3.11 - Graduate Assistantship Policy

: Human Resources
: President
: 09/20/2018
: 09/20/2018
: 09/20/2019
Comment on Policy

3.11.1 - AUDIENCE

All departments that engage Graduate Assistants.


The purpose of this Policy is to describe the eligibility requirements and baseline standards for the administration of the Graduate Assistant program at Thomas More University.


Graduate Assistants: are full-time Thomas More University graduate students who participate in teaching, research, or administrative activities in exchange for a stipend and tuition remission at Thomas More University.

3.11.4 - THE POLICY

Graduate Assistants are active student employees who hold a position that furthers the professional and/or academic development of the graduate student. The duties performed by Graduate Assistants are professional in nature and under the direct supervision of faculty, academic professionals, or administrators at Thomas More University. Assistantship duties may vary considerably both within and between programs.  In general, there are three types of Graduate Assistantships at Thomas More University:

  1. Graduate Teaching Assistantship: Students work in support of the teaching mission of the University. The specific duties may vary from department to department and their work may involve, but not be limited to, teaching a classroom or laboratory section of a course or laboratory; tutoring or providing other special assistance to students of the University; assisting a faculty member in grading, advising, and other duties necessary to conduct a traditional or online course; and/or assisting directly or indirectly in instruction or supervision of Thomas More students in internships, workshops, etc.
  2. Graduate Research Assistantships: Duties vary according to the nature of the department and/or the specific research project to which the student is assigned. The student may assist a faculty member in his/her research or may be part of a team working on an externally funded research project. The duties of a graduate research assistant are performed under the direction and supervision of members of the faculty or academic staff.
  3. Graduate Administrative Assistantship: Students work on campus in a non-professional administrative capacity providing useful services to administrative (e.g., the Library, Provost’s Office, etc.) and/or academic College or department. These assignments are designed to be support mechanisms in which a student receives pay for service with no expectation of an academically enriching experience.


Background, Reference, and Verification Screens Policy
Tuition Remission Policy


I. Eligibility Requirements

Before any Graduate Assistantship may be awarded, the graduate student must be admitted to Thomas More University as a graduate degree-seeking student, as well as meet the following requirements:

  1. Students must be registered for academic credit each semester (fall and spring) they receive an assistantship, maintaining a minimum course load of 9 credit hours per semester (with a maximum load up to 12 credit hours per semester) for a total of 30 credit hours per year including summer. In addition, the student must be in good academic standing and maintain satisfactory progress toward their degree. International students must also maintain the appropriate residency status.
  2. During the fall and/or spring semesters in which the graduate student holds a Graduate Assistantship, the student must be enrolled in no fewer than six credit hours required for the student's graduate degree.
  3. Graduate Assistants must be qualified for the position. Graduate Teaching Assistants who have primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit and/or for assigning final grades for such a course must have earned at least 18 graduate semester hours in their teaching discipline, be under the direct supervision of a faculty member experienced in the teaching discipline, receive training, and be regularly evaluated.
  4. Graduate Teaching Assistants who have primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency.
  5. Graduate students offered a Graduate Assistantship must consent to and successfully pass appropriate background screen(s) as required by Human Resources.
  6. Graduate students placed on Academic Warning may retain their assistantship. Students placed on Probation may no longer receive an assistantship.
  7. International students must have an appropriate visa, meet all applicable immigration requirements, abide by all applicable laws and regulations, and under no circumstances be employed for more than 20 hours/week.
II. Appointment

Recommendations for Graduate Assistantships are subject to Vice President or Provost approval. Graduate Assistants must be provided a letter of appointment from the Human Resources or Provost’s Office that clearly defines the duties, term, and expectations of the graduate assistantship appointment. Funding sources for graduate assistantships include the operating budgets of the applicable College and other academic or administrative departments (internally-funded assistantships), grants, gifts, or endowments (externally-funded assistantships).

III. Compensation

Compensation of Graduate Assistantships typically include a semi-monthly stipend based on working 20 hours per week (full-time assistantships) or 10 hours per week (half-time assistantships), and 100% tuition remission (full-time assistantships) or 50% tuition remission (half-time assistantships). The tuition remission does not include tuition for undergraduate courses, student fees, or book costs. Audited courses are not covered by the tuition remission.

The dollar amount of the stipend varies depending upon the funding source.  Graduate Assistants are eligible for University-observed holidays that occur during their term of service. Other time off may be allowed at the discretion of the student’s supervisor or as permitted by the funding agreement.

IV. Conduct Standards

Standards of conduct for Graduate Assistants include performance of University duties in a manner that is professional, courteous, and conducive to a professional atmosphere. Graduate Assistants are expected to comply with all work rules and standards defined by their assistantship employer and with all applicable University, College, and department policies and procedures. As matriculated students enrolled in an educational program at Thomas More University, Graduate Assistants are also expected to comply with all University, College, and departmental policies and procedures applicable to University students, including but not limited to those published in the Saints Community Standards and Catalogue(s).

Graduate Assistants awarded scholarships funded by external grants must abide by all specified restrictions, if any, including (but not limited to) restrictions on outside employment during the term of their assistantship.

V. Forfeiture of a Graduate Assistantship

1. Automatic Forfeiture: A Graduate Assistantship is automatically forfeited by the University in any of the following circumstances:

a. Upon degree completion;

b. Upon voluntarily or administrative withdrawal from the degree program;

c. Upon resignation; or

d. Has a course load which falls below the prescribed minimum number of hours.

2. Forfeiture for Cause: A Graduate Assistants may be terminated by the University at any time for cause such as unsatisfactory performance of the work obligation, unsatisfactory academic performance, unsatisfactory degree progress, violation of the Saint Community Standards, failure to comply with applicable policies or procedures, engaging in outside employment contrary to the conditions of the appointment, violation of the University policies on academic integrity or research misconduct, or any other cause of similar magnitude as determined by the applicable College Dean.

When an assistantship is forfeited during a semester, the student may be required to reimburse the assistantship funding source for the prorated share of their exempted tuition, and is typically responsible for FICA tax payments to the federal government. 

When an assistantship is forfeited due to failure to maintain a good academic standing, the student may be reemployed as a Graduate Assistant in a subsequent semester after the student regains good academic standing. For all other reasons for forfeiture, the student may be ineligible for future employment as a graduate assistant.

The student may appeal the forfeiture of his or her graduate assistantship to the applicable College Dean, whose decisions may in turn be appealed following the prescribed process for appeals as specified in the Saints Community Standards or Catalogue, depending upon whether the issue is academic, behavioral, or other type.


3.11.8 - HISTORY

This is a new policy.

3.11.9 - APPENDIX

There are no appendices to this Policy.

3.11.10 - APPROVALS

Laura Custer, Director of Human Resources

Dr. Kathleen Jagger, Acting President