Assistantships are a means to attract high-quality, full-time, graduate students and provide them with professional experiences while at UCF that will prepare them for their future work in teaching, research or other activities.
- The standard appointment is at 0.5 FTE (full, 20 hours per week) and either for the Academic Year (fall and spring semesters) or Calendar Year (fall, spring, and summer semesters; August 15 to August 14).
- Students are assumed to be involved in their courses the other 20 hours per week.
- 10-hour appointments (half, 0.25 FTE) are also possible but are not recommended unless two such appointments are offered as part of a complete financial package.
Students are eligible for full financial support (stipend, full tuition remission, and health insurance) only if they receive at least a single 0.5 FTE or two 0.25 FTE assistantship positions. Full tuition remission includes 9 credit hours of required graduate coursework.
Assistantships awarded to students for performing duties that are outside of their program requirements are compensated per hour of work. GTA appointments of 0.5 FTE (20 hours per week) normally require the teaching of no more than 2 courses or laboratories. All assistantship appointments of 0.25 FTE (10 hours per week) must be for duties that require, on average, 10 hours of work per week.
Please see the Financial Information section of the current Graduate Catalog for the financial support requirements and student eligibility. Graduate students enrolled in fully online programs that exempt them from paying campus-based fees are not eligible for university assistantships. Also, students enrolled in programs that charge a program fee rather than graduate tuition may not be eligible for tuition waiver support (a department payment can be applied to the account). Students that have received a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security can be considered for scholarships from private donors or for private loans but are not eligible for institutional aid.
Bridge Funding Program
The Bridge Funding Program provides limited interim research support to faculty who have supported a graduate assistantship student for a minimum of two years but expect a gap in their funding. To be considered for funding through this program, please submit the Bridge Funding Program application to email@example.com.
University Standard Assistantship
Assistantships are standardized at 0.5 FTE (full-time, 20 hours per week) and 0.25 FTE (half-time, 10 hours per week) appointments. Assistantships are provided either for the Academic Year (fall and spring semesters) or Calendar Year (fall, spring, and summer semesters; August 15 to August 14 next year). We recommend hiring all graduate students (including GRAs and GAs) on a fall and spring agreement (or annual) when possible. Beginning Fall 2021, GTA contracts for doctoral students must include fall and spring unless the student is graduating in fall or completing an internship during the spring term.
Assistantships are accompanied by tuition remission (full for a 0.5 FTE appointment and a half for 0.25 FTE appointment). See Tuition Remission for more information about this topic. See also Health Insurance for information about the Graduate Studies-paid health insurance coverage for qualifying assistantship and university fellowship students.
Full-time assistantships (.50 FTE) require students to perform assistantship assignments for 20 hours per week during the period of assignment. Half-time assistantships (.25 FTE) require students to perform assistantship assignments for 10 hours per week during the period of assignment. Additional compensation will be expected for service over semester breaks.
A graduate assistantship appointment may be less than .25 FTE (10 hours per week); however, students on such appointments will not be eligible for graduate tuition remission or Graduate Studies-paid health insurance coverage unless they have other qualifying assistantship appointments.
A UCF graduate assistant may be hired as:
|Type||Job Code||Tuition Remission|
|GTA||9183, 9184, 9187||waiver or tuition payment|
|GRA||9181, 9182||waiver or tuition payment|
|GA||9186||waiver or tuition payment|
UCF graduate assistantships are strictly defined as job codes 9181, 9182, 9183, 9184, 9186, and 9187. Please assign assistantship job codes to your students that are appropriate with their duties.
