College of Graduate Studies

Graduate Assistantship

Graduate Assistantships

Below is a list of informational documents to help guide you through the Graduate Assistantship hiring process. The Graduate Assistantship Policy 274 can be found on policy central.


Both the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools (TCGS) maintain the position that the goal of the graduate assistantship should be to enhance the ability of the student to complete his or her graduate degree. Enhancement of the ability to complete the degree should not be interpreted such that the financial support provided by the graduate assistantship is the only part of the graduate assistantship that helps the student to achieve the goal of completing the graduate degree