The Graduate Assistant (GA) fulfills a unique position in the university because he/she is both a student and an employee. Graduate study and effective service as a Graduate Assistant both require extensive commitment. It is for this reason that limits are placed on the amount of effort (academic credits and teaching/research/service hours) to be spent in each role. Graduate Assistants are normally appointment as half-time assistants, but some may be appointed as quarter-time assistants.
Selection of Graduate Assistants
Applicants for GA positions must meet the eligibility requirements of the specific appointment and will not be subjected to unlawful discriminatory treatment. University educational employment policy states that there shall be no discrimination against persons because of race, religion, age, creed, color, sex, disability, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veterans’ status, or political belief or affiliation. North Dakota state law also prohibits discrimination in employment with regards to participation in lawful activity off University property during non-working hours, which is not in direct conflict with the essential business- related interests of the University. Interested students may apply for a GA appointment to the graduate department to which they have been admitted or to service units, which may be related to their major field. Applications have deadlines, so check with your department 2-3 months prior to the beginning of the semester.
Graduate Teaching Assistants are selected by the department in which the student is pursuing his/her major field of study and in which the teaching assistant duties are to be performed. Graduate Research Assistants are selected by the faculty research supervisor with the concurrence of the student’s major department chairperson. Graduate Service Assistants are selected by the administrator of the service unit.
Applications for Graduate Assistantships are accepted throughout the year. Students should contact the department for information. The following general eligibility requirements are applicable to the award of and retention of any Graduate Assistantship at UND:
- Students admitted to the School of Graduate Studies and notified that they have been granted an appointment or award before they have actually received a bachelor's degree may neither register nor hold appointment or award until they have received the bachelor's degree and fulfilled all requirements for admission to the School of Graduate Studies as a degree student.
- Only degree seeking students in Approved and Provisional status may hold awards or appointments.
- Assistantship appointments will not exceed one-half time in all combinations.
- Students must maintain the credit load requirements defined in the appointment letter to retain appointments or awards.
- Students must maintain a 3.00 GPA to retain appointments or awards.
- A student may be removed from an appointment due to unsatisfactory job performance.
- Student sin good academic standing (i.e., a GPA of 3.00 or higher; 2.75 for Master of Engineering candidates) and who are performing their assigned duties satisfactorily are eligible for reappointment.
- Students who withdraw from or are dismissed from the School of Graduate Studies become immediately ineligible for and may not continue to hold an appointment or award.
- International students must meet specified language proficiency requirements to hold an assistantship.
Half-time GTAs will be expected to work up to a maximum of 20 hours per week, dependent upon departmental requirements. Quarter-time GTAs are expected to work up to 10 hours per week. For many GTAs the workload will be relatively uniform throughout the semester, but for others, the load will be uneven due to the nature of the duties.
Graduate assistantship stipends are subject to income tax and tax will be withheld. Tax will not be withheld from scholarships, traineeships, and fellowships, but the stipend may be taxable. Rulings as to the actual taxability of any specific stipend are in the hands of the Internal Revenue Service.
Policy on Outside Employment for Graduate Assistants
The School of Graduate Studies does not encourage outside employment for Graduate Student Assistants. Such employment may limit the ability of the student to make satisfactory progress towards his/her degree. Failure to make satisfactory progress towards their degree can result in coursework becoming obsolete prior to graduation, triggering the need for the additional work of revalidating obsolete coursework. Moreover, failure to make satisfactory progress may also constitute grounds for dismissal.
Graduate assistants are expected to meet the terms of their appointment in areas of teaching, research and/or service. These appointments should not exceed 100%. The Graduate School defines 100% effort for half-time assistants as 50% employment (20 hours per week) and 50% coursework (20 hours per week) or, for quarter-time assistants, as 25% employment (10 hours per week) and 75% coursework (30 hours per week). In unusual circumstances, Graduate Assistants can serve as consultants to projects or activities supported with University administered funds provided all of the following criteria are satisfied: (1) The services of the Graduate Student Consultant are outside of the realm of their Graduate Assistant responsibilities, (2) The services provided are limited in scope and do not involve prolonged teaching or research activities, (3) The combined activities, Assistant + Consulting, cannot exceed 115% effort, (4) The consulting fee is appropriate considering the qualifications of the individual to be utilized, and the nature of the services to be rendered, and (5) the overload must be sanctioned by the Graduate Program Director of the program in which the student is enrolled and approved by the School of Graduate Studies’ Dean. Notice of appointment forms are administered by the School of Graduate Studies.
