Graduate Assistantships

A. Graduate Assistantships Explained

B. Limitations to Graduate Assistantships

C. International Graduate Assistants

D. Processing Graduate Assistantships in the HR System

E. Miscellaneous

A. Graduate Assistantships Explained
Graduate assistantships are unlike any other student employment on campus. They provide graduate students with the opportunity to focus their work on their education, furthering both the student's degree and the mission of their academic department.

  • Definitions and Job Codes
    Below are brief definitions, job codes, and required dates of employment for graduate assistantships. More detailed information regarding definitions and responsibilities may be found in the Graduate Administrative Handbook, Section 4.1.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants: Graduate Teaching Assistants are appointed in an academic department or program and (a) directly participates in the teaching mission of the unit as instructor of record, lab instructor, recitation leader, lab or lecture assistant, or who has responsibilities in direct support of classroom instruction in the unit, such as setting up labs or working in an instructional computer lab; or (b) provides general support to the teaching mission of the department or program.
  • Job Code: A138, A178, A438, A478
    Employee Class: GRD
    Department ID: From 11#### - 20####
    Dates of Employment: Fall semester (8/16/20XX - 12/31/20XX), Spring semester (1/1/20XX - 5/15/20XX), or Fall and Spring semesters (8/16/20XX - 5/15/20XX); the use of the Graduate Teaching Assistant job code is not allowed outside of the academic year.
  • Graduate Research Assistants: Graduate Research Assistants are appointed in an academic department or program and (a) directly participates in the research mission of the unit, or an on-campus or off-campus organization that is affiliated with the unit, in the design of experiments, data collection, analysis, or reporting of research results in the student's field of study, where research may, but is not required to, contribute directly to the student's thesis or dissertation; or (b) provides general support to the research mission of the department or program.
  • Job Code: A148, A178, A448, A478
    Employee Class: GRD
    Department ID: From 11#### - 20####
    Dates of Employment: May begin or end at any time during the semester; however, we highly encourage departments to use semester dates instead of the dates on which classes begin and end.
  • Graduate Extension Assistants: Graduate Extension Assistants are appointed in an academic department or program and (a) directly participates in the extension, outreach and engagement mission of the unit, or an on-campus or off-campus organization that is affiliated with the unit, in the design of projects, data collection, analysis, application, or reporting of results in the student's field of study, where these activities may, but are not required to, contribute directly to the student's thesis or dissertation; or (b) supports the extension, outreach and engagement mission of the unit or discipline, including substantive interaction with individuals or groups beyond the university.
  • Job Code: A428, A438, A448, A478
    Employee Class: GRD
    Department ID: From 11#### - 20####
    Dates of Employment: May begin or end at any time during the semester; however, we highly encourage departments to use semester dates instead of the dates on which classes begin and end.
  • Graduate Services Assistants: Graduate Services Assistants are appointed to a position that serves the university outside of an academic department or program's teaching or research mission.
  • Job Code: A198
    Employee Class: GRD
    Department ID: Unrestricted
    Dates of Employment: May begin or end at any time during the semester; however, we highly encourage departments to use semester dates instead of the dates on which classes begin and end.
  • Graduate students who are paid on a temporary/hourly basis may not use the titles provided above. Temporary appointees may be referred to as student workers. Contact your Human Resources Information Management (HRIM) Specialist for more information.
  • Eligibility Requirements
    Eligibility requirements are provided in the Graduate Administrative Handbook, Section 4.1.

