2:054 Employment of Graduate Assistants
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2:054 Employment of Graduate Assistants


Austin Peay State
Employment of Graduate Assistants

Issued:   April 20, 2017

Responsible Official:  Vice President for Finance and Administration and
Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Responsible Office:  Human Resources and College of Graduate Studies


Policy Statement

It is the policy of Austin Peay State University to employ graduate assistants based on the guidelines detailed below.


The purpose of this policy is to give guidance to the employment and use of graduate assistants at the University.


-Terms of Employment
-Salary Schedule

-APSU Graduate Assistantships


Introduction The University may employ graduate assistants according to the following guidelines and descriptions. This policy is not intended to be prescriptive of the duties and responsibilities of graduate assistants, but simply suggest common national practices.

Workload Full-time graduate assistants will work a maximum of twenty (20) clock hours per week and whenever possible, fulfill duties that are in alignment with their education and/or career aspirations. Duties and responsibilities for graduate assistants tend to differ between academic departments and non-academic, University areas. It is expected that graduate assistant supervisors will follow national best practices for their areas and whenever possible, align the duties and responsibilities with the academic mission of the chosen field of study of the graduate student. It is the responsibility of each academic department to determine the best practices used to support student success of graduate assistants. In general,graduate assistantships fall into three catergories.
  • Graduate Administrative Assistant, GAA - Responsibilities tend to be non-academic in nature.
  • Graduate Research Assistant, GRA* - Responsibilities are research-based and aligned to a degree.
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant, GTA* - Responsibilities include direct impacts on student learning.
*GTA and GRA are defined by IRS tax code and as such, the tuition waivers are considered tax-exempt; IRS/ IRC 117(d). 

As defined by Federal tax-code, graduate teaching assistants, GTAs, and graduate research assistants, GRAs, must adhere to specific duties and responsibilities that are directly linked to their education (Federal tax-code, IRS/ IRC 117(d)). It is the responsibility of the supervisor to ensure the duties and responsibilities adhere to the tax-code, IRS/ IRC 117(d), definitions, which can be found at https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-lafa/103901f.pdf.

Terms of Employment The specific terms of the employment may be for an academic year, quarter, semester, fiscal year, or based upon a percentage of full-time assistantship. 

Salary Schedule The University shall have a salary schedule for graduate assistants that takes into account the particular needs and priorities of the University. 

  1. A student must be accepted and/or enrolled in the graduate program to be eligible for appointment as a graduate assistant. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, disability, age, status as a protected veteran, genetic information, or any other legally protected class with respect to all employment, programs and activities sponsored by APSU.
  2. Pursuant to the Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration, Verification, and Tracking Act of 2004, no student registered as a sex offender is eligible to be a University employee who is compensated with taxable wages. A student registered as a sex offender is eligible for an appointment as a graduate assistant only if he or she is not receiving any taxable wages or taxable stipends as compensation, and the monetary compensation for the student is limited to awards of non-taxable scholarship or grant funds. A graduate student who is registered as a sex offender shall not be employed in any of the University facilities which are within one thousand (1,000) feet of a public school, private or parochial school, licensed day care center, or other child care facility, playground recreation center, or public athletic field available for use by the general public.

Payment Salary payments should be made on a semi-monthly basis or at a regularly scheduled time for salary payments to full-time personnel of the University. 


APSU Graduate

Revision Dates

APSU Policy 2:054 – Issued: April 20, 2017

Subject Areas:

Academic Finance General Human
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President: signature on file