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Graduate assistantships provide students with the opportunity to gain meaningful work experience while helping cover the cost of their education.
Many academic units and other administrative areas employ graduate students on a part-time basis as graduate assistants. Graduate assistantships are awarded and governed by the individual appointing units. Some assistantships are open for student applications and are posted on the student job board. For questions about assistantship opportunities, contact your graduate program.
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 OU 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 Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) Exemption, students must be enrolled at least half-time by August 5 for fall semester, January 5 for spring semester, or June 5 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 the Extended Campus, this includes the College of Professional and Continuing Studies (formerly OU Outreach/College of Continuing Education) and OU North America and Europe (formerly Advanced Programs) courses 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.
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 5 in the fall and January 5 in the spring to be eligible for the Student FICA Exemption on the 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 22.214.171.124 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 126.96.36.199 of the Graduate College Bulletin.
Qualifying graduate assistants are 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 Plan Office at email@example.com, 405-325-9196, or visit their website.
Student health insurance cannot be provided to students who reside outside of Oklahoma.
To work more than .50 FTE (full-time equivalent), graduate research and teaching assistants must have prior approval of the OU 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 .50 FTE (full-time equivalent) or greater, may be eligible to enroll in fewer than 5 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.
A graduate assistant (GA) is a graduate student appointed to the title Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) or Graduate Research Assistant (GRA). To qualify for Graduate Assistant Benefits, GAs must hold a minimum .50FTE (full-time equivalent) appointment the entire semester and be enrolled in at least 5 credit hours during the fall and spring terms. See the Final Semester Enrollment requirements below for more details.
Qualifying graduate assistants (QGAs) 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.
Tuition waivers for qualifying graduate assistants (QGA) are automatically applied to a student's account 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 firstname.lastname@example.org with questions about tuition waivers.
TUITION WAIVER LIMITS
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.
CHANGE IN ENROLLMENT
Tuition waivers are calculated on the number of hours a student is enrolled in 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.
The OU Graduate College provides the New Graduate Teaching Assistant Orientation each fall and spring semester for all 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 2024 New GTA Orientation has an online and in-person component. The online component will be hosted via Canvas asynchronously. 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-six weeks of the semester. Workshop details will be provided via the Canvas platform.
Registrants will be added to the Spring 2024 orientation's Canvas platform starting on December 4th, 2023 and new GTAs will have between 3 and 6 weeks to complete the online component of the orientation, depending on when they register.
For questions regarding the New GTA Orientation, email email@example.com.
If you have questions about offer letters, contact the Graduate Personnel and Finance Coordinator, Ashley Herndon.
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 1, 2023, 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 OU Bursar statement after the third week of the semester, contact the Graduate College at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
OU Bursar Services will send you an e-refund or a check for the amount of your waiver(s) once it appears on your bill.
The hours from the uncompleted degree that apply to the new degree will reduce the limit for the new degree.
Norman campus will be transitioning all employees who are currently paid on a monthly pay schedule to a biweekly schedule between April 2024 and August 2024. The affected populations include salaried staff, 12-month academic appointments, 9-month academic appointments, graduate assistants, and monthly-paid student employees. For questions and resources, please visit their webpage, https://www.ou.edu/payroll/monthly-to-biweekly-pay-transition or contact email@example.com.