Assign your GTA students to instructional duties according to the university definitions for these positions. GTA students must complete all training requirements for their job code before they begin their assignments. Under no circumstances are students in GRA or GA job codes allowed to engage in instructional assignments.
|Assistantship||Job Code||Assignment||Instructional Assignment|
|Graduate Teaching Associate||9183||Instructor of record for undergraduate courses in the specific discipline in which the student has the graduate-level expertise and 18 hours of graduate coursework (cannot be the instructor of record for graduate courses). They should be attached to the courses in the Student Records Instructor Schedule.||YES—serve as instructors of record|
|Graduate Teaching Assistant||9184||Teaching-related duties under the supervision of a faculty member. The student may assist a faculty member in any aspect of course instruction but cannot serve as the primary instructor of record.||YES—do NOT serve as instructors of record|
|Graduate Teaching-Grader||9187||Grading papers or assisting a faculty member in the non-instructional aspects of course teaching. These students may have no direct instructional contact with students.||YES—do NOT serve as instructors of record|
|Graduate Research Associate||9181||Research or research-related duties; this code is usually for those supported by C&G funds; although not exclusively.||NO|
|Graduate Research Assistant||9182||Research or research-related duties; this code is usually used for those supported by C&G funds; although not exclusively.||NO|
|Graduate Assistant (contract)||9186||General educational administration duties||NO|
Non-degree seeking students may be employed but may not be classified as graduate assistants. Others that do not meet criteria for being a graduate assistant should be hired as OPS (temporary) employees.
Graduate students can be hired into the OPSGRD job code; however, it is not an effective mechanism to attract students to your program. OPSGRD appointments do not qualify for tuition remission or health insurance coverage. Use of this job code does exclude graduate students from being assessed FICA taxes on their earnings.
Other Employee Classifications
Graduate assistantship students are not allowed to be simultaneously employed as any other UCF job code (undergraduate OPSSTU, adjunct faculty, OPSGRD, or A&P, Faculty, Staff, etc.).
Graduate Studies’ philosophy is that full-time graduate assistants with a full-time course load should not pursue outside employment. Programs may discourage graduate assistants from taking outside employment, but cannot prevent graduate assistants from doing so. Please indicate to assistants who choose to take outside employment that they will be held to the same standards in terms of their work and academic progress as others who do not.
Under no circumstances can international students take outside employment during the fall and spring semesters unless UCF Global has verified that there is a curricular connection with a UCF affiliate (for more information, see global.ucf.edu).
Full-time UCF employees, regardless of classification (Staff, A&P, other OPS, or other classifications) are prohibited from simultaneously receiving a graduate assistantship while working full-time.
The University of Central Florida requires that all graduate assistantships be paid stipends in amounts commensurate with previous appointment averages in the program, but certainly greater than the university minimum stipend levels indicated below. Please pay more than these minimum stipend amounts if you hope to attract high-quality students to your program. Stipends for graduate assistants must be at a rate that is higher than minimum wage, commensurate with your competitor institutions.
UCF Minimum Stipend Levels Effective Fall 2016
For student appointments that are summer only and do not include the break before or after the summer semester, the minimum stipend amounts are based on .75 of the single semester rate to account for fewer pay periods in the semester.
Assistantships by Term Calendar
Assistantship start and end dates must fall within the following assistantship term calendar to be properly reported for the terms. For example, if you are appointing a student on a fall/spring assistantship, the start date could be August 24 and the end date could be May 6. If you are appointing a student on an annual assistantship, the start date should be August 15 or later. You may have different start/end dates for your fall/spring or single term assistantships; however, the dates must fall within the term calendar dates listed below. With this calendar, “break appointments” are just other, shorter appointments within the broader term dates.
Minimum assistantship stipend requirements are set for agreements that fall within the assistantships term calendar dates. For agreements that fall outside of the assistantships term calendar dates, additional compensation beyond the minimum stipend must be provided for that extended period.
Graduate assistants with appointments totaling 20 hours per week are eligible to receive health insurance. The assistantship by term dates align with the health insurance coverage periods (fall/annual coverage is effective on 8/15 each year).
See HR’s Payroll Guidelines for the recommended agreement dates for each academic year. These dates are updated each year to align with the academic calendar.
|Term||From Date||To Date|
|Fall||August 15||December 31|
|Spring||January 1||May 9|
|Summer||May 10||August 14|
Start or Renew Assistantships in Fall Term
All assistantships must start or renew with Fall term each year.
Semester Break Appointments
Semester break appointments are the periods when classes are not in session at the university. These include the periods in December/January, Spring Break, April/May, and August. Dates for the semester break may vary, so you should consult with Human Resources Records for these dates.
