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Graduate Assistantships Overview

Graduate Assistantships (GA) are an important source of funding for students to help support their graduate education. GA appointments are awarded by departments and provide paid work experience usually within the student's field of study, furthering both the student’s degree and the mission of their academic department.

Types of Graduate Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantships (TA):
Graduate Teaching Assistants are appointed in an academic department or program and directly participate in the teaching mission of the unit as instructor of record, lab instructor, recitation leader, lab or lecture assistant, or have responsibilities in direct support of classroom instruction in the unit, such as setting up labs or working in an instructional computer lab; or provides general support to the teaching mission of the department or program.
Graduate Research Assistantship (RA):
Graduate Research Assistants are appointed in an academic department or program and directly participate 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 provides general support to the research mission of the department or program.
Graduate Teaching and Research Assistantship (TA/RA):
Graduate Teaching and Research Assistants are appointed in academic departments or programs with a combination of teaching and research responsibilities.
Graduate Services Assistantships (GSA):
Graduate Services Assistants are appointed to a position that serves the university outside of an academic department or program’s teaching or research mission.
Qualifying Graduate TA, RA, and TA/RA appointments are eligible to receive tuition and health insurance benefits through the Graduate Student Support Plan. See GA Benefits Section below. GSA appointments are not eligible for GSSP benefits.

Eligibility

Graduate Students must meet the following eligibility criteria at all times in order to hold a Graduate Assistantship:

  1. Admitted into the Graduate School in full graduate standing.
  2. Enrolled full-time in the fall and spring semesters.
  3. Must be in good academic standing (i.e. 3.000 grade point average or higher).

Refer to The Graduate Administrative Handbook, Section 4.1. for more information.

International Graduate Assistants

International Graduate Assistants must meet the following additional requirements to hold the GA appointment:

  1.  Meet with the Foreign National Taxation Office to complete a tax assessment. Refer to International Compensation and Taxation website to schedule an appointment
  2. Students who are on a J-1 visa must also meet with the Office of International Services (OIS) to gain written employment authorization from their J-1 program sponsor. More information may be found on the OIS On-Campus Employment for Current Students website.

Refer to the OIS Employment website for information regarding on-campus employment for international graduate students.

GA Benefits

Stipend:
Individual graduate programs establish the stipend levels for the GA positions within their program. 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 $60.00/hour.
Graduate Student Support Plan Benefits:
Graduate TA, RA, and TA/RA appointments receiving an annualized stipend of $8,000 are eligible to receive tuition support (for a defined number of semesters) and health insurance benefits through the Graduate Student Support Plan . See GSSP Eligibility for full criteria to receive GSSP benefits.
Paid Parental Leave:
Eligible Graduate students supported on a Graduate Assistantship (i.e. RA, TA, TA/RA) can take up to six-weeks leave of absence from their appointment duties, and continue to receive their stipend as well as GSSP benefits, for the birth or adoption of a child. Refer to Parental Leave for Graduate Students, Section 3.2 for more information. Students should complete Parental Leave Request and Parental Leave Certification forms to request the leave. Forms are available in Word format at the Graduate School Forms library.
University Closings and Holidays
Graduate assistants are not expected to work during official University holidays and closings, and are not expected to make up work hours missed for holidays. Graduate teaching assistants are not normally expected to work when classes are not in session, unless otherwise specified within your T&C contract. More information may be found on the University HR Official Holidays and Closings website.