Guidelines for Graduate Assistantships

1. To be on assistantship, a graduate student must:

  • be in a degree-seeking program. Students in degree-seeking programs will be classified as MST, EDS, PHD, or GPR.
  • be registered for at least one course (anything carrying an Auburn University course number) during each academic term of the assistantship.
  • satisfy the minimum course load specifications of the individual departments and be making satisfactory progress toward the degree.

2. Assistantships meeting certain criteria are eligible for the Graduate Tuition Fellowship. To be on assistantship AND receive a Graduate Tuition Fellowship, a graduate student must meet the above criteria and the criteria outlined on the Graduate Tuition Fellowship Web page.

3. Assistantship appointments should be 0.25, 0.33, or 0.50 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE).

4. Graduate students may hold multiple assistantships (assistantships and/or hourly employment) from one or more units on campus, but together the cumulative appointment should be 0.25, 0.33, or 0.50 FTE and cannot add up to more than a 0.50 FTE (20 hours per week) appointment. This allows the students the time needed to devote to their academic programs. An exception is automatically allowed in the special case of a graduate assistant assigned to teach one four credit course and one three/four credit course. In such cases, appointments will be made at 0.58/0.67 FTE, respectively. Other exceptions may be requested, with compelling academic justification, in writing to the Provost by the dean. For multiple assistantships from different units, coordinating approval memos from the home unit and the hiring units are required.

5. International graduate students on F1 visas cannot hold a greater than 50 percent work appointment. Rules for summer terms are different. Please check with the Office of International Programs in Foy Hall.

6. All international graduate teaching assistants are required to submit evidence of satisfactory speaking skills. This can be demonstrated with a score of 23 or higher on the Speaking Section of the Internet-based TOEFL (iBT), or a score of 7 on the Speaking section of the IELTS, or a score of at least 50 on the SPEAK test, which is administered at Auburn University prior to the start of classes. A student may be asked to enroll in a course designed to improve the oral communication skills of international teaching assistants. Hiring units are responsible for making sure that international Graduate Teaching Assistants meet the minimum requirements for employment, including but not limited to a satisfactory background check and proficiency in English. For each international Graduate Teaching Assistant, hiring units are required to submit the International Graduate Teaching Assistant Certification of Eligibility for Employment form and supporting documentation.

7. All graduate assistants registered for at least one hour are exempt from FICA and Medicare (Section 218 of the Social Security Act).

8. Graduate assistants who meet the requirements for GRAD7900 (Thesis Completion) or GRAD8900 (Dissertation Completion) and register concurrently for at least one hour of the Research and Thesis course or the Research and Dissertation course are considered full-time students and are exempt from FICA and Medicare on graduate assistant stipends.

9. Effective January 1, 2014, all new graduate student employees (including hourly paid) must have an approved consumer report and/or investigative consumer report (background check) as a condition for appointment. The information contained in these reports may be used to deny an individual employment or continued employment with Auburn University. The background report and its contents are deemed private and confidential and shall be disclosed only for the purposes described in “Procedures for Securing Background Reports for Graduate Students Before Hiring” to those University employees who have a need to know, or as otherwise required or permitted by law.

Related:

Graduate Tuition Fellowship Guidelines

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