You should clearly explain expectations for assistantship appointments to your students. Multiple-semester assistantship contracts may include additional funds to include break times. Another option is an additional assistantship agreement for the break time only; however, you should be careful not to exceed 40 hours per week total (1.0 FTE).
Employment of International Students
According to INS regulations, graduate students who are on an F-1 or J-1 visa may accept employment on campus without prior INS approval as long as students are enrolled full-time and employment does not interfere with their studies. Off-campus employment, however, must be at locations affiliated with the university either through contractually funded projects or associated with the university curricula. Curricular Practical Training is authorized by the International Services Center only to students who qualify for Curricular Practical Training for off-campus employment.
On-campus employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session. Such employment may be full-time during vacation periods for students who are eligible and intend to register for the subsequent academic term. On-campus employment is not permitted after completion of the program of study unless the student is issued a Form I-20A-B to begin a new program and intends to enroll for the next regular academic year, term, or session.
Students who received a bachelor’s degree at one school and will start a master’s degree at UCF are eligible to work during the summer at either the original school or UCF as long as a Form I-20A-B was issued for the new master’s program.
International students on an F-1 visa are eligible for one year of optional practical training after completion of their program. This is a wonderful opportunity for international students to get practical experience while at the same time learning about the employment culture in the U.S. Please encourage your international students to consider this opportunity upon graduation.
Those who are on dependent visas, either F-2 or J-2 cannot be employed by the university in these visa statuses and must change their visa status to F-1 or J-1 before they can be assigned duties as an OPS employee or graduate assistant. Also, those in H-1B visa categories cannot be enrolled full-time in graduate coursework or be employed as a graduate assistant without violating their visa status, since the H-1B visa is sponsored by an employing agency and requires them to work.
For more information about employing international students, contact the UCF Global at 407-823-2526 or visit their website at global.ucf.edu.
The hiring of graduate assistants must be processed through the College of Graduate Studies and the Office of Human Resources. The Graduate College requires that an Assistantship Agreement and ePAF be submitted with any accompanying information. It is important to have all of the information assembled before entry and to have provided this to your staff.
See the Graduate Funding Schedule for the relevant deadlines. Our goal is for the faculty, staff and offices around campus to work together to ensure that graduate assistants get paid promptly and accurately. Hiring submitted after the deadlines result in delayed first payment to graduate assistants at the beginning of the semester.
UCF requires graduate departments to follow university-approved standards and procedures in hiring their graduate assistantship students. Contact Human Resources (www.hr.ucf.edu) for this information:
- University hiring procedures and training, I-9 process, and preparation of new hire and rehire documents. Deliver all paper hiring documents directly to the Human Resources office, unless your college has a different practice. College of Graduate Studies documents should be attached to the ePAF form or sent to firstname.lastname@example.org(e.g., Assistantship Agreement, Teaching Qualifications Form for GTA 9183, Supplemental Assignment Form, GTA Performance Assessments, and Late Assistantship Justification Form).
- Federal tax guidelines and FICA exemption eligibility for graduate student employees
- Graduate assistantship students are not eligible for participation in the UCF employee benefits program or the State of Florida Retirement Program.
- Payroll guidelines
- Criminal history background check for new graduate assistantship students (and those who have not had university employment in the previous 12 months)
- When hiring GTAs, please check the Enterprise Email box on step 3 of the Hire ePAF to request a UCF email account (if the student does not already have one). GTAs should use the @UCF account for communications related to courses the are teaching or for which they have an assisting responsibility and communicate with students via email.
Changing Assistantship Agreements
CAUTION: Changes to existing assistantships may affect your student’s tuition remission status, possibly causing them to be removed in the middle of the term. Please make sure you understand the consequences of assistantship changes prior to submitting them to the College of Graduate Studies.
Changes to Assistantships
|For a change in…||Do this in the ePAF System …|
|Job code (employee class change)||Edit Existing Job and attach new Assistantship Agreement|
|Rate of pay||Edit Existing Job and attach new Assistantship Agreement|
|Appointment period||Edit Existing Job and attach new Assistantship Agreement|
|Standard hours/FTE (increase or decrease)||Edit Existing Job and attach new Assistantship Agreement|
|Funding account||Edit Existing Job|
|End date (termination prior to the end of the agreement)||Edit Existing Job|
The Financial Information section of the current Graduate Catalog includes policies related to graduate assistantships.
