Graduate Assistantships

Graduate assistantships (GAs) are awarded by various departments or units on campus. On 50% assistantships, students work 20 hours per week (in teaching, research, or other areas) or teach up to two 3 credit hour courses. Students on 25% assistantships will work 10 hours per week.

Base Pay Rates and Benefits

  • Current minimum graduate assistantship base pay rates will be set by the Graduate School at the beginning of each fiscal year.

    50% Graduate Assistantships Minimums

    Degree Monthly (approximate) 9-month 12-month
    Masters $1287.56 $11,588 $15,450
    MFA $1545 $13,905 $18540
    Doctoral $1545 $13,905 $18,540
    Effective July 1, 2022
  • Graduate assistants appointed to at least a 25% position will be classified as in-state students for tuition purposes. Graduate assistants appointed to a least a 50% position will be classified as in-state students for tuition purposes AND will have in-state tuition waived. Miscellaneous fees (course fees, activity fees, college fees, etc.), books, housing and other expenses are the responsibility of the graduate student.
  • Tuition waivers are submitted each semester by the department on behalf of the 50% appointed graduate assistant and cover in-state graduate tuition for up to 15 hours in fall and spring semesters. If the student is appointed as a GA in the summer, the tuition waiver covers up to 6 hours for one five-week session, 9 hours for one ten-week session or two five–week sessions.
  • Financial aid is typically disbursed the week before classes begin. All tuition waivers must be submitted by the department by the fifth day of classes in the spring/fall semesters and by the second day of classes in the summer.
  • Graduate Assistants on a 50% appointment or greater will also have 67% of their student health insurance paid for by the University for those students eligible for health insurance. Students are responsible for the remainder of the premium. Miscellaneous fees and insurance premiums may be payroll-deducted.
    • Once hired into a Graduate Assistantship position, students will see a “to do” item in UA Connect, requiring them to accept or decline the insurance. If a GA accepts the GA health insurance charge, it will post to their student account and the insurance activation process begins. For specific instructions on electing health insurance in UA Connect, please see the Treasurer’s Website. Click on “Student Health Insurance” in the gray box.
    • International students who are on a GA position must also accept the insurance in UA Connect as well. This will apply the GA subsidy to the international student insurance fee.

 

Qualifications

  • To qualify for an assistantship, graduate students must be regularly admitted into the graduate school and accepted into a graduate degree or certificate program.
  • Successful applicants must have good academic records, adequate preparation for graduate study in their major field, and must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 2.85 on all work taken for graduate credit, although some departments may require their graduate assistants to maintain a higher grade point average.
  • Students on a 50% graduate assistantship must enroll in a minimum of 6 graduate hours each Fall/Spring. Students on a 25% graduate assistantships must enroll in a minimum of 9 graduate hours each Fall/Spring.
    • Graduate School approval is required for the tuition waiver to pay undergraduate hours, audited hours, hours outside of the program, and hours above the maximum. Departments have the discretion to limit a waiver to the minimum number of hours required by the assistantship.
  • Graduate Assistantships whose native language is not English and will be interacting with students in a teaching or tutorial role are required to pass English language requirements for both speaking and writing. Current requirements can be found on the Admissions recruiting site.

Graduate Assistant Offer Letter Templates

All offers given to a department/unit on campus to a graduate assistant must utilize the below required template. No offer will be approved in Workday for GA positions starting in January 2023 without utilizing the below letter.

GA Start and End Dates

In order to comply with federal tax law and immigration regulations, the Graduate School will be monitoring the start and termination dates for Graduate Assistants.

Please see the below times when you should start and end the employment of a Graduate Assistant. Allow enough processing time in Workday to allow your Graduate Assistants to begin work by these benchmarks.

Start Date

  • Spring

    A brand new graduate student (never enrolled before) who will hold a GA for the Spring semester should start their appointment the Monday (or the Tuesday if the Monday is a University holiday) before the regular spring session begins.
    • If a student is expected to work during the January intersession, they may begin their GA position as early as the first day of the January intersession.
    • A returning student (someone who has been a student in the previous semester, even if not on a GA or on a GA in another unit) may start their GA on the first day campus opens in January.
  • Summer

    A brand new graduate student (never enrolled before) who will hold a GA for the Summer semester OR a returning student (someone who has been a student in the previous semester, even if not on a GA or on a GA in another unit) may start their GA as early as the first day of May intersession and must work for a minimum of 30 calendar days.
  • Fall

    A brand new graduate student (never enrolled before) who will hold a GA for the Fall semester may start their appointment on the Monday before the regular fall session begins.
    • If a student is expected to work during the August intersession, they may begin their GA position as early as the first day of the August intersession.
      • A returning student (someone who has been a student in the previous semester, even if not on a GA or on a GA in another unit) may start their GA as early as the first day of August intersession.
  • Late Arriving/Late Starting Graduate Assistants
    • A department may be appointed to begin a Graduate Assistantship in the Fall or Spring semester as late as the first day of the second 8-week session. If a student starts by this date, they will be eligible for a full tuition waiver for the semester.

End Date

In general, the “rule of thumb” is that GA=student. When a student graduates, they are no longer a student, therefore they cannot be a GA. If employment of the now alumni continues past the degree conferral date (listed below), they need to be moved to another paid position.

