Graduate assistantships are offered by the academic unit, usually at the time of admission, and vary by program. Some assistantships are open for student applications and are posted on the student job board. For questions about assistantship opportunities, contact your graduate program.
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Qualifying graduate assistants (GAs) are eligible for a stipend, tuition waiver, and basic student health insurance.
Tuition waivers are called waivers because your tuition is “waived.” Tuition is still charged to your account until the waiver is applied. Tuition waivers do not cover University fees. Estimate the cost of fees using the Tuition and Fees Calculator.
To qualify for Graduate Assistant Benefits, GAs must hold a minimum .50FTE appointment the entire semester and be enrolled in a at least 5 hours during the fall and spring terms. See the Final Semester Enrollment requirements below for more details.
Tuition waivers for qualifying graduate assistants are automatically applied to student's accounts within the first three weeks of classes. If a graduate assistant changes enrollment after a tuition waiver has been applied, the waiver will automatically get adjusted within 5 business days. Email email@example.com with questions about tuition waivers.
Qualifying GAs are eligible for a waiver of up to the total number of hours required for the graduate program. Doctoral students also in a master’s program are eligible for the total number of hours required for the doctoral degree.
Waivers are calculated on the number of hours in which a student is enrolled at the time the waiver is awarded. If a student's enrollment increases or decreases, tuition waiver adjustments will be made within five business days.
Students who held or will hold a qualifying appointment in the preceding spring or following fall semester will be eligible for a waiver in the summer, provided they have not exhausted their maximum allowable waiver.
Graduate Assistants who will be reappointed for Fall need to complete payroll paperwork, including a new I-9 and Loyalty Oath, in early August if they were terminated by their department for the summer. In order to be paid on the August Monthly payroll, the necessary paperwork must be in Payroll by the August deadline. This means your reappointment paperwork, new I-9 and Loyalty Oath must be completed and in Payroll and Employee Services, NEL 244 by that date.
Graduate Assistants who are placed on Leave of Absence Without Pay for the summer and return to their GTA or GRA position in the Fall will not be required to complete a new I-9 or Loyalty Oath. The department must provide Payroll and Employee Services with a Personnel Action Form returning the GTA or GRA from the Leave of Absence Without Pay.
To be eligible for the Student FICA (Social Security & Medicare) Exemption students must be enrolled at least half time by August 5th for Fall Semester, January 5th for Spring Semester or June 5th for Summer Semester. FICA taxes will not be refunded to student employees who fail to be enrolled in the appropriate number of class hours by the aforementioned deadlines.
Note: Courses through OU North America & Europe (Advanced Programs) and/or the Center for Independent and Distance Learning (whether online or in-person) are not eligible credit hours for exemption from FICA.
To work more than .50 FTE, graduate research and teaching assistants must have prior approval of the Graduate College. Approval is required for any .50 FTE graduate assistant who does any additional paid work for OU, including supplemental pay.
How to Request to Appoint a Graduate Assistant Over .50 FTE
Responsibility of the Graduate Student to Submit the Request to Appoint a Graduate Assistant Over .50 FTE
Tracking Compliance of Graduate Assistantships Exceeding .50 FTE
Graduate assistants with a total .50FTE or greater, may be eligible to enroll in fewer than five hours of coursework (3 hours for summer) during their final semester and still be considered full time for the purpose of maintaining eligibility for a tuition waiver and FICA (Federal Insurance Contributions Act) tax exemption. This helps students avoid paying fees for coursework beyond the hours needed for completion of their degree.
Graduate assistants may receive a one-semester exemption from the FICA tax if they declare their final semester with the Graduate College by completing the online Graduate Assistant Final Semester Declaration form below. This form may be completed one time only.
Should a student declare their final semester with the Graduate College but not graduate in that semester, the student will no longer be eligible to retain full-time student status with reduced enrollment.