- Financial Support Requirements
- Graduate Assistantships
- Graduate Teaching Qualifications
- Graduate Tuition Support
- Paid Health Insurance Coverage
Critical Dates for Assistantship Processing
See the Schedule for a detailed list of important dates for the 2021-2022 year.
For the 2021-2022 assistantship hiring dates, see Assistantships Schedule Final Deadlines Flyer.
All assistantship agreement should be for Fall & Spring (& Summer if applicable) rather than single term agreements to avoid breaks in pay, delays with insurance coverage, or delayed paychecks.
The “Last day to submit financial support documentation” dates will be strict deadlines for submitting the documentation for supported students, including assistantship agreements with a tuition waiver and payment authorizations.
Late documentation will be considered on a case-by-case basis only for extenuating circumstances. Valid justifications include assistantship appointments for:
- additional course sections that are added late
- grants and contracts that get approved for funding after the assistantship processing deadline
- late resignation of a previous appointee
- extenuating I-9 circumstances
- required, in-person interviews
- international students arriving late due to unexpected visa delays
Assistantship ePAFs submitted late for valid reasons must attach the Late Assistantship Justification Form explaining the nature of the justification. Please include the details of the justification. The form must be signed by your Director or College Associate Dean, approving the late justification. Agreements and ePAFs submitted after the deadline with missing or incomplete Late Assistantship Justification forms will be recycled. The “Last day to complete assistantship hiring” is the final deadline even for exceptions.
Graduate Financials System
The Graduate Financials System in the GradInfo intranet is used by hiring departments and programs to manage the funding support for their graduate students. In this system programs make assistantship offers, create assistantship agreements and have them signed electronically by hiring officials and students, manage their GTA waiver budget, and do oversight of their funded students.
Access and training requests for the Graduate Financials System should be sent to Joy Kittredge at email@example.com.
Graduate programs are required to enter assistantship offers for newly admitted students in Assistantship Offers in the Graduate Financials System. You may also enter assistantship offers for continuing graduate students in Assistantship Offers. The College of Graduate Studies sends official financial offers to students via email. Although Graduate Studies sends the e-mail offers, programs make the decisions on the details of the offers. For detailed instructions on how to create assistantship offers, see the Assistantship Offers Tutorials.
Questions regarding how to enter assistantship offers should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Assistantship agreements are created in the Graduate Financials System (GFS). Assistantship data entered through Assistantship Offers and Awards in the Graduate Financials System flow into the Agreement web form that is sent through an approval workflow. When an agreement is Ready for EPAF status, staff save the approved agreement PDF from the Graduate Financials System and attach it to the assistantship ePAF Form in PeopleSoft.
Assistantship Agreement Guides
- Quick reference guide – Creating Graduate Assistantship Agreements
- Detailed guide – Creating Graduate Assistantship Agreements
Assistantship Agreement Handouts
- Handout for DALs and hiring department officials – Approving Graduate Assistantship Agreements
- Handout for students – Accepting Graduate Assistantship Agreements
Policy Guide: Supplemental Assignment
In rare circumstances, students may be granted more than a full-stipend assistantship. Requests for this exception must be submitted using the Supplemental Assignment Form. Supplemental Assignment approval requires the student to have an academic review and possibly consultation with the student’s graduate program director, approval from both the department and the college, and then approval from Graduate Studies. For nonresident alien students on F-1 visas, guidance and verification from International Affairs and Global Strategies (IAGS) is required before allowing the student to begin the assistantship.
The Supplemental Assignment Form may be completed for all terms of the assistantship appointment; however, only the first semester is considered approved if the appointment extends for multiple semesters.
Please note that with supplemental assignment approval, students hired in the Graduate Assistant (9186) role may be appointed for a total of 30 hours per week maximum on a single appointment or on a combination of assistantship appointments (e.g. 20 hours per week GA and 10 hours per week GTA).
