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Graduate Assistantship Appointment Details

Qualifying Graduate Assistantship Appointment Criteria

In order to be a Qualifying Graduate Assistant (QGA) and eligible for QGA benefits, students must: 

  • Be admitted to a graduate degree program
  • Hold a .50 FTE graduate assistant appointment through an academic unit for a full semester (from the first day of class to the last day of final exams)
  • Be enrolled in 5 hours during each semester of the appointment (Fall and Spring)

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Required Trainings for Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs)

All new GTAs must attend a mandatory Teaching Assistant Orientation (TAO) through the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). 

All new international graduate students in their first year as teaching assistants are required to attend Development for International Teaching Assistants (DITA) through the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE). 

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Student Health Insurance for QGAs

Qualifying graduate assistants are also eligible for a student health insurance waiver. To participate in the health insurance plan, students must enroll by certain deadlines. For more information, contact the Student Health Insurance Office at 405-325-9196 or directly enroll at the Student Health Insurance Office Web site.

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Appointments Over .50 FTE

To work more than .50 FTE, graduate research and teaching assistants must have prior approval of the Graduate College.

How to Request to Appoint a Graduate Assistant Over .50 FTE

  • Complete out the Request to Appoint a Graduate Assistant over .50 FTE (pdf) form with the signature of the advisor, graduate liaison, or chair of the student's academic department
  • Requests should be directed to Suzanne Peters, Assistant to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. If there are questions, please contact Suzanne at (405) 325-1838 or at smpeters@ou.edu
  • Students and departments will be notified of the determination by the Graduate College via email.

Responsibility of the Graduate Student to Submit the Request to Appoint a Graduate Assistant Over .50 FTE

  • Since graduate assistants appointed over .50 FTE often hold a combination of appointments in various departments, it is the responsibility of the Graduate Student to submit the Request to Appoint a Graduate Assistant Over .50 FTE form to the Graduate College for approval prior to the start of the semester.
  • Approvals are granted for one term, so this request process must be completed prior to the start of each semester a graduate assistantship total FTE exceeds .50. 

Eligibility

  • Graduate students may not be appointed over .70 FTE at any time
  • Students must be in good academic standing
  • The assistantship(s) must be relevant to the student’s program of study
  • The assistantship(s) must not impede the student’s progress towards the degree
  • Students are generally not approved to work over .50 FTE during the first semester of graduate level coursework
  • International students on a student visa are not eligible to exceed .50 FTE during the fall and spring semesters 
  • International students on a student visa are eligible to exceed .50 during summer, Winter Session, and Spring Session
  • Requests are not required for summer appointments which will exceed .50 FTE

Tracking Compliance of Graduate Assistantships Exceeding .50 FTE

  • Two weeks into the start of each semester, Employee Services will generate a report of all graduate assistants who are appointed over .50 FTE. Students with appointments exceeding .50 FTE which were not approved by the Graduate College will be notified that a request to the Graduate College is required. Students will then be given one week to submit the Request to Appoint a Graduate Assistant Over .50 FTE form to the Graduate College for review. 

Supplemental Pay

  • Departments may not effectively increase a graduate assistant’s FTE via supplemental pay.
  • The Graduate College does not review supplemental pay requests. However, Human Resources will verify that a graduate assistant's composite appointment (FTE and any supplemental pay) does not exceed 28 hours per week.

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Payroll Information for Graduate Assistants

Graduate Assistants who will be reappointed for Fall 2019 need to complete payroll paperwork, including a new I-9 and Loyalty Oath, in early August if they were terminated by their department for the summer.   In order to be paid on the August Monthly payroll, the necessary paperwork must be in Payroll no later than August 9, 2019.  This means your reappointment paperwork, new I-9 and Loyalty Oath must be completed and in Payroll and Employee Services, NEL 244 by that date.

Graduate Assistants who are placed on Leave of Absence Without Pay for the summer and return to their GTA or GRA position in the Fall will not be required to complete a new I-9 or Loyalty Oath.  The department must provide Payroll and Employee Services with a Personnel Action Form returning the GTA or GRA from the Leave of Absence Without Pay.

To be eligible for the Student FICA (Social Security & Medicare) Exemption students must be enrolled at least half time by August 5th for Fall Semester, January 5th for Spring Semester or June 5th for Summer Semester.  FICA taxes will not be refunded to student employees who fail to be enrolled in the appropriate number of class hours by the aforementioned deadlines.

Note: Courses through OU North America & Europe (Advanced Programs) and/or the Center for Independent and Distance Learning (whether online or in-person) are not eligible credit hours for exemption from FICA.

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