Graduate Assistants

5120.1 Length of Appointment

Graduate assistants supported in whole or in part by Wright State University receive appointments for two semesters beginning in the Fall.  If funds are available, a contract may be issued 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's students and additionally, up to five years of assistantship may be provided for doctoral students.  To receive continued support, assistants  must perform satisfactorily in both degree requirements and their assistantship duties.  Satisfactory progress toward a degree means at least the following:

  • full-time registration status (at least six semester hours) for students who have six or more hours of remaining course work;
  • registration for the specific hours indicated on an approved program of study for students who either a) have fewer than six hours of remaining course work to complete, or b) have completed all course requirements and are completing remaining degree requirements;
  • a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0;
  • following an approved program of study, and fulfilling other academic requirements as determined by the program.

Failure to meet these standards, or failure to perform satisfactorily as a graduate assistant, will be grounds for cancellation of the assistantship agreement.

Continued support of a graduate assistant beyond the normal period requires special approval by the Dean of the Graduate School.

5120.2 Stipends

There are minimum stipend amounts for an academic year (8 month) appointment for graduate assistants.  Higher stipend levels can be granted 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.

5120.3 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).

5120.4 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 School 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.

5120.5 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.

5120.6 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.

5120.7 Oral Proficiency Test

Because Ohio Law requires that all teaching assistants who provide classroom instruction to students be orally proficient in English (ORC 3345.281), all WSU 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 establish that they are proficient in spoken English before they will be allowed to sign their assistantship agreements.  Oral proficiency in English may be established either by a) confirmed citizenship of a country where English is the primary language (see the list at and demonstrated proficiency during a brief oral interview with the university representative overseeing the signing of the assistantship contract, or b) a score of at least 250 (Category 1) on Wright State's Oral Proficiency Test (OPT), administered by Wright State’s Department of English Language and Literatures.

Students scoring 210 to 249 (Category 2) will be allowed to teach if they are supervised by a department advisor and simultaneously enrolled in English 1050 “Classroom Communication for the International Teaching Assistant.” Students who receive an unsatisfactory grade in English 1050 are required to repeat the class during the following term. Students who score 209 or less (Category 3) will not be authorized to teach and must take (or repeat) English 1010 before attempting the OPT again.  Students may take the OPT only once per term, and must wait at least five weeks between testing dates. Students should contact the Department of English Language and Literatures 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 intended assumption of assistantship duties.  Results of testing administered between terms or during the term in which teaching duties actually begin may not be available in time for the assistantship agreement to be processed.  The English Department will report OPT results directly to the Graduate School, which will promptly provide the results to the appropriate academic programs and students.

5120.8 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, a graduate assistant must have written permission from the program or department sponsoring the assistantship.

In addition to meeting the criteria above, international graduate assistants must gain approval from the United State Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) before accepting off-campus employment.  Questions concerning off-campus employment should be addressed to the University Center for International Education.


5120.9 Application Procedures and Procedures for Processing Graduate Assistantship Applications

Assistantships are available in a variety of departments, programs, and some administrative offices.  Students should contact the program(s) or department(s) in which they would like to receive assistantships to request applications and discuss opportunities.

The application process is as follows:

  1. 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.
  2. The department, program, or office reviews the applications to determine whether applicants are eligible for an assistantship (i.e., have regular status as a degree-seeking students and a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0), and able to register for at least six credit hours applicable to the degree.
  3. When departments, programs, or offices have decided which students to employ 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, verification that the applicant has passed the OPT, application of 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 processing can be completed in time for the assistants to be paid during the first regularly scheduled pay period.

    Wright State University is committed to abiding by the Council on Graduate Schools' (CGS') guideline that prospective students be given until April 15 to accept any assistantship offer.
  4. The Graduate School reviews the assistantship agreements and corrects minor typographical, grammatical, or other non-substantive errors.  Major errors 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, and shall be brought to the attention of principal investigators and/or concerned parties.

5120.10 Students’ Responsibilities for Assistantship Processing

  1. International students who have been granted a graduate teaching assistantship, and who do not have a previous degree earned in a country where English is the official language of instruction in higher education (see attached list) must contact the Department of English and Literatures to schedule an appointment to take the Oral Proficiency Test (OPT).  The assistantship candidate must successfully complete the OPT before scheduling an appointment 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.
  2. 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.  The employing department will issue a letter that verifies employment.  Additionally, UCIE will provide a letter that verifies the visa status.  The student will need to submit 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.
  3. Students must contact the Graduate School for an appointment to sign the assistantship agreement after they have been notified that the assistantship agreement is ready for final processing.  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.
  4. Students will complete the required tax forms and sign the assistantship agreement.  Tuition will be applied electronically for the designated semester.
  5. Students with an assistantship agreement for a full academic year (Fall and Spring Semesters) may receive a tuition remission for subsequent terms when funding is available.  Students must be registered for the appropriate number of hours each term before tuition can be applied.

5120.11 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.  Before the appointment for final processing of the graduate assistantship agreement, students must complete at the department, program or other office employing them, an Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 and provide proof of citizenship or legal alien status and eligibility to work in the U.S. Newly hired international graduate assistants must complete and sign section 1 of form I-9 no later than the first day of employment.  Employers or their authorized representatives must complete section 2 by examining evidence of identity and employment authorization within 3 business days of the employee’s first day of employment.  The proof required for employment eligibility is described on the back page of the I-9.  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 provide a valid passport and form I-94 as proof of legal alien status.

5120.12 Continuing Assistantships

  1. Departments, colleges, or offices desiring to retain the same student graduate assistant appointee for a subsequent year must send a new assistantship agreement to the Graduate School covering the new appointment period.
  2. If a graduate assistant wishes to continue as a graduate assistant but in a different program, college, or office he/she must be appointed by that new sponsoring unit, which must sent a new assistantship agreement to the Graduate School covering the new appointment period.

5120.13 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.