Salaried Graduate Student Employment                         UPPS No. 07.07.06

Procedures                                                                           Issue No. 4

Effective Date: 07/01/2015

Review: July 1 E4Y

Sr. Reviewer: Dean, The Graduate College

 

 

01.       POLICY STATEMENTS

 

01.01  This policy provides an organized procedure whereby graduate students seeking part-time employment and the respective departments and offices of Texas State University seeking part-time graduate assistant employees will receive maximum benefits from the Graduate Assistant Employment Program.

 

01.02  Specific objectives of the Graduate Assistant Employment Program are to:

 

a.   provide information to both the student and the employing university department;

 

b.   ensure compliance with federal, state and university regulations, policies, and guidelines;

 

c.   complement and strengthen the educational program and support the educational goals of the student; and

 

d.   assure that Texas State’s graduate assistant employment policies are competitive for recruiting at the state and national levels.

 

02.       DEFINITIONS

 

02.01  Graduate assistant titles and descriptions:

 

a.   Graduate Teaching Assistants and Doctoral Teaching Assistants – employed by an academic department, paid from faculty salaries and reported as the “teacher of record” for an organized undergraduate class. Graduate teaching assistants and doctoral teaching assistants receive a faculty contract for a semester or the academic year, are paid on a monthly basis, and are exempt from The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) under the learned professional exemption.

 

b.   Graduate Instructional Assistants and Doctoral Instructional Assistants – employed by an academic department, paid from faculty salaries, but are not reported as the “teacher of record.” Graduate instructional assistants and doctoral instructional assistants are responsible for a specific group of students (typically undergraduate students) and assign some portion of these same students’ grades. If graduate students are assigned as instructional assistants in graduate courses, they cannot grade other students’ work nor have access to their grades. In rare circumstances, the dean of The Graduate College will allow an exception for doctoral instructional assistants assigned to master’s level classes, provided there is no conflict of interest. The academic department may pay graduate instructional assistants’ salaries for those assisting in the operation of a lab or an activity or recitation group from course fees collected for this purpose. Graduate instructional assistants and doctoral instructional assistants are normally appointed for a semester or the academic year, paid on a monthly basis, and are exempt from the FLSA under the learned professional exemption.

 

c.   Graduate Research Assistants and Doctoral Research Assistants – employed by a department or university office and may receive pay from grant or university funds. Chapter 10 of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Field Operation Handbook defines research assistants as students “engaged in research in the course of obtaining an advanced degree and the research is performed under the supervision of a member of the faculty in a research environment provided by the institution under a grant or contract.” If employed on a grant, the work performed must directly relate to the objectives of the grant. Graduate research assistants and doctoral research assistants can be appointed for a semester, the academic year, or the duration of a research project, or any portion thereof, and paid on a monthly basis. They are exempt from the FLSA under the graduate research exemption, as provided in the June 28, 1994 DOL opinion letter #1263.

 

d.   Graduate Assistants and Doctoral Assistants – employed by a department or university office and may receive pay from grant or university funds. Responsibilities may include research (not under the supervision of a faculty member), technical assistance, and institutional support. To avoid conflicts of interests, graduate and doctoral assistants cannot have access to records of graduate students of their degree granting department. Graduate assistants and doctoral assistants who have access to records must be Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) trained and sign a confidentiality agreement.

 

      Graduate assistants and doctoral assistants fall into two categories:

     

Exempt – A graduate or doctoral assistant is considered exempt, if the job is not subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA. Human Resources is responsible for determining the exemption/non-exemption status of a position. These assistants are required to record working times on an exception basis and are not eligible for paid leave, including holidays.

 

      Non-Exempt – A graduate or doctoral assistant is non-exempt, if the job is subject to the minimum wage and overtime provisions of the FLSA. Human Resources is responsible for determining whether students need to record working times on an exception basis and are not eligible for paid leave including holidays. Non-exempt students who work over 40 hours in a week will be compensated at time and one-half. Graduate assistants cannot hold an exempt and non-exempt position concurrently.

 

02.02  Benefit eligibility:

 

a.   All positions as described in Sections 02.01 a.–d. are eligible for employer group insurance plans administered by the Human Resources Benefit Office when employed at least half-time (20 hours per week) for a minimum period of four and a half months.

 

b.   All graduate student employees with nine-month appointments may choose to receive their nine-month salary in 12 monthly payments. If salary spread is elected, it will remain in effect every year thereafter until either: 1) the employee signs an authorization to change back to a nine-month pay basis to begin the next fiscal year, or 2) the employee becomes ineligible. Employees who wish to elect a twelve-month salary spread or change back to a nine-month pay basis must complete a Salary Spread Election Form prior to the beginning of the fall semester.

