To assist you with the student employment process, Graduate Education has prepared the following materials:
- Graduate Students: Enrollment and Employment presentation slides (PDF)
- Graduate Student Employment/Enrollment summary table (PDF)
- FAQs below (organized by topic)
You will also find the related graduate student policies in the Policy Library. Please email feedback regarding any of these resources to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is the minimum registration for a graduate teaching assistant (GTA) or graduate research assistant (GRA)?
All GRAs and GTAs must be enrolled full time, which is at least 12 credit hours.
I am hiring a student part time as a graduate assistant (GA) to answer phones and do clerical work. Do they have to be registered for classes?
All graduate student employees should be registered. The minimum registration for a GA is three credit hours. If the student has no registration options, they must be hired as an hourly Student Assistant in pay group 03C.
I am in a unit outside the colleges and hiring a graduate student to do research. I don’t know whether the student is registered or not. How can I make sure I am in compliance with the policy?
We recommend that you ask the student to provide proof of registration (if you are using a graduate student employment status and do not have access to Banner).
My sponsored project budget was approved including a switch from GRA to GA in the summer for the graduate student employees. I will overspend if I hire the student as a GRA now. May I go ahead and do what was approved in the budget?
Yes. All grant budgets approved before May 2015 will be honored with regard to approved graduate student employment status. To request an exception, send a scan of the budget documents that show the approval to email@example.com. Be sure to include the student’s name and GTID, and the term of the exception. Note: Graduate students must be registered for a minimum of 3 credit hours to be hired as a GA. If the student is temporarily not registered for classes but will be enrolled the following semester, they can be employed as an hourly Student Assistant (SA).
Can I compensate a graduate student for their work through one-time, special pay?
Special pay or one-time compensation may only be used in very limited situations for graduate students. It may not be used for work related to the student’s thesis or dissertation, or for work in support of academic progress. Special pay may only be used for one-time projects that are clearly defined (i.e., conference coordination, photography or graphic work for a specific project or event, administrative work, etc.) and are valued less than $2,000.
Can I compensate a graduate student for their work by awarding a fellowship?
The simple answer is no. All fellowship questions should be directed to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.
Can I hire a student as a Tech Temp for one semester?
It is not necessary to hire a student as a Tech Temp unless they have graduated or they will not be enrolled in classes two semesters or more. Talk to your unit’s human resources contact about how to hire a Tech Temp if you plan to hire a student who has graduated or will not be taking classes for two semesters or more. The Georgia Tech Human Resources (GTHR) website outlines all of the steps needed to hire someone on a temporary basis.
Note: Students who are not registered for classes for a semester but will be enrolled the following semester can be hired as an hourly Student assistant (SA). These students will be subject to income tax and deductions (Medicare and Georgia Define Contribution Plan) because they will not meet the IRS student exclusion criteria. Please visit the Graduate Student Enrollment and Employment Policy for more information.
Summer Employment/Limited Hours
How do I convert my GRA to a GA during the summer?
You don’t. A student funded on a project as a GRA should remain a GRA throughout their involvement on the project. See the Graduate Student Enrollment and Employment Policy.
I am hiring a student full time for the summer. The student wants to register for one class and is willing to pay the tuition herself. May I hire her as a GA?
No. Graduate students who are enrolled in less than three credit hours during the summer or not registered for classes at all should be hired as an hourly Student Assistant (SA) and can work up to 40 hours per week. Check with human resources for limitations on the total number of hours an individual can work in a temporary status during a one-year period (to be sure this individual will not exceed the maximum during the time they work for you).
I want to hire a graduate student for a month or so this summer who is starting her doctoral program in the fall. May I hire her as a GRA or GA?
No. The student is not yet enrolled and should not be hired in a student employment category.
If a faculty member is paying a student from federal funds (e.g., NSF funds), and the student will be absent for two to four weeks during the summer, what employment status is appropriate? The student will be registered for thesis hours only.
The student should be hired as a GRA and use schedule flexibility to make up the hours of work missed when they are away from campus.
How do I hire a graduate student for about 10 hours a week to do grading for my class?
For less than 10 hours per week, a graduate student can be hired as a GA to do a variety of tasks including, but not limited to, classroom support, grading, research, and administrative work. The student must be registered for a minimum of three credit hours and will not receive a tuition waiver.
If a student is defending a thesis and graduating this term and qualifies to pay for just one credit of tuition, may I use the GA mechanism to hire them for the term?
A student may work as a GA in their approved one-credit hour term. The student must meet the one-hour stipulation of being in their term of graduation, and the one-hour reduction from normal minimum course load may only be used once. (Note: If applicable, coverage under the voluntary student health insurance plan requires enrollment in more than four credit hours, which the student will have to pay her/himself.) Alternatively, the student could remain working as a GRA with full-time course enrollment and the tuition waiver applied.
If a student is graduating this term, deposited the thesis in the first week of the term, and thus qualifies for the enrollment waiver, may I use the GA mechanism to hire her for two months to finish up her project before she starts her new job?
No. The student has completed all degree requirements and will not be enrolled in coursework, therefore he or she should not be employed in a student category.
My GRA is graduating in December and does not start his new job until March. May I keep him on as a GA for January and February?
No. After the student has received a degree, he should not be employed in a student category.
Is there a difference in the number of hours that an international student and a domestic student can work?
There may be. Contact the Office of International Education and/or Global Human Resources to ensure you are in compliance.
How do I request an exception to the Graduate Student Enrollment and Employment Policy?
To request an exemption to the Policy Library's Graduate Student Enrollment and Employment Policy, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include student name, GTID, and the specific reason for the exception.
I am on the staff of a school, and a unit outside the colleges is hiring one of our graduate students. They asked us to enter the tuition waiver. How can I be sure that the student has not been hired as a GA?
You can — and should — check hiring status in TechWorks. You are responsible for making sure that the tuition waivers allocated to your school are used appropriately. The student should be registered for research or teaching credits to reflect the work done in the other unit. The hiring unit should identify a faculty member in your school to provide academic supervision for the research or teaching credits.
What granting agencies do not allow GRA’s to serve as teaching assistants (TAs)?
Our department considers teaching assignments to be part of the educational process and students may spend three to five hours per week on TA duties, up to a limited number of assignments. Please consult with the Office of Sponsored Programs about the specific terms of the grant in question. Remember that small teaching assignments may be built into a student’s educational program for credit rather than pay.
GT GradWorks allows faculty and their supporting staff to view and submit GRA, GTA, and GA position and hire requests, obtain request status, and manage current assignments.