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GA Checklist & Information

The GA Checklist will help graduate assistants complete all required and optional actions upon receiving the GA appointment. The GA Information section below provides important information regarding appointment period, FTE, stipend payments, taxes, etc.

After you Receive a Graduate Assistantship:

The NextGen Appointment System is a paperless GA Hiring System for Graduate Appointments. The NextGen system will create an electronic Terms and Conditions (T&C) letter that will route to the student for electronic signatures. The student will receive a notification email to accept the GA T&C electronically.

The university is required by federal law to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals hired for employment in United States. The law requires completion of Section 1 of the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification on or before the first day of employment, and Section 2 of the Form I-9 within 3 days after the hire date. Completion of Section 2 will require the presentation of original documents by the employee to an authorized HR representative proving identity and legal authorization to work in the United States.

All university employees, including graduate students are required to enroll in direct deposit to receive their salary. To enroll in Direct Deposit or to make changes to your current banking information, refer to the Direct Deposit Instructions.

Graduate Assistants have the option to enroll in payroll deduction to pay their student fees. Payroll deduction option is not available to students supported on Fellowships. Students can pay the student fees over six pay periods. Students can sign up for Payroll Deduction from their account in MyPack portal. Click here for further information and instructions (PDF). The Graduate Stipend Estimated Payments Calculator can assist GA’s to determine their net stipend if they choose to enroll in the payroll deduction option for fees.

New TA’s are strongly recommended to attend the “New Teaching Assistantship Workshop” offered by the Graduate School. More information and a recording of the previous workshop can be found on the website.

Domestic Out of State Graduate Students

Upon admission to NCSU, domestic Out of State students who are eligible to convert their residency to instate are expected to begin the process of completing residentiary acts as soon as they arrive on campus. Students in this group are expected to complete a residency reclassification application prior to the posted deadline for their one-year anniversary academic term. It is expected that qualifying students will receive a favorable reclassification decision.
Refer to the Graduate School Residency website for additional information.

International Students

All international students and scholars in F-1 or J-1 status and currently employed by NC State are required to apply for an SSN. Students cannot work in the US and receive payment without an SSN. International students who hold a fellowship are not required to have an SSN to receive their award but may have to meet with the International Tax Office to determine their tax liability. Refer to OIS’s SSN Resource Page for additional information.

International graduate students who are appointed on a graduate assistantship must meet with the International Compensation and Taxation workgroup 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.

All international graduate students for whom English is a second language who are appointed as GTA may be required to take The Speaking Proficiency English Assessment Kit (SPEAK) test based upon their TOEFL, iBT, IELTS, or Duolingo score results. The purpose of the test is to determine if you can speak English well enough to have either full or limited teaching responsibilities as a GTA. The test is administered on campus the week before classes start and score results are emailed within 48 hours. If you do not pass the test, it is recommended that you take 1-2 semesters of English instruction. Your academic program will let you know whether you need to take the SPEAK test and help guide you through the entire process.
Please contact the Graduate Services Coordinator/Director of Graduate Programs for your respective academic program or the University SPEAK Test Administrator if you have any questions.

Graduate Assistantship Information:

Appointment and FTE
Graduate Assistant Appointment Periods:
GA appointments are typically related to the academic semester of enrollment as follows
– Fall: August 16 – December 31
– Spring: January 1 – May 15
– Summer: May 16 – August 15
Your hiring department/unit sets the actual conditions of the assistantship.
Maximum FTE (Full-Time Equivalent) Requirements for Graduate Assistants
U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents: Allowed to work up to 29 hours per week, 0.725 FTE, for all combined on-campus appointments. If your appointment(s) meet or exceed 30 hours per week, you can lose your Social Security (FICA/Medicare) tax exemption per federal guidelines.
International (F-1 and J-1 visa holders): are limited to working 20 hours per week, 0.50 FTE, for all combined on-campus appointments. Working more than 20 hours per week can jeopardize your immigration status. (Summer) International graduate students can work more than 20 hours per week during the summer months if they are not enrolled. If enrolled, however, you are limited to working 20 hours per week and summer is treated as a regular fall/spring term.
Payroll & Taxes
Stipend Payment Schedule:
Graduate assistants are paid bi-weekly every other Friday. Refer to the 2023-2024 Bi-Weekly Payroll Calendar. Your hiring department/unit must meet the deadlines set by Human Resources in the processing of your GA appointment within NextGen. Delays may occur in the issuance of your first paycheck as well as enrollment in the health insurance plan if these deadlines are not met.
Graduate assistant stipends are subject to income taxes with few exceptions. Applicable taxes are withheld from GA stipends at the time of disbursement. The amount of federal and state tax withholdings is based on the information you provide on the W-4 and NC-4 withholding form.
However, GA stipends are not subject to Social Security (FICA/Medicare) taxes as long as the appointment does not meet or exceed 30 hours per week and be enrolled at least half-time.
University employees cannot provide professional tax advice. Graduate students should review available tax documents and make their own decisions on reporting income and filing any required tax funds.
Other – Employment Verification
Employment Verification:
Current or previous Graduate Students requiring employment verification must contact the Graduate School at Alternately, a fax request can be sent at 919-515-2873 accompanied with a signed release.

For general questions related to the graduate assistantship process, please contact the NC State Graduate School at