While GAs are Currently Here

Guidance on GA stipend levels, supplemental employment, and types of leave is provided below. These situations can often be complex–The Graduate School is always available to provide additional assistance or analysis if needed.

Special Payroll

Graduate Assistants (GAs) may be appointed to extra-compensatory assignments that occur outside the normal academic year, such as during the summer months or winter or May intersessions. These are separate from Fall or Spring semester appointments and are processed in PageUp to be paid on Special Payroll. Graduate students who are eligible to hold a GA may not be paid on Special Payroll during the academic year, unless the appointment is a GA Overload through Supplemental Employment. Graduate students and Special Payroll has been featured as a Timely Topics session and more resources are available here.

Supplemental Employment

Supplemental employment refers to employment beyond 20 hours per week (100%) for a GA. Supplemental employment requires advance approval and must be obtained before the GA begins work through the online Supplemental Employment Approval Request form. This form ensures the advisor is aware of the additional employment commitment their advisee is taking on and that the appropriate payroll type is used for the additional work.

Can a GA be employed for more than 20 hours per week?

  • Yes, a domestic GA can be employed by UConn for up to 30 hours per week during either the fall or spring semester. Employment beyond 30 hours per week will require a detailed justification from the student’s advisor that describes how the student can make satisfactory academic progress toward their degree given that a 20 hour assistantship plus 6 credits of enrollment already implies 38 hours per week before any supplemental employment has been added.
  • Please note, an international GA on a UConn-sponsored student visa is prohibited from working over 20 hours each week and cannot be approved for supplemental employment. (For more information about holding a GA and CPT concurrently, please see below.)

What is GA overload?

  • GA overload refers to instances where a GA’s current appointment needs to be increased beyond 20 hours per week.
  • GA overloads are paid via Special Payroll using the title “Graduate Overload Teaching or Graduate Overload Research.” A copy of the approved Supplemental Employment Form should be uploaded with the PageUp request for Grad Overload Teaching/Grad Overload Research requests, along with the offer letter template, "GA Overload Confirmation Letter." (A dual employment form is no longer required for a GA Overload.)
  • Special Payroll appointments for GA Overload are required to be teaching or research or other GA work. Graduate students with administrative, maintenance, dining services related work, or other roles should be placed on student labor.
  • Questions regarding the PageUp process for GA Overload appointments should be sent to the Special Payroll team (SPAR@uconn.edu).

Can a GA (or graduate student without a GA) be employed on student labor?

  • Administrative roles should be placed on student labor.
  • Employment on both grad payroll and student labor requires a dual employment form.
  • If you have questions about whether or not a position is student labor or GA work, please reach out to The Graduate School for assistance.
    • When requesting review of a potential position, please include the following information: a description of the work to be performed; whether it requires grad-level expertise or could potentially be performed by an undergraduate; the number of hours per week; the number of weeks of the appointment; the effective dates of the appointment and, if you have identified the student already, their name and student ID number.

When is a Supplemental Employment Approval form needed?

  • When a domestic GA will be employed by UConn more than 20 hours per week during either the fall or spring semester.
  • When an international GA on a UConn-sponsored student visa who is currently employed at less than 20 hours per week will be employed by UConn in an additional student labor position that will bring their total hours per week to no more than 20 during the academic semester.
  • When a student wishes to hold both an internship or CPT (Curricular Practical Training) and a graduate assistantship concurrently.
  • Requests are for a maximum of one semester. For requests that span more than one semester, a separate request should be submitted for each one.

When it is NOT necessary to complete a Supplemental Employment Approval form?

  • If a GA who is currently employed at less than 20 hours per week is being increased to no more than 20 hours per week (e.g., if a GA is employed at 15 hours per week (75%) and is being increased to 20 hours per week (100%)). This can be done through Core-CT and is not considered supplemental employment because it does not exceed 20 hours (100%). It is possible for a GA overload to be employment with a department other than the department from which the GA appointment originates.
  • During summer and winter breaks. When classes are not in session, both domestic and international students may devote their full-time (40 hr/wk) efforts to employment.

Is a Supplemental Employment Approval form required for employment outside of the university?

  • No, however, per The Graduate Catalog, GAs divide their full-time efforts between study and assistantship responsibilities, and as a result, they may not hold concurrent employment outside the University without the written consent of their major advisor. While submission of a Supplemental Employment Approval form is not required in this case, the form can be used to obtain and document approval from the advisor to hold concurrent employment.

