA as smooth as possible.
GA Onboarding Webpage
In collaboration with Human Resources and other campus partners, a Graduate Assistant Onboarding webpage has been developed to help orient GAs employed at Storrs and regional campuses who fall under the Graduate Employee Union (GEU) and provide them with information, resources, and to-do items specific to their role as a GA that will help them successfully transition into their assistantship. Departments are encouraged to refer GAs to this webpage for useful information throughout their entire time here at UConn.
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 Office of the Bursar. The deadline to enroll in payroll deduction is the tenth day of the semester. Enrollment in a prior semester does not carry over to the next; the GA must enroll each semester.
Health Insurance and Benefits
The Human Resources website has an extensive compilation of information on graduate assistant medical and dental benefits and policies. New GAs will have access to Core-CT after the start date of their appointment to enroll in or waive insurance coverage. Human Resources will email all newly hired GAs with instructions on how to submit elections. New GAs must make a decision within 31 days of the appointment start date. Continuing GAs may make changes during the annual Grad Open Enrollment period. GAs should reach out to email@example.com with any questions.
If a student is transitioning from a graduate assistantship to a prestigious fellowship (or vice versa), the department must notify The Graduate School so their health insurance eligibility can be evaluated and, if eligible, maintained.
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 6 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. If the student attempts to register for GRAD 5950 and receives an error, they should contact firstname.lastname@example.org with a confirmation that they will be completing a Plan A (thesis) master's so that their record can be updated. Permission numbers are not needed for students to register for these research courses in the fall and spring semesters.
A graduate assistantship provides the student with a tuition waiver for the duration of the appointment in the fall and spring semesters. There is no tuition waiver for summer or winter intersession courses. GAs are still required to pay student fees at the negotiated GA rate. When graduate fee bills are calculated by the Office of the Bursar, 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 according to the Partial GA Tuition Waiver Calculator. 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.
GAs who wish to audit courses may do so, however they must also be enrolled in at least six graded credits. The fees for any audited courses in addition to the six graded credits will be included in the GA tuition waiver. The form to audit a course can be found on the Office of the Registrar's website.
Social Security Number Updates
Students who are employed on-campus must provide a Social Security Number (SSN). 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 once they receive their SSN card. To update their Social Security Number in Core-CT, GAs should submit a copy of their Social Security card to the Payroll Office (Upload SSN here). Social Security Numbers should never be emailed.
Mandatory Trainings and Orientations
In addition to the "U Got This! 2" training required for all graduate students, Graduate Assistants must complete some additional employee trainings, including the Employee Safety Training Assessment, Sexual Harassment Prevention, Diversity Awareness, and Annual Compliance trainings. Consistent with Article 13 of the Graduate Employee Union contract, these trainings are considered part of the workload of Graduate Assistants.
Graduate Assistants may be required or invited to attend multiple orientations, including the TA Orientation offered by CETL, the International TA Orientation offered by the International Teaching Assistant Services office, and The Graduate School's online New Graduate Student Orientation.