While GAs are Currently Here
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 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. The online form to request approval can be found here. This form ensures the advisor is aware of the additional employment commitment their advisee is taking on.
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 Dual Employment form and 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."
- 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.
- 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 (see above, "Stipend Rates"). 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.
- 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 Graduate Assistants Pay/Level Change template (UC_TBH_DC_GA_PAY) can be used. (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 did not submit their General Exam Report within 30 days of the exam, or the GA met the milestone during the summer, the increase should go into effect no later than the start of the next semester's appointment. If the GA was appointed for the academic year, the department may process an increase effective the spring semester through the Graduate Assistants Pay/Level Change template (UC_TBH_DC_GA_PAY). If the GA was appointed for the fall semester only or passed their exam during the summer, a separate Graduate Assistants Pay/Level Change transaction is not needed since the templates used to hire, continue, or renew a GA will automatically pull in the updated level eligibility when their payroll authorization to continue their employment is created.
- The Graduate School sends out 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.
- The Graduate School sends out a list during the fall semester 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).
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 page. This 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.