Stipend Level Increases

A Graduate Assistant in a doctoral program may be eligible for a stipend level increase when they meet certain academic milestones. Stipend level increases are not automatic; the department payroll processor must submit a new payroll transaction to increase the GA's stipend level after the milestone has been met and is reflected on the GA's academic record.

Stipend rates for graduate assistants are graduated in terms of progress toward the advanced degree and experience. Stipend rates and payroll processing deadlines can be found on the Payroll website.

  • Level B/I: for graduate assistants with at least the baccalaureate. Students active solely in a master's program are paid at Level B/I.
  • 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 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree, together with admission to a doctoral program.
  • Level P/III: for students who have passed the doctoral general examination.

Per Article 21, Section 5 of the Graduate Assistant (GEU) Contract: “A GA shall be appointed to the highest stipend level for which he or she is eligible based on degree standing at the start of the individual’s appointment as a GA...If a GA becomes eligible for a higher level during an appointment, the higher stipend level shall become effective no later than the start of the next semester.”

If the department typically processes mid-appointment increases, the GA Mid-Appointment FTE or Stipend Level Change Template can be used to notify the GA of the increase, and a Graduate Assistants Pay/Level Change template (UC_TBH_DC_GA_PAY) can be submitted in SmartHR. (This template should not be used during the hiring or renewal process for GAs.)

If the department does not typically process mid-appointment increases, the GA must be increased no later than the start date of their next academic semester appointment. If the GA was appointed for the academic year and passed their exam during the fall, the department must process an increase effective the start date of the spring appointment period by issuing a GA Mid-Appointment FTE or Stipend Level Change Template to notify the GA of the increase and submitting a Graduate Assistants Pay/Level Change template (UC_TBH_DC_GA_PAY) in SmartHR.

To help you identify GAs who may need a level adjustment, The Graduate School provides the following support:

  • Monthly notifications to the academic home departments of GAs who recently submitted a passing Report on the General Examination for the Doctoral Degree so the department payroll processor may take action if needed.
  • During the fall semester, a list of GAs in doctoral programs currently being paid at Level 1 who are anticipated to be eligible for an increase to Level 2 for the spring semester. To achieve Level 2 as anticipated, the GA must have passing grades submitted for all enrolled courses. The GA's actual eligibility will feed over to Core-CT after the fall semester's grades have been submitted and a pay level increase transaction can be submitted in Core-CT after that happens (estimated around late December).
  • Please don't hesitate to reach out to The Graduate School with any questions about GA levels.

FTE Changes

If a FTE change will occur mid-appointment, the GA Mid-Appointment FTE or Stipend Level Change Template should be used. If the FTE change will cover the full contract period originally offered, the GA Offer Letter Template may be used instead.

Please note, an FTE reduction must be voluntarily requested by the GA, requires documentation, and should not be retroactive. If you have concerns about a GA’s FTE, please consult Employee Relations before implementing any reduction in a GA’s appointment.

GA Leave, Academic Leave, and Other Resources

Graduate students may need to step away from their academic studies or GA employment at some point during their graduate career. Detailed information on both GA leave and academic leave can be found on The Graduate School's Voluntary Separations pageThis topic was also featured in our Timely Topics series. Slides and a recording of the session, "GA Leave, Academic Leave, or Time Off?", are available on the Timely Topics page.

Since GAs are both employees and students, they have access to a variety of resources should they find themselves in need of support. The Graduate School has compiled a list of Resources and Referrals for GAs that supervisors may find helpful when supporting their GAs.

Support for GA Supervisors

The Graduate School has hosted several Timely Topics sessions that focus on graduate assistantships. The topic areas have included supervising GAs, hiring GAs on special payroll, updates to the Graduate Employee Union (GEU) contract, international TAs, and GA leave and time off, among others. You can find materials and recordings from previous sessions and a schedule of upcoming sessions on our Timely Topics webpage. 

Since GAs are both employees and students, they have access to a variety of resources should they find themselves in need of support. The Graduate School has compiled a list of Resources and Referrals for GAs that supervisors may find helpful when supporting their GAs. The Graduate School's Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Affairs team is available to support and advise both graduate students and faculty. 

The Office of Employee Relations is available to help GA supervisors navigate employee performance issues.