The Graduate College will report to the Office of Financial Aid any students who have self-identified the current semester as their final semester. Students should contact the Student Financial Center for enrollment requirements regarding financial aid eligibility and student loan deferment information.
For International Graduate Assistants
All international graduate students must also obtain separate approval for a reduced course load from International Student Services in their final semester.
In order to be a Qualifying Graduate Assistant (QGA) and eligible for QGA benefits, students must:
*A .50 FTE graduate assistantship may consist of a combined appointment from multiple units on campus (e.g., two .25 FTE assistantships).
Students must be enrolled in classes by August 5th in the Fall and January 5th in the Spring to be eligible for the Student FICA (Social Security) Exemption on August and January paychecks. The FICA payroll taxes cannot be refunded for late class enrollment.
|Fall or Spring||Summer||Final Semester|
Minimum required enrollment for full-time status is 5 credit hours.
Enrollment requirements for summer GAs differ depending on the student’s circumstances. Not all summer GAs need to be enrolled. See section 220.127.116.11 of the Graduate College Bulletin for more details.
|The minimum enrollment requirement for the final semester is 2 credit hours.|
Qualifying graduate assistants are eligible for a waiver of up to the total number of hours required for the graduate program, provided they meet the eligibility requirements for QGAs.
Tuition waivers do not cover:
Students and courses in the following programs are not eligible for tuition waivers:
More details on tuition waivers and costs not covered can be found in section 18.104.22.168 of the Graduate College Bulletin.
Qualifying graduate assistants are also eligible for a student health insurance waiver. To participate in the health insurance plan, students must enroll by certain deadlines. For more information, contact the Student Health Insurance Office at 405-325-9196 or directly enroll at the Student Health Insurance Office Web site.
The Graduate College provides the New Graduate Teaching Assistant Orientation each Fall and Spring semester for newly appointed GTAs.
The New GTA Orientation is required for all newly appointed GTAs*, including those in supporting roles where their duties are primarily grading and/or holding office hours.
Failure to complete this orientation will result in an enrollment hold being placed on the GTA's account for the following semester.
The Spring 2023 New GTA Orientation will have an online and in-person component. The online component will be hosted via Canvas asynchonously.
For the in-person component of the orientation, all participants must attend one of the synchronous New GTA Orientation workshops, offered in the first four-five weeks of the semester. Workshop details will be provided via the Canvas platform.
Registration for the Spring 2023 New GTA Orientation will open via the link below starting from November 15th, 2022.
Registrants will be added to the orientation's Canvas platform starting on December 5th, 2022 and will have between 2 and 6 weeks to complete the online component of the orientation, depending on when they register.
For questions regarding the New GTA Orientation, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To access the registration form, you must use your OU Net ID and password. You can set up your OU Net ID and password by following the instructions at https://accounts.ou.edu
If you are experiencing any issues obtaining your OU Net ID and password, please contact OU Internet Technology resources or call 405-325-4357.
They are eligible for the waiver in the semesters they are appointed (plus summer) as a qualifying GA (.50 FTE assistantship for the full semester).
Starting August 16, 2019, the minimum rate for .50 FTE graduate assistants is $1,152.50 monthly or $13,830.00 annually.
Contact your hiring unit to verify your remaining hours of waiver.
If you have credit hours remaining, and the waiver is still not showing on your bursar statement after the 3rd week of the semester, contact the Graduate College at email@example.com or 405-325-3811 for assistance.
If a student is placed on academic probation or fails to make satisfactory progress toward their degree, the student may lose the tuition waiver award. A student who fails to enroll in the minimum number of required hours for the entire semester (fall and spring) will lose the tuition waiver award. If a student fails to have a qualifying graduate assistantship appointment for the entire semester (fall and spring), the student will lose any waiver dependent on that appointment.
Bursar Services will send you an e-refund or a check for the amount of your waiver(s) once it appears on your bill.
Hours from the uncompleted degree that apply to the new degree will reduce the limit for the new degree.