Hiring Graduate Assistants
Types of Graduate Assistant Appointments
Departments may appoint graduate assistants to one of several appointment types depending upon departmental needs. The various types are described below.
Flexible hourly appointments have no set hours to be worked each pay period. These appointments generally require the use of a timecard and may or may not run the full semester. Examples include paper grading, audiovisual equipment set-up, project/piece work, or other duties with intermittent hours.
Note about Tuition Benefits: A flexible hourly appointment allows a department to provide a tuition benefit at the start of the semester by estimating the number of hours the student will work during the semester. If the student works less than the estimated hours (even by one hour), or does not work the minimum requirement of 98 hours per semester, the student will lose all or a portion of the tuition benefit. The student will be responsible for repaying the unearned portion of tuition benefits received. In addition, the student could lose a non-resident waiver if the student works below the number of hours that the department first estimated. If more hours were worked than originally reported, Graduate Assistant Employment and Services (GAES) will adjust the tuition benefit, if applicable.
A fixed hourly appointment has a set number of hours that are worked each pay period and does not require the use of a timecard. There are two types of fixed hourly appointments:
- Single-semester: A single semester appointment is for one semester only and runs according to the official payroll semester dates. A student must be appointed semester by semester. It may be extended based on the needs of the hiring department, performance, and availability of funds.
- Annual: An annual appointment runs for a 9-month academic or 12-month fiscal year.
A conditional annual appointment is used as an alternative to fixed hourly appointment when a department anticipates that funding will be available for the academic year, but is not certain. This appointment type is contingent upon the availability of funding for the position and may be terminated.
If the department determines there are insufficient funds to continue the appointment, a non-reappointment notice may be given to end the appointment effective the following semester. Should a notice of non-reappointment be necessary, a signed copy of the original Conditional Annual Appointment letter must also be attached.
Teaching assistantship appointments may be dependent upon minimum class enrollment. If minimum enrollment is not met, the appointment may be cancelled.
Graduate Student Recruitment
There are several options in recruiting graduate assistants. They include the following:
- Guaranteed Financial Support
Departments may offer a graduate assistantship as part of the student's admission and acceptance to a graduate degree program. These positions do not require posting by the department.
- Internal Department Posting
Departments and/or colleges may post positions online, on a bulletin board, in a newsletter, via e-mail, or in other media departments use to inform their graduate students of current events and announcements.
Campus-Wide Vacancy Posting
Campus-wide postings are completed online. The following information is required to complete a posting online:
- Classification title and number
- Enrollment and registration requirements
- Duration of appointment - start and end dates
- Percentage of appointment OR average number of hours per week
- Scheduled hours - if student is expected to work set hours
- Hourly salary rate
- Required and desired qualifications
- Description of duties
- Application deadline
Departments may restrict graduate assistant (GA) appointments or give priority in GA appointments to graduate students in their own degree programs. University departments must consider all qualified applicants for posted vacancies.
Upon hiring, the department should provide to the student:
- A letter of offer (template letters are available in the Office of Human Resources Template Letter Library);
- Terms and conditions of employment (included in the template letter) with reference to the language proficiency requirements for teaching assistants;
- Tuition benefits information (included in the template letter); and
- A map to the building where the position is located.
ACES entering data in HRMS must be sure the effective dates for the end/suspend rows are correct.
Budget Guidelines and Pay
- Calculate the estimated costs to your department for Fall and Spring semesters: Budget Guidelines and Estimates (Excel Spreadsheet)
- Calculate the estimated costs to your department for Summer: Budget Guidelines and Estimates for Summer (Excel Spreadsheet)
Note: Graduate students at the University of Minnesota are exempt from FICA withholding on University wages if they meet the enrollment tests described in FICA IRS Student Guidelines and Rules.
Fringe rates for GA appointments are determined on an annual basis. Refer to the Fringe Rates Matrix which is updated yearly.
Medical and Dental Coverage
The Graduate Assistant Health Insurance Plan, through Boynton Health Service, provides medical and dental coverage to eligible GAs working 195 hours during the official semester payroll dates. For information about eligibility or coverage, contact the Graduate Assistant Insurance Office at Boynton Health Service, 612-624-0627 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Graduate assistants are not eligible for unemployment compensation under the provisions of Minnesota statute which specifically excludes registered students.
Graduate assistants are covered by workers compensation provisions of the State of Minnesota.
Graduate assistants on official University of Minnesota business will be provided travel accident insurance.
Americans with Disabilities Act
Graduate assistants may request reasonable accommodations for disabilities through Disability Resource Center.
Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action Statement
The University of Minnesota is committed to the policy that all persons will have equal access to its programs, facilities, and employment without regard to race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, disability, public assistance status, veteran status, or sexual orientation.
In adhering to this policy, the University abides by the Minnesota Human Rights Act, Minnesota Statute Ch. 363; by the Federal Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000e; by the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; by Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; by the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990; by Executive Order 11246, as amended; by 38 U.S.C. 2012, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1972, as amended; and by other applicable statutes and regulations relating to equality of opportunity.
Inquiries regarding compliance may be directed to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action, University of Minnesota, 419 Morrill Hall, 100 Church Street S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455, 612-624-9547.
Employees and their immediate family members (spouse, children, or legal ward living in the household) may qualify for resident tuition on the basis of appointment classification and percentage of appointment. Refer to Appendix: Resident Tuition Rate.