Graduate Student Enrollment and Employment

Graduate Student Enrollment and Employment
Type of Policy
s1polics Mon, 05/04/2015 - 11:37
Effective Date
Last Revised
Review Date
Policy Owner
Graduate Studies
Contact Name
Bonnie Ferri
Contact Title
Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Affairs
Contact Email
Reason for Policy

This policy regarding when and how graduate students may be employed will ensure compliance with Board of Regents policies and our agreements with federal sponsors.

Policy Statement

Research and teaching assistantships provide work experiences for graduate students that contribute to their education. Research assistantships involve tasks such as setting up equipment, gathering and analyzing data, participating in research team interaction and training, and writing up and presenting results. Teaching assistantships involve activities such as planning and delivering classes, laboratories, or online educational experiences, grading, and evaluating the teaching and learning experience.

The work done under a graduate research or teaching assistantship should enhance the student’s educational experience. Research grants may not be used for teaching assistantships unless the grant terms specifically allow it. It is expected that students working on grants or contracts are acquiring skills and knowledge relevant to their educational programs and must be registered.

Graduate students employed as Graduate Research Assistants, Graduate Teaching Assistants, and Graduate Assistants must be registered as full-time students.

Any graduate student hired to do research or teaching at 33% to 50% effort must be hired as a Graduate Research Assistant (GRA) or Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA); all GRA and GTA assignments must fall within this range of effort. Pay must meet the Institute minimums and be consistent with standards set and published within the School or College.

In accordance with Office of Management and Budget requirements, and as outlined in rate agreements with the Federal Government, expenses for similar purposes must be treated the same way under like circumstances. This principle requires us to hire graduate students doing similar kinds of work through the same mechanism at similar rates (including pay scales and tuition charges). If a student is hired on a federal project as a Graduate Research Assistant, the employment of the student shall remain as a GRA throughout their involvement with the project. Students in GRA or GTA positions will be required to pay $25 regular tuition, plus any applicable differential tuition and student fees; the institution covers the remainder of their tuition. (See the policy on tuition waivers for payment rules regarding partial semesters.)

For administrative work or small research or teaching jobs (less than 25% effort), the Graduate Assistant (GA) hiring mechanism may be used. GA assignments carry no tuition waiver, but the student must be registered. A student hired as a GA is responsible for paying tuition and fees. GA salary may be charged to sponsored projects if the work is appropriate and should be set at the unit’s prevailing pay rate for graduate students.

Exceptions to these policies may be requested from the Vice Provost for Postdoctoral and Graduate Education.


The policy applies to all graduate students and all hiring units.



Graduate Research Assistantship (GRA) Part time research job held by a graduate student.
Graduate Teaching Assistantship (GTA) Part time teaching job held by a graduate student.
Graduate Assistant (GA) Part time research, teaching, or administrative job held by a graduate student.
Full tuition waiver Administrative action that reduces the tuition a graduate research or teaching assistant pays to $25.

The Hiring Unit submits the Student Hiring Packet and the Student’s Home School enters the tuition waiver in Banner if appropriate.


Hiring Unit
The Hiring Unit must coordinate with the student’s home school to ensure that the student’s enrollment status allows him or her to work under an assistantship. If using state funds to pay the student, the hiring unit must either provide the non-sponsored tuition waiver or have a commitment from the student’s home school to provide it.

Student’s Home School
The student’s home school is responsible for ensuring that the student’s enrollment status allows the student to work under an assistantship and that no tuition waivers are entered for students who are hired without GRA or GTA assignments. The student’s home school is responsible for posting standard pay rates for assistantships in a place that is accessible to students.

Faculty Supervisor
The faculty supervisor is responsible for assigning a work load to the student assistant that does not exceed the permissible number of hours of the position and does not impede the student’s academic progress; for mentoring the student in his or her work role; for assuring that the student has received appropriate training in the responsible conduct of research, including safety; and for evaluating the student’s performance in writing at least once every semester. The faculty supervisor is responsible for communicating how long the assistantship position is likely to last and giving as much advance notice as possible if the student’s assistantship position is going to be discontinued.

The student is responsible for working the expected number of hours with the expected level of productivity, asking for help from the supervisor as needed. The student is responsible for knowing and following all relevant safety regulations and ethical standards. The student is responsible for keeping careful records of data collection procedures and leaving all data and records with the supervisor at the appropriate time. GTAs are responsible for completing grading assignments in a timely manner, including turning in grades by any deadlines set by their supervisors at the end of the semester.


Students who are not employed properly are subject to cancelation of registration for lack of payment of tuition or cancelation of employment if registration requirements are not met.

Policy 4.7 of the Georgia Tech Faculty Handbook, Student Complaints and Grievances against a Faculty Member, outlines procedures for when a student has a complaint and/or grievance.

Policy History
Revision Date Author Description
October 2022 Office of the Provost Editorial Updates
March 2014 Office of the Provost This policy replaces