2.20 Graduate Assistants
2.21 Length of Appointment
Normally, graduate assistants receive appointments for two semesters beginning in the Fall. If funds are available, a program may issue a contract to the student for the Summer Term at the same per-term stipend as was received during the previous academic year. Graduate assistantship support may be provided for up to a maximum of two years for master degree candidates. The program sets time limits for doctoral candidates. To receive continued support, assistants and scholars must perform satisfactorily in both degree requirements and their assistantship duties. Satisfactory progress toward a degree means meeting minimum registration requirements, maintaining a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0, and fulfilling other academic requirements as determined by the program. Failure to meet these standards, or failure to perform satisfactorily as an assistant, will be grounds for cancellation of the assistantship agreement or scholarship appointment.
Continued support of a master’s level student as a graduate assistant beyond the normal two-year period requires special approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.
The stipends noted below are the minimum amounts for an academic year (8 month) appointment for graduate assistants. Higher stipend levels can be granted in each category with the approval of the appropriate college/school dean. Funds for all stipends will be contained within the sponsoring college/school budget or an externally funded account.
The stipend is subject to all appropriate withholding taxes.
2.23 Tuition Remission
Students under an assistantship agreement are eligible to be awarded a tuition remission for all instructional fees (not including laboratory or other program fees). Tuition will be applied electronically once the student is registered for the appropriate number of hours.
Tuition remissions are not authorized for audited courses. Tuition remissions are not authorized for undergraduate courses unless the courses are recommended by the graduate program and are directly germane to the assistants' courses of study. Funds for all tuition remissions, including summer term tuition remissions, will be contained within the sponsoring college/school budget or an externally or separately funded account. Students who had assistantship agreements for the preceding academic year (Fall through Spring) may be authorized, contingent upon availability of funds, a Summer Term tuition remission with no service required during the Summer Term. Students who have completed their graduate degree program of study are not authorized a Summer Term tuition remission.
Graduate assistants not completing the terms of their assistantship agreements in a given academic term may be required to reimburse the university for part or all of the tuition that was remitted. In addition, a graduate assistant dropping a course(s) after the refund date, without permission of the department/program and the Graduate School, is subject to reimbursing the University for the fees that were remitted for the dropped course(s).
2.24 Minimum Credit Hour and Work Hour Requirements
Graduate assistants, teaching assistants, and research assistants must carry a minimum of six semester hours of graduate credit per term, and students on Graduate Council Scholarships must carry a minimum of eight graduate semester hours. These hours must consist of courses listed on the student’s program of study. However, individual departments and/or programs may establish a higher minimum. Colleges/school offering scholarships may also establish a higher minimum registration requirement. Assistants may not drop below the six graduate credit hour minimum. Such an action is grounds for termination of the assistantship.
Full-time assistants normally devote a minimum of 20 hours per week to assistantship assignments (for the purpose of this manual twenty hours per week is considered a full-time appointment). Academic units should specify any other conditions (working hours, etc.). This includes off time between academic semesters, specific duties, and proper faculty supervision. Such conditions should be stated in writing on the Graduate Student Assistantship Agreement. Scholars may take less than eight hours of graduate credit only in the Summer Term.
2.25 Hour Limit
STUDENTS MAY WORK A MAXIMUM OF 28 HOURS PER WEEK. International students who are graduate assistants are permitted by the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to be employed for only twenty hours per week during a school term.
2.26 Concurrent Appointments
Students may NOT hold concurrent active appointments with the Graduate School and the Office of Student Employment.
Students may have only one assistantship agreement at a time.
No supplemental agreements will be accepted.
Superseding agreements may be submitted at any time during the semester.
2.27 Oral Proficiency Test
All graduate assistants who have teaching responsibilities (including graduate assistants and graduate research assistants who provide instructional or other direct-contact student services in either the classroom or laboratory) must take and pass a speaking proficiency test before they will be allowed to sign their assistantship agreements. An Ohio Law, passed in 1986, requires all assistants who provide instructional or other direct student services in the classroom or laboratory to be tested for English proficiency prior to assuming their assistantship responsibilities.
The Oral Proficiency Test (OPT) is the test that is used to determine the English proficiency of graduate assistants at Wright State University. A preliminary screening test, based on a portion of the OPT, may be given to students from countries where English is the primary language to determine if those students need to take the entire OPT.
Students who are required to take the entire OPT must score 250 (Category 1) or above in order to be approved for teaching responsibilities. Students scoring 210 to 249 (Category 2) are allowed to teach with supervision by a department advisor and simultaneous enrollment in English 095 “Classroom Communication For the International Teaching Assistant”. Students who receive an unsatisfactory grade in English 095 are required to repeat this class the next term. Students who score below 209 (Category 3) are not qualified to teach and must take (or repeat) English 110 before attempting the OPT again. Students may take the OPT only once each term and at least a five week interval is required between testing dates. Students should contact the Department of English Language and Literature for OPT information and registration. Students will be required to provide positive identification (including a picture I.D.) to register and to take the OPT. If possible, the OPT should be completed no later than the end of the term preceding the assumption of assistantship duties. Results of testing administered between terms or during the term in which teaching duties actually begin, may not be available for the assistantship agreement to be processed in time.
Students and departments should not contact the testing offices for test results. The Graduate School will receive the test results from the English Department and will promptly provide the results to the appropriate academic programs and students.
