Graduate assistantships (GA) are an excellent way for a graduate student to gain experience within their field of study. As GAs are involved in work assignments that further the missions of the University, particularly its teaching and research missions, they also assist programs and other hiring units across the University in various aspects of the work done around the University.

Much of the basic information concerning Graduate Assistantships is also relevant to graduate students who are interested in becoming a GA. Please see Graduate Assistantships - Information for Students for this foundational information. The information on this webpage is directed to GA hiring units.

The compensation package for GAs has two components:

  • The stipend component is funded by the hiring unit
  • The tuition waiver component is funded by the College of Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR)

Graduate assistantship appointments require both compensation components. (Compensation details can be found below.) The College of Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR) oversees the administration of graduate assistantships at NEIU.

GA tuition waivers come from a graduate tuition waiver budget that is allocated to CGSR by the University Budget Office as part of the annual budget preparation process. As this is a limited resource, there are a limited number of graduate assistantships that are available each year.

In Spring 2021, UPBC approved a GA restructuring proposal that established a GA approval rubric which provides a mechanism to approve the awarding of graduate assistantships, while staying within the tuition waiver budget and maximizing the impact of this resource. That rubric has two elements:  (1) the key criteria for approval; and (2) an award mechanism that allows the application of those criteria. The award mechanism is described in detail below.

The key criterion for a work experience to be eligible for a Graduate Assistantship is that it must provide the GA with an opportunity to advance their academic experience in the discipline of their graduate program. The full set of criteria are:

  1. It will advance the student’s experience in the discipline of their graduate program
  2. It will entail some form of formal disciplinary mentorship
  3. It allows the resources that support the Graduate Assistantship to enhance the quality of the affiliated graduate program(s)

Graduate Assistantship Categories 

There are three basic categories of graduate assistantship:

  • Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)

GRAs are responsible for working on research or creative activities projects in collaboration with or under the direction of a faculty member. Duties assigned to GRAs need to be relevant to the graduate program of the student. Thus, these experiences extend the student’s research experience and professional development. Through working with an experienced researcher, graduate students will have the opportunity to develop critical research or creative skills.

Note: This category includes RCA GA’s. This type of assistantship is awarded via a University-wide competitive process and are two-term, fall/spring appointments. RCA-GA awards are funded by CGSR. Other GRA appointments can be awarded via the semester-based GA request process. (see below)

Examples of duties for GRAs include:

  • Conducting experiments
  • Creating surveys
  • Collecting data
  • Data entry for analyzing data
  • Analyzing data and running statistical models
  • Completing IRB submissions for the use of human subjects
  • Collaborating in preparing publications
  • Library research
  • Other scholarly or creative activities as needed
     
  • Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

A Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) provides learning support in classrooms under the supervision of a university faculty member. Their primary duties are to enhance the quality of learning delivered to students, and they are selected for their discipline-specific content knowledge, specialized skills, professional experience, and ability to provide instructional support to students.

Examples of duties for GTAs include:

  • Assembling classroom materials
  • Facilitating class discussion groups
  • Preparing, coordinating, and supervising laboratory sessions
  • Proctoring and grading tests/quizzes
  • Managing learning technology
     
  • Pre-Professional Graduate Assistant (PPGA)

Pre-professional Graduate Assistantships are disciplinary-specific apprenticeships during which the student becomes more effective as a member of their disciplinary field through formal mentorship. Each assistantship is designed both to serve the needs of the University and to assist in the professional development of the student.

GA Tutors: The PPGA category includes a special class of graduate student tutors, known as GA Tutors. In addition to standard tutoring responsibilities, GA tutors have additional higher-level responsibilities and mentored professional development. The GA Tutor category is intended for students who are planning teaching careers. The Learning Support Center hosts a small number of GA Tutors, and have an outline of the additional responsibilities expected of their GA Tutors.

graduate assistantship compensation 

GAs receive a semester-based compensation package that comprises a modest stipend as well as course tuition waiver(s) commensurate with the average weekly time commitment of the assistantship.