For a Graduating Graduate Assistant

  • If a GA is graduating in Fall, their employment must end on the last day worked but no later than before the University closes for Winter Break.
  • If a GA is graduating in Spring, their employment must end on the last day worked but no later than before the start of May Intersession.
    • If a GA who graduated in Spring 2022 will be teaching in Summer 2022, they cannot be paid as a GA for the summer course. They must be moved to an appointed lecturer position or be paid through unit pay as appropriate in your college.
  • If a GA is graduating in Summer, their employment must end on the last day worked but no later than before the start of August Intersession. This date is for 12-month appointed GAs and 9-month GAs receiving period activity pay for Summer II. If you have a graduating 9-month GA who received period activity pay in Summer I and is not working past Summer I, their employment may be ended earlier.
    • As a reminder, in order to qualify for a summer tuition waiver, a GA must work for at least 30 calendar days in the summer.

If a Graduate Assistant is not graduating and is continuing as a student between semesters, no action needs to be taken. Students who are not graduating can continue to work as a GA, following the normal requirements of enrollment (minimum of 3 hours in summer/6 hours in Fall and Spring).

If the GA is an international student, please encourage them to check with ISS to ensure visa compliance.

Compensation for Additional Employment

  • All international graduate students are prohibited from assuming additional duties/work additional hours beyond those specified in their original offer letters. Any requests for additional work must be pre-approved by the International Student and Scholars Office BEFORE the additional work commences to ensure compliance with US Department of Homeland Security regulations. Failure to do so may result in severe immigration consequences to the student up to and including deportation of the student.
  • Effective May 1, 2022, graduate students may be paid hourly on top of a 50% graduate assistantship without the pre-approval of the Graduate School Dean. The Graduate School will approve through Workday and the position must comply with appropriate University policies for hourly positions. The Graduate School imposes no limit on hours worked above the graduate assistant position.
  • Effective May 1, 2022, graduate students on a 25% graduate assistantship may be paid hourly without the pre-approval of the Graduate School Dean by a unit other than the one they are appointed in. The Graduate School will approve through Workday and the position must comply with appropriate University policies for hourly positions. However, pre-approval of the Graduate School Dean is required for a 25% graduate assistant to be paid hourly by the unit who pays their assistantship.
  • Effective May 1, 2022, domestic graduate students may hold a 75% graduate assistantship in Fall, Spring, or Summer with approval of their department/college and payment of an equitable salary that compensates the student for the additional work commiserate with the additional 10 hours per week expected for a 75% appointment. Pre-approval of the Graduate School Dean is not required. The Graduate School will approve through Workday.
    • Submission of the movement to 75% appointment must be completed in Workday prior to the student commencing the additional work.
  • Effective May 1, 2022, domestic graduate students during the Fall or Spring semester may assume additional teaching duties as a graduate assistant and be paid by Period Activity Pay against their graduate assistant position through Workday. In order to qualify for payment by this method, the anticipated continuous duration of the graduate assistant’s additional teaching duties must be one semester or less. If the additional teaching duty is more than one semester in length or if the same duty continues beyond a single semester, movement to a 75% appointment is required.
    • Submission of the Period Activity Pay or the movement to 75% appointment must be completed in Workday prior to the student commencing the additional work.
  • Effective May 1, 2022, domestic graduate students during the Fall or Spring semester may assume additional research/administrative duties as a graduate assistant and be paid by Period Activity Pay against their graduate assistantship position through Workday. In order to qualify for payment by this method, the anticipated continuous duration of the graduate assistant’s additional duties must be less than a semester AND be in the same unit as the graduate assistant’s appointment. If the additional duties are more than one semester in length or if the same duty continues beyond a single semester, movement to a 75% appointment is required. If the additional duties are outside of the unit of appointment, an additional position is required to be added.
    • Submission of the Period Activity Pay or the movement to 75% appointment must be completed in Workday prior to the student commencing the additional work.
  • Effective May 1, 2022, domestic graduate assistants on a 9-month appointment may assume additional duties during the summer semester as a graduate assistant as long as they are enrolled in three graduate hours and work at least 30 calendar days. These graduate assistants must be paid as Period Activity Pay (GA summer teaching/research/service).
    • If the 9-month domestic graduate assistant’s only duty is teaching May intersession, than they are required to be enrolled in three graduate hours in any session of the summer but are exempt from the 30 calendar day rule.
    • Submission of the Period Activity Pay must be completed in Workday prior to the student commencing the additional work.
  • Effective May 1, 2022, graduate assistants on a 12-month appointment may assume additional duties during the summer semester as a graduate assistant utilizing the policies for Fall and Spring above.

Limits on Number of Appointments to a Graduate Assistantship

  1. Students pursuing a master’s degree may receive financial support as a graduate assistant for no more than six semesters, excluding summer appointments. (Note: Some departments or programs may have higher requirements.)
  2. Students pursuing post-master’s degrees may receive financial support as a graduate assistant for no more than ten semesters beyond the master’s degree, excluding summer appointments.
  3. Students pursuing a doctoral degree beginning with the baccalaureate degree may receive financial support as a graduate assistant for no more than twelve semesters beyond the baccalaureate degree.

Petitions for exceptions to these rules may be made by the department/program to the Graduate School.

Resignation or Termination

A graduate assistant who resigns or is terminated from an assistantship appointment, but who remains enrolled, will be required to pay a pro-rated portion of the university tuition and fees as required by Board of Trustees Policy 520.9. Any termination of a graduate assistant must comply with Board of Trustees Policy 500.1. Any questions related to resignation or termination may be directed to Associate Dean Jim Gigantino.

Council of Graduate Schools April 15 Resolution

The University of Arkansas is a signatory of the Council of Graduate Schools' April 15 Resolution. Any offer of financial support made prior to April 15 to accept it and the program should honor that commitment through April 15.

Starting in Fall 2020, applicants are no longer required to obtain a formal release from the program whose offer they accepted, either before or after the April 15 deadline. Once they have informed the program that they are withdrawing their acceptance of the offer, then they can accept any other offers.