Appointments of Graduate Assistants
All new graduate student employees are required to complete the E-Verify* procedure prior to beginning work. All GA appointments specify a beginning date and a monthly stipend. The employee must sign the E-Verify form before the appointment effectively begins. Appointments end when the department sends a Job Data Change or Separation form to Human Resources with the “Termination” section filled out. All pay and benefits are terminated as of that date or upon graduation should graduation precede the contract termination date. Reappointment is possible, but not guaranteed, and requires satisfactory job performance and at least a 3.00 grade point average.
All GA appointments are initiated by the department using the: (1) Job Data Hire Form; (2) Position Funding Form. GTA appointments are initiated by the major department chairperson and require the approval of the Dean of the college/school in which the instruction occurs and of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. GRA appointments are initiated by the research supervisor and require the approval of the major department chairperson and the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. GSA appointments are initiated by the service unit administrator and require the approval of the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. All appointments will indicate the person to whom the student is responsible for the performance of the GA duties.
Tuition waivers are awarded by the Department and approved by both the College and the School of Graduate Studies. Students will get a letter by mail informing them of their tuition waiver award.
Formal appointment of all GAs is by virtue of a university contract issued by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. The student must sign to accept their contract. Students must have accepted the appointment in order for the paperwork to be further processed by the School of Graduate Studies and forwarded to Payroll.
- All GTA, GRA and GSA appointment forms must be received by the School of Graduate Studies at least two weeks prior to the start of the appointment to ensure enough processing time. Students may not start their appointments until Human Resources has completed the final approval.
The Job Data Change or Separation form is used to make changes to appointments and must come to the School of Graduate Studies for processing. The School of Graduate Studies will forward this paperwork to the Payroll Office. Terminations are processed through Human Resources.
*E-Verify electronically compares information from new employee I-9 forms with records contained in SSA and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to verify identity and employment eligibility of new employees. Employees may not begin work without a completed I-9 form. See the Payroll website for more information about E-Verify.
Graduate Assistants' Rights and Responsibilities
“All GAs are responsible for abiding by all policies as outlined in the Code of Student Life. Additionally, they are subject to the ethical precepts and code of their academic profession, through the laws of the State of North Dakota regarding its employees, and through the University of North Dakota policies, which govern their institutional obligations. Violation of these constitutes a basis for disciplinary action in accordance with the procedures set forth herein.” (Section 1-9, Code of Student Life - http://und.edu/student-affairs/code-of-student- life/)
GAs are first and foremost graduate students, and must meet the demands of that role. GA appointments may not exceed 20 hours per week.
In their role as teachers, GTAs are members of the academic staff (but not faculty) of the University, and are accorded the rights and responsibilities of academic freedom as set forth in the “Regulations on Academic Freedom, Tenure, and Due Process” (see the ND State Board of Higher Education Policy Manual, section 605.1- http://www.ndus.edu/makers/procedures/sbhe/default.asp?PID=53&SID=7&printable=1
International Student Graduate Assistants
International students whose native language is not English normally will not be appointed as a GA until the completion of one year of graduate study at UND in order to provide the department an opportunity to assess the student’s ability in the use of the English language.
Graduate Teaching Assistants must be proficient English language communicators. Language proficiency will be established on the basis of the Internet Based TOEFL (iBT) by earning a score of at least 26 on the spoken section, or on the basis of the IELTS test by scoring an overall band score of 6.5. Departments may have higher minimum score requirements for awarding an assistantship. The applicant must meet all other admission requirements.
The North Dakota State Board of Higher Education policy requires all international students to purchase the health insurance approved by the institution. International students who are GAs at UND must agree to the deduction of the health insurance premium as a payroll deduction. The policy states that students must carry this insurance from the time of their registration at the institution until termination or completion of their studies.