Since the primary purpose of graduate assistantships is to provide an experience that advances the student’s experience in the discipline of their graduate program, the intent is to provide a semester-based compensation package for the work they are expected to do as part of that experience. Nevertheless, since there is a work expectation, they are paid through the Office of Human Resources (to comply with IRS regulations), and some of the required paperwork (such as the monthly time report) reflects the time-based nature of a GA appointment.

GA Compensation

  • 20 hours of work per week = $600 stipend per month PLUS tuition waiver for three courses (9 credit hours) per semester
  • 15 hours of work per week = $450 stipend per month PLUS tuition waiver for two courses (6 credit hours) per semester
  • 10 hours of work per week = $300 stipend per month PLUS tuition waiver for one course (3 credit hours) per semester

GA tuition waivers cover all tuition components (the resident portion, the non-resident portion, and differential tuition (if charged). They do NOT cover fees.

Start/end dates

Graduate assistantships are semester-based appointments. Although the exact time frame of the appointment may vary, the default hiring schedule is shown below.

Please note: CGSR approval is required for all GA appointments. Students may not begin work prior to approval notification.

  • Fall semester: Aug. 16 through Dec. 15 (or Jan. 15)
  • Spring Semester: Jan. 16 through May 15 
  • Summer 1: May 16 through Aug. 15
  • Summer 1A: May 16 through June 30
  • Summer 2: July 1 through Aug. 15

(Fall GA appointments that continue through Winter Session can extend through January 15)

Semester

Hrs Per Week

Monthly Stipend

Total Stipend

Course Tuition Waivers

Fall or Spring

10

$300

$1,200

1

Fall or Spring

15

$450

$1,800

2

Fall or Spring

20

$600

$2,400

3

Summer 1

10

$300

$900

1

Summer 1

15

$450

$1,350

2

Summer 1

20

$600

$1,800

3

Su 1A & Su 2

10

N/A

N/A

N/A

Su 1A & Su 2

15

$450

$675

1

Su 1A & Su 2

20

$600

$900

2

Work documentation

There is a work expectation for the compensation that Graduate Assistants receive. Therefore, we are required to document that the average weekly work expectation has been fulfilled. This is a state auditing requirement. At the beginning of each semester, CGSR will email GAs a time report template to be signed by the student and their supervisor and submitted monthly to CGSR.

graduate assistantship approval process 

Many graduate assistantships at NEIU are recurring appointments from year to year, meet the eligibility requirements, and offer excellent opportunities for our graduate students. As part of the annual budget process, these are “budgeted” for the year, with the tuition waivers guaranteed. The set of “budgeted” GA positions is reconsidered each year as part of the annual budget preparation process. Hiring units will be informed of their “budgeted” GA waiver allocation at the beginning of the new fiscal year. Hiring units should coordinate with the corresponding graduate program to recruit students for these budgeted GA positions.

A limited number of additional tuition waivers are available for semester-based Graduate Assistantships. Hiring units that are interested in applying for these semester-based appointments need to submit a GA Appointment Request form. Please email graduatestudies@neiu.edu to obtain a Request Form. Review of these requests will begin on the following dates:

  • FallAug. 1
  • SpringNov. 15
  • SummerApril 1

Requests are prioritized and approved by a small committee comprising the College GELs (Graduate Education Liaisons) and the CGSR Dean. PLEASE NOTE: If a hiring unit recruits a student for a requested position, you may inform the student that they have been nominated for a position, but please do not tell them they will be a GA until after the request has been awarded through this mechanism.

how to hire a graduate assistant 

If you have a graduate assistantship vacancy or have been approved to create a new graduate assistantship, you may identify a candidate yourself for the position and/or re-hire a student from the previous semester. A completed Recommended Appointment to Graduate Assistant Position form (GA hiring form) should be submitted to CGSR by no later than the first day of class of the semester for which the GA is hired. This will help to ensure that the GA is paid in a timely manner. CGSR provides a blank GA form template to the programs.

If you do not have a suitable candidate, CGSR maintains a list of interested students who may be a good match for your graduate assistantship position. To request assistance with this matching process, please complete the request for grad assistant form. CGSR matches your request with student GA applications based on the position description and requirements. We forward several (usually 3-5) top applications to you. You conduct phone/in-person interviews to pick the best candidate. Once a hiring decision has been made, a GA hiring form should be completed and submitted to CGSR as described above.