Supplemental Assignment Requirements
|Period||Full-stipend Assistantships||Supplemental Assignment Approval Required||Restrictions for Nonresident Alien Students on F-1 or J-1 Visa|
|Fall||.50 FTE (20 hours per week)||FTE for all appointments combined exceeds .50 FTE||Not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week|
|Spring||.50 FTE (20 hours per week)||FTE for all appointments combined exceeds .50 FTE||Not permitted to work more than 20 hours per week|
|Summer||.50 FTE (20 hours per week)||Not required||GTAs and GRAs may work up to 40 hours per week (assuming the student is “in status” and has been asked by the employer to work the hours). Students on GA (9186) positions will be approved for a maximum of 30 hours.|
|Official school breaks*||1.0 FTE (40 hours per week)||Not required||GTAs and GRAs may work up to 40 hours per week (assuming the student is “in status” and has been asked by the employer to work the hours). Students on GA (9186) positions will be approved for a maximum of 30 hours.|
*Includes semester breaks in December/January, April/May, and August, as well as spring break.
Completing the Supplemental Assignment Form
The Supplemental Assignment Form should be completed by the hiring department and approved by the student’s academic department to ensure that the additional hours will not interfere with the student’s academic performance and progress. This form should not be completed by the student.
Student Information: Make sure the student’s name and UCF ID are correct.
Hiring Unit Information:
- Unit 1: Main assistantship assignment type. Check the assignment type and include the standard hours.
- Unit 2: Additional assistantship assignment that makes the student’s total standard hours exceed 20 hours per week. Check the assignment type and include the standard hours. If there is only one assistantship assignment and it will exceed 20 hours, then complete Unit 1 section only.
- Contact name and e-mail: This information is required from the hiring officials in order to notify the hiring department when the College of Graduate Studies makes a decision about the request.
- Tuition Remission: This section indicates which unit(s) will be covering tuition remission for the student and the percentage that will be covered by each unit. Check the correct percentage.
- Academic Review and Approval: This section should be completed by the hiring department and approved by the student’s academic department to ensure that the additional hours will not interfere with the student’s academic progress. Please provide an explanation for every answer that you check.
The student should be able to give you the names of the thesis/dissertation adviser and graduate program director. Send the form by e-mail attachment to the student’s thesis/dissertation adviser, if applicable, or to the graduate program director.
Questions about completing this form should be sent to email@example.com.
Reviewing Supplemental Assignment Approval in PeopleSoft
Navigation: Menu > GRAD Custom > UCF Graduate Summary > Financials Summary
When Supplemental Assignment requests are approved, Graduate Studies enters the approval in PeopleSoft Comments. You can view this record for an individual student in the “Assistantship Supplemental Assignments” section on the Financials Summary webpage.
ePAF Attachment Requirements
The College of Graduate Studies requires the following graduate forms to be attached to the student’s assistantship ePAF form:
- Assistantship Agreement
- Teaching Qualifications Form for GTA 9183 (Associate)
- Supplemental Assignment Form (as needed)
- Late Assistantship Justification Form (as needed)
If Graduate Studies receives ePAFs without required attachments, we will recycle the ePAF with a comment indicating what attachments are needed.
Completing the Teaching Qualifications – Graduate Teaching Associate (Job Code 9183) Form
Please complete the Teaching Qualifications for 9183 Form with the student’s first GTA 9183 assistantship agreement and for subsequent GTA 9183 agreements if the student’s instructor assignment changes or the teaching discipline changes. For students with an earned master’s degree in the teaching discipline, submit this form for subsequent GTA 9183 assistantship agreements only if the teaching discipline changes.
- Name, EmplID, Date: Enter the student’s first name and last name, emplID, and the date the form is being prepared.
- Term(s) of Verification: Only check the terms that correspond with the student’s GTA 9183 agreement that you are processing.
- Name of student’s primary teaching discipline, CIP of discipline: Fill in the student’s primary teaching discipline and the CIP for that discipline. If you don’t know the CIP, then ask the graduate program director for this information.
- Earned Degree, Year, Institution: Fill in the student’s earned degree(s), the year that the degree was completed, and the name of the institution where the degree was earned. Remember to check DocView to be sure the final official transcript(s) are there for all earned degrees.