 

03.       ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS

 

03.01  Academic/Enrollment

 

a.   Graduate Teaching Assistants and Doctoral Teaching Assistants In accordance with the “Credentials Guidelines” in the SACSCOC Principles for Accreditation for graduate teaching assistants, all teaching assistants are required to hold “a master’s in the teaching discipline or eighteen graduate semester hours in the teaching discipline, direct supervision by a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, regular in-service training, and planned and periodic evaluations.” Additional Texas State requirements include unconditional acceptance into a graduate degree program. The student must enroll in at least nine graduate semester credit hours (SCH) in a graduate degree program each fall and spring semester of employment and in at least three graduate SCH during the summer, if their initial enrollment is in the summer. The dean of The Graduate College must approve graduate and doctoral teaching assistants taking more than 12 graduate semester hours of course work per fall or spring semester or those taking more than six graduate semester hours per summer session. The student must also maintain a minimum 3.0 Texas State grade point average (GPA) in course work leading toward the completion of a graduate degree. The dean of The Graduate College must approve any exceptions. The graduate advisor, department chair, or school director must submit requests for exceptions in writing to the dean of The Graduate College prior to the first day of class.

 

b.   Graduate Instructional Assistants and Doctoral Instructional Assistants – Texas State requirements include unconditional acceptance into a graduate degree program. The student must enroll in at least nine graduate SCH in a graduate degree program each fall and spring semester of employment and in at least three graduate SCH during the summer, if their initial enrollment is in the summer. The dean of The Graduate College must approve graduate and doctoral instructional assistants taking more than 12 graduate semester hours in the fall or spring semester of course work or those taking more than six graduate semester hours per summer session. The student must also maintain a minimum 3.0 Texas State GPA in course work leading toward the completion of a graduate degree. The dean of The Graduate College must approve any exceptions. The graduate advisor, department chair, or school director must submit requests for exceptions in writing to the dean of The Graduate College prior to the first day of class.

 

c.   Graduate Research Assistants and Doctoral Research Assistants – Texas State requirements include unconditional acceptance into a graduate degree program. The student must enroll in at least nine graduate SCH in a graduate degree program each fall and spring semester of employment and in at least three graduate SCH during the summer, if their initial enrollment is in the summer. The dean of The Graduate College must approve graduate and doctoral research assistants taking more than 12 graduate semester hours in the fall or spring semester of course work or those taking more than six graduate semester hours per summer session. The student must also maintain a minimum 3.0 Texas State GPA in course work leading toward the completion of a graduate degree. The dean of The Graduate College must approve any exceptions. The graduate advisor, department chair, or school director must submit requests for exceptions in writing to the dean of The Graduate College prior to the first day of class.

 

d.   Graduate Assistants and Doctoral Assistants (both exempt and non-exempt) – Texas State requirements include unconditional acceptance into a graduate degree program. The student must enroll in at least nine graduate SCH in a graduate degree program each fall and spring semester of employment and in at least three graduate SCH during the summer, if their initial enrollment is in the summer. The dean of The Graduate College must approve graduate and doctoral assistants taking more than 12 graduate semester hours in the fall or spring semester of course work or those taking more than six graduate semester hours per summer session. The student must also maintain a minimum 3.0 Texas State GPA in course work leading toward the completion of a graduate degree. The dean of The Graduate College must approve any exceptions. The graduate advisor, department chair, or school director must submit requests for exceptions in writing to the dean of The Graduate College prior to the first day of class.

 

03.02  Summer Enrollment of Previously Employed Students

 

Graduate student employees enrolled in nine graduate hours during the prior spring and fall semesters (or with an approved exception on file) may work in the summer with no enrollment requirement. Graduate students enrolled and employed as undergraduate assistants in the previous spring and fall semesters may work in the summer with no enrollment requirements. Teaching assistants, who are employed in the spring and fall semesters, may spread out their required enrollment hours (18 graduate SCH) over the entire academic year, if their department allows it. Students seeking summer employment as graduate student employees who do not meet these criteria must enroll in a total of three graduate hours during the summer.

 

04.       ALLOWABLE WORK HOURS

 

04.01  Fall and Spring Semesters – Graduate student employees may work up to 50 percent FTE (20 hours per week) during the fall and spring semesters. Only under exceptional circumstances may the dean of The Graduate College approve up to a maximum of 75 percent FTE (30 hours per week) for non-international students. For employment over 50 percent, an exception request from the student’s graduate advisor, department chair, or school director and an approval by the dean of The Graduate College must be on file. International student appointments may not exceed a combined total of 50 percent FTE.

 

04.02  Between semesters and during Spring Break (considered energy conservation days) – Graduate student employees may work up to 50 percent FTE (20 hours per week) between semesters and during Spring Break (during energy conservation days), if approved by the dean of The Graduate College. Employment over 50 percent will only be allowed under exceptional circumstances for domestic students. An exception request from the graduate advisor, department chair, or school director and an approval by the dean of The Graduate College must be on file.

 

04.03  Summer Employment

 

For teaching, instructional, and graduate or doctoral assistants, employment is restricted to 50 percent FTE (20 hours per week). Only under exceptional circumstances will the dean of The Graduate College allow an exception for employment over 50 percent FTE during the summer. This rule applies for non-international and international students. For employment over 50 percent in the summer, an exception request from the student’s graduate advisor, department chair, or school director and an approval by the dean of The Graduate College must be on file.