B. Limitations to Graduate Assistantships
All graduate assistantship appointments are subject to the following limitations:

  • Minimum and Maximum Salary Requirements
    The minimum hourly wage for a graduate assistant is the minimum wage for North Carolina, currently at $7.25/hour. The maximum hourly wage for a graduate assistant is $34.00/hour.
    Equations for calculating the hourly wage are listed below, sorted by the dollar figure with which you have been provided:
  • - Annualized Rate: annual rate / 52 weeks per year / # hours per week
    - Biweekly Rate: biweekly rate / 2 weeks per biweekly pay period / # hours per week
  • Minimum and Maximum FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) Requirements
    International graduate students who are on F-1 and J-1 visas are limited to 20 hours of service per week. This service limit is for all combined appointments across campus. Working more than 20 hours per week may jeopardize the student's visa status.
  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents are allowed to work up 29 hours per week, or 0.725 FTE, for all combined appointments across campus. If a student's appointment(s) meet or exceed 30 hours per week, the student will lose their FICA tax exemption and become eligible for ACA benefits. In rare cases, departments may wish to appoint a student at or above 30 hours per week, or 0.75 FTE. In such cases, the College Dean or Vice Chancellor must submit an ACA Work Hour Exception form to the Benefits Office and a copy to the Graduate School, prior to the appointment being entered into the HR System.
  • Summer FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) Maximums
    International graduate students can work more than 20 hours, .5 FTE, during the summer unless they are enrolled in a summer session. If they are enrolled then they are limited to 20 hours per week as that session is still considered an academic term.
  • As outlined in the above section, working hours of U.S. students are limited to 29 hours a week without College Dean or Vice Chancellor's approval.
  • Graduation Date
    International graduate students who are graduating must separate from all on-campus employment as of the date of graduation for the respective semester. The only exception to this policy is if the student holds a Graduate Teaching Assistantship during the semester in which they are graduating. In this case, the student's appointment should end as of December 31st for the Fall semester or May 15th for the Spring semester. Graduate Teaching Assistants are expected to have completed all work by the last day of class; therefore, they should not perform any work after the last day of class but are compensated for the entire semester, like all other 9-month appointments.
  • Any F-1 international student who applies for post-completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) through OIS based on thesis/dissertation defense date, and whose I-20 is shortened to reflect that defense date, must end all service and payments for any and all campus appointments effective that defense date; the appointment will have to be shortened to reflect the I-20 end date in order to comply with visa and payment regulations. For more information, please contact OIS.
  • U.S. citizens and permanent residents are allowed to work through December 31st if they are graduating in the Fall semester, and are allowed to work through August 15th if they are graduating in the Spring or Summer semesters.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistants
    The use of the Graduate Teaching Assistant job code is not allowed outside of the academic year (5/16/20XX to 8/15/20XX).

C. International Graduate Assistants
International graduate students who are appointed on a graduate assistantship must meet with the Foreign National Taxation Office to complete a tax assessment. For more information regarding payroll and taxation for foreign nationals, please see the New Foreign National Employment website. Students who are on a J-1 visa must also meet with OIS to gain written employment authorization from their J-1 program sponsor. More information may be found at the OIS On Campus Employment for Current Students website.

D. Processing Graduate Assistantships in the HR System
For detailed information in processing graduate appointments, please refer to the training guide which was used for the HR 9.1 upgrade as it contains helpful screen shots and charts pertaining to graduate appointments. The PDF may be downloaded from the following link: HR 9.1 Training Manual. Please note, this PDF is quite large and may take several minutes to completely download.