- Total graduate hours in the teaching discipline: Enter the total graduate hours (semester hours) that the student has completed in the teaching discipline. If the student does not have a master’s degree in the teaching discipline, enter the course prefix and number, semester credit hours, and grade earned for courses that total 18 semester hours in the teaching discipline.
- Certification of spoken English competency: Enter the SPEAK test score (must be 55 or higher for GTA 9183) and date. The SPEAK test score is not required if the student has received a degree (bachelor’s, master’s, etc.) from a U.S. institution.
- Certification of attendance at university GTA training: All GTA 9183 students must have completed the online Grader, Assistant, and Associate training AND the one-day face-to-face Associate workshop. If training has not been completed, please indicate when the student is registered to complete the required training.
- Instructor of Record Assignment: Enter the course prefix, number, and section for all courses that the student will be teaching for this GTA 9183 agreement.
- Faculty supervisor’s name and emplID: Enter the name and emplID for the faculty member who will be supervising the student’s teaching assignment and will be completing the GTA Performance Assessment at the end of the term.
- GTA Performance Assessments: Indicate whether the student’s assessments are current or N/A (Not Applicable: first appointment as GTA). If the student’s assessments are not current, please have the faculty supervisor complete and submit the assessment.
Graduate assistantship students are encouraged to tender a letter of resignation if they are leaving their position before the end of their assistantship contract (e.g., withdrawing from the university, changing from salary to wages or changing status from student employment to faculty or staff). The student submits the letter to the appropriate program supervisor or payroll representative.
The College of Graduate Studies recommends that you complete an Exit Form for Graduate Assistants when graduate assistants leave the university, transfer to another university, have stopped out for a period of time, or have filed a leave of absence with the university. A sample Exit Form is available in the Forms section.
Students leaving appointments early generally will owe charges for graduate tuition waivers received. It is strongly advised that you or the student contact firstname.lastname@example.org to determine what effect the end of the appointment will have. If the student has financial aid (i.e., student loan), the student should also contact a counselor in the Office of Student Financial Assistance (email@example.com).
Termination before End of Appointment
In some circumstances, a graduate assistant’s supervisor may find it necessary to terminate a graduate assistant before the end of the student’s appointment period. The reasons for a premature termination may include, but are not limited to:
- Academic misconduct
- Excessive Absences
- Misconduct in assigned duties
- Breach of the UCF Golden Rule (code of conduct)
Except in cases of gross misconduct that require immediate termination, a supervisor must follow the procedure outlined below in order to end an appointment early.
- Verbal warnings—the student must be given multiple specific verbal warnings indicating the problem and steps to correct it. The supervisor must keep written documentation, with dates, summarizing what was said to the graduate assistant and the graduate assistant’s response.
- Written warnings—if the verbal warnings do not correct the problem, the supervisor must issue a written warning again stating the problem, corrective measures, and a time frame in which action must be taken. Both the graduate assistant and the supervisor should sign the document. The warning must include information indicating to the student the fiscal ramifications of the premature end of the appointment (i.e., loss of graduate tuition waiver and assistantship funds) and the effective date of the end.
- End appointment—if the problem persists beyond the agreed upon action date, then the supervisor must decide whether to end or continue the appointment. To end an appointment, the supervisor must notify the departmental payroll representative so the required Human Resources paperwork can be submitted. The student must be notified of the end of the appointment action.
Assessment of Graduate Assistants
Assessment plays an important role in assisting graduate students in their professional development. Faculty should evaluate their graduate assistants each semester and provide feedback and guidance for improvement.
The College of Graduate Studies recommends that this assessment be documented in the faculty supervisor’s records. The assessment should be discussed with the student, and the student should be given an opportunity to respond to the assessment in writing.
The Graduate Council Program Review Committee has adopted a template that may be used by programs in providing annual progress assessments of their doctoral students. The program may use any format for annual progress assessments that they choose, but annual progress assessments are required for all doctoral students.
The section on Graduate Teaching Requirements specifically addresses assessment of the supervision of GTAs.