 

            For research assistants, employment is usually restricted to 50 percent FTE (20 hours per week) in the summer. However, if research assistants are conducting fieldwork or are funded by a grant, the dean of The Graduate College may approve an exception for employment over 50 percent FTE (typically 75 percent FTE (30 hours per week)). In this situation, both international and non-international research assistants who are not enrolled can hold an appointment of 100 percent, provided the research is directly related to their degree program and provided the summer is not their initial term of employment at the university.

 

05.       HIRING PROCEDURES

 

05.01  Appointment and New Hire Paperwork

           

a.   Graduate student employees cannot be appointed in salaried and hourly positions concurrently. Likewise, in accordance with Internal Revenue Service and the State of Texas guidelines, the university cannot pay graduate assistants as consultants or contractors while employed by the university or for 12 months following the termination of their university employment.

 

b.   New Hire paperwork for graduate or doctoral teaching and instructional assistant appointments are processed through The Graduate College and Faculty Records. Paperwork for graduate or doctoral research assistant appointments and graduate or doctoral assistants (both exempt and non-exempt) are processed through The Graduate College, the appropriate vice president’s office, and Human Resources for all divisions except Academic Affairs. Graduate or doctoral research assistant appointments in Academic Affairs are processed through The Graduate College and Faculty Records.

 

1)   Graduate teaching assistants and doctoral teaching assistants must submit a complete faculty applicant packet that consists of a Faculty Employment Application, official transcripts from all degree- granting institutions, a current vita or resume, and three letters of recommendation. Each department will also be required to complete the Graduate Student New Hire Packet.

 

Faculty Records must receive these documents, along with a PCR, available through the SAP portal, and a Contracting of Temporary Faculty Form from the department via the college dean and the dean of The Graduate College.

 

2)   For graduate or doctoral instructional assistants and graduate and doctoral research assistants as well as graduate or doctoral assistants (both exempt and non-exempt), each department will be required to complete the New Hire Support Documents/Graduate Students Packet.

      Faculty Records or Human Resources, as appropriate, must receive these documents, along with a PCR from the department via the college dean and the dean of The Graduate College.

 

05.02  Pay rates – Each of the above job titles in Sections 02.01 a.–d. are paid in accordance with the salary schedule in the University Pay Plan.

 

06.       ACCOUNT MANAGER OR DESIGNEE RESPONSIBILITIES

 

06.01  The account manager or designee may determine the need for graduate student employees and may work with the appropriate vice president for position approvals. Appropriate titles are determined based on the criteria in Sections 02.01 a.–d.

 

06.02  The account manager or designee is responsible for contacting the International Office to verify employment eligibility for all international graduate and doctoral students prior to the hire.

 

06.03  The account manager or designee must ensure that students meet all academic and enrollment policies found in Sections 03.01 and 03.02.

 

06.04  The account manager or designee must forward the appointing PCR and all forms noted in Section 05.01 b. via the college dean and the dean of The Graduate College to Human Resources or Faculty Records, as appropriate.

 

06.05  The account manager or designee must ensure that students are not appointed over 50 percent FTE (20 hours per week) without specific approval from the dean of The Graduate College.

 

06.06  The account manager or designee must prepare a separation PCR, the Employee Separation Form and Separation Checklist (see UPPS No. 04.04.50, Separation of Employment and Interdepartmental Transfers) to terminate the student employee’s appointment.

 

06.07  The account manager or designee is responsible for notifying graduate student employees appointed to a benefits-eligible position and instructing the students to contact Human Resources for enrollment information within the 30-day enrollment deadline.

 

07.       OUT-OF-STATE WAIVER

 

07.01  According to the Texas Education Code, Sec. 54.212, a teaching, instructional, research, or graduate assistant (exempt or non-exempt) of any institution of higher education, as well as the spouse and children of such an assistant, are entitled to register in a state institution of higher education by paying the tuition fees and other fees or charges required for Texas residents under Section 54.051 of this code, without regard to the length of time the assistant has resided in Texas, if the employee is employed at least one-half time in a teaching, instructional, research, or graduate assistant (exempt and non-exempt) position that relates to the employee’s degree program under rules and regulations established by the employer institution. The account manager or designee will be responsible for submitting the required paperwork (i.e., the Request for Exemption from Non-Resident Tuition) for the out-of-state waiver to Student Business Services by the deadline designated in the exemption form

 

08.       NON-DISCRIMINATION

 

08.01  Texas State will not discriminate against any person in employment or exclude any person from participating in or receiving the benefits of any of its activities or programs on any basis prohibited by law, including race, color, age, national origin, religion, sex, disability, veterans’ status, or on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

 

09.       REVIEWERS OF THIS UPPS

 

09.01  Reviewers of this UPPS include the following:

 

Position                                                         Date

 

Dean, The Graduate College                    July 1 E4Y

                                                                       

Assistant Vice President for                       July 1 E4Y

Human Resources

                                                                       

Chief Diversity Officer and Director,         July 1 E4Y

Equity and Access                                      

                                                                       

Director, Faculty Records                           July 1 E4Y

 

10.       CERTIFICATION STATEMENT

 

This UPPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

 

Dean, The Graduate College; senior reviewer of this UPPS

 

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

 

President