  • Hire/Rehire/Additional Job Actions
    Hire, rehire and additional job actions are completed through the Start Employment Tool (in MyPack Portal, the path is Human Resources Systems > VPAF/Start Employment > Start Employment). You will need the following information to process a hire, rehire or additional job action: student ID, Department ID/OUC, dates of employment, student's education information, hours per week to work, annualized salary, supervisor's name or employee ID (you are able to look up the ID in Start Employment), and Project ID(s). Once the action has been entered into the Start Employment Tool, an approver will review the action and necessary documentation (described below) and approve or deny the action as necessary. The approver may be at the department level or at the college level; ultimately, it depends on the individual college administration.
  • If a student has never been employed on campus before, the job will automatically populate as a "hire" action. If the student has held previous employment on campus but is not currently employed, the job will automatically populate as a "rehire" action. If the student is currently employed on campus, the action will likewise populate as an "additional job." In this case, the person entering the action should check with the student and check in Employee View (in MyPack Portal > Human Resources Systems > NCSU Administration > HR Process > Employee View) to determine what other appointment(s) the student may have and whether the graduate appointment's FTE/hours per week and annualized salary need to be adjusted so that the student remains in compliance with the maximum FTE limitations above.
  • Pay Rate Changes
    Pay rate change actions are completed through the VPAF (Virtual Personnel Action Form) Process Tool (in MyPack Portal, the path is Human Resources Systems > VPAF/Start Employment > VPAF Process). There are two different types of pay rate changes: a Graduate Salary Adjustment (i.e., the pay rate and/or the FTE need to be adjusted) and a Graduate Salary and Date Adjustment (i.e., the salary, FTE and dates, or a combination thereof, may need to be adjusted). You will need the following information to process a pay rate change action: student ID, effective date of the pay rate change, end date of the appointment (if changing), hours per week (if changing), and annualized salary.
  • If a department wishes to change the project/funding source for the assistantship only, a Salary Distribution Change (or Salary Redistribution Change) must be completed through Distribution Setup (in MyPack Portal > Human Resources Systems > NCSU Administration > Commitment Accounting > Distribution and Posn Budgets > Distribution Setup).
  • Job Information Changes
    Job information change actions are completed through the VPAF (Virtual Personnel Action Form) Process Tool (in MyPack Portal, the path is Human Resources Systems > VPAF/Start Employment > VPAF Process). This action should be used if you are changing terms of the appointment other than the salary (e.g., end date, supervisor). You will need the following information to process a job information change action: student ID, effective date of the job information change, any information that may be changing other than salary and project/funding source.
  • Separation
    Separation actions are completed through the VPAF (Virtual Personnel Action Form) Process Tool (in MyPack Portal, the path is Human Resources Systems > VPAF/Start Employment > VPAF Process). There are three different types of separation actions: voluntary, end graduate assignment (if the department chooses to end the appointment early as opposed to the student), and death. You will need the following information to process a separation action: student ID, effective date of the separation, reason for separation.

E. Miscellaneous

  • Required Documentation
    Most HR actions will necessitate a new Terms and Conditions. There are three exceptions to this, however: (1) for Graduate Services Assistantships, (2) for pay rate increases only, (3) for separations. These three exceptions may require different documentation. Please consult the Graduate Administrative Handbook, Section 4.2.C for more information.
  • Document Retention Policy for the Hiring Departments
    The Graduate School houses each student's official employment record; therefore, our office should have a copy of the necessary documentation for each employment action on file in our electronic filing system. Departments should follow the same retention policy for graduate appointments as the one set in place by NC State's Human Resources Department for temporary appointments; records should be retained within the hiring department for 5 years after separation.
  • Calculating Annualized & Biweekly Pay Rates
    There are several methods to calculate annualized and biweekly pay rates, depending on what salary figure you are provided with. The following equations show how to calculate the annualized pay rate. They are sorted by the figure with which you have been provided.
  • - Monthly Salary: monthly salary X 12 months
    - Biweekly Salary: biweekly salary X 26 biweekly pay periods
    - Hourly Rate: hourly rate X # hours per week X 52 weeks per year
    - Fixed Rate: if you are provided with a fixed rate, use the Biweekly Calculator
  • The following equations show how to calculate the biweekly pay rate. They are sorted by the figure with which you have been provided.
  • - Annualized Rate: annualized rate / 26 biweekly pay periods
    - Fixed Rate: if you are provided with a fixed rate, use the Biweekly Calculator
  • Graduate Appointments Calendar
    To incorporate the Graduate Appointments Calendar into your Google Calendar, go to the Graduate School Administrators Calendar, click the arrow beside "Agenda" at the top of the calendar and select "Graduate Assistantships & Fellowships Calendar," then click the "+Google Calendar" link at the bottom of the calendar.
  • Another calendar that may be very helpful is the Composite Calendar that our office puts together each year. It only includes dates relevant to graduate assistantships and fellowships.
  • The biweekly payroll calendar, provided through NC State's Human Resources Department, may also be useful.
  • Employment Verification
    For graduate assistants and postdoctoral scholars, refer to the instructions found on the Graduate School Employment Verification website.