2.28 Off-Campus Employment
Graduate assistants must abide by the policies of the employing program or department in regard to off-campus employment. Generally, to hold off-campus employment will require written permission from the sponsor of the graduate assistantship.
International students, in addition to the above policy, must gain approval from INS before accepting off-campus employment. Questions concerning off-campus employment should be addressed to the University Center for International Education.
Graduate scholars may hold off-campus employment and do not need permission for the employment from the colleges/school that awarded the scholarships.
2.29 Application Procedures and Procedures for Processing Graduate Assistantship Applications
Application Procedures and Procedures for Processing Graduate Assistantship Applications
Students should contact the program(s) or department(s) in which they would like to receive assistantships to request applications and discuss opportunities. Assistantships are available in a variety of departments, programs, and some administrative offices.
A. Students submit the completed applications to the departments or programs. Students may apply to more than one area by submitting an application to each of the departments, programs, or offices.
B. The department, program, or office reviews the applications to insure that the graduate students are eligible for an assistantship, i.e., regular status as a degree seeking student, grade point average above 3.0, and able to register for eight credit hours applicable to the degree.
C. Department(s), program(s), or office(s) decide which students to employ. When a decision is made, they complete a Graduate Assistantship Agreement form and Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 for each student they wish to employ and send the forms to the appropriate college/dean or designated representative for approval. The agreement and I-9 are then forwarded to the Graduate School for final processing. The Graduate School will be responsible for the other elements required to complete the agreements, i.e., Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms, Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS) forms, satisfactory completion of the OPT, tuition remissions, and input of the appropriate information into the Banner HR/Payroll system.
All assistantship agreements should be forwarded to the Graduate School at least five weeks before the beginning of the semester. It is important to meet this deadline so that all the processing requirements can be completed in time for the assistants to be paid during the first regularly scheduled pay period.
Wright State University has made a commitment to abide by the Council on Graduate Schools' guideline that prospective students be given until April 15 to accept any assistantship offer. Details of the CGS Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants can be found at http://www.cgsnet.org/?tabid=201.
D. The Graduate School reviews the assistantship agreements. For legal reasons, major errors found on assistantship agreements will not be corrected by the Graduate School, but will be referred to the academic unit/department/office that prepared the agreement for correction or revision. Corrected or revised agreements should be signed by the student acknowledging the changes.
2.291 Students’ Responsibilities for Assistantship Processing
A. International students granted a graduate teaching assistantship should contact the Department of English and Literatures to schedule an appointment to take the OPT to demonstrate proficiency in spoken English. This test should be successfully completed prior to an appointment date for assistantship processing. Graduate assistant and graduate research assistant candidates may be asked by their departments to take the OPT if there is any chance they may have limited classroom duties.
B. F-1/J-1 Foreign students seeking Social Security Numbers for on-campus work are required to provide documentation that they have been offered an on-campus job. A letter will be issued by the employing department that provides employment verification. Additionally, a letter will also be provided by the UCIE office that verifies the visa status. The student is required to take these two letters to the Social Security Administration and apply for a Social Security card. Students may work while the Social Security application is being processed. However, they must present the receipt that shows they have applied before beginning any campus employment. The actual card should be received and presented to the Graduate School before the second pay period.
C. Students should contact the Graduate School for an appointment after being notified that the assistantship agreement is ready for final processing. Appointments are made on a first-call, first-served basis. Since there are deadline dates for insuring the timely payment of stipends, students are encouraged to make an appointment as soon as possible after being notified.
D. Students will complete the required tax forms and sign the assistantship agreement. Tuition will be applied electronically for the current semester.
E. Students having a full academic year assistantship agreement (Fall and Spring Semesters) may receive a tuition remission for subsequent terms. The student must be registered for the appropriate number of hours each term before tuition can be applied.
2.292 Employment Eligibility Verification
The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 requires all employers to verify employment eligibility of anyone employed after November 6, 1986. All graduate assistants are required to comply with this law. Prior to the appointment for final processing of the graduate assistantship agreement, students will be required to complete at the department, program or office employing them, an Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 (see Appendix B, page 85 of this manual for a sample of the form) and provide proof of citizenship or legal alien status and eligibility to work in the U.S. This proof must be provided within three business days from the date of employment, or a receipt must be presented within three days showing that an application has been made for the required document(s). The document(s) must then be produced within 90 days of the date on the assistantship agreement. If the required document(s) is (are) not provided within the specified time, the assistantship agreement will automatically be terminated until the required proof is furnished. The proof required for employment eligibility is contained on the sample Form I-9. Please note that if a student cannot provide a document from List A on Form I-9, then a document from both List B and List C must be provided. However, international students with visas must apply for a Work Authorization through the University Center for International Education (UCIE).
2.293 Second Year Assistantships
A. Departments or Colleges desiring to retain a student as a graduate assistant appointee for a second year must send a new assistantship agreement to the Graduate School for that period.
B. If a graduate assistant appointee wishes to be considered for a second year assistantship in another program, he/she must reapply as outlined in Section 2.291.
2.294 Graduate Assistant Evaluation
Departments and/or programs are responsible for evaluating the job performance of all graduate assistants (GAs, GTAs, and GRAs). Faculty supervisors or persons having primary responsibility for the assistants’ work activities should complete the evaluations. The evaluations may be completed each academic term, or upon termination of the assistantship agreements, and should be submitted to the Department Chair/Program Director at the end of the term or upon termination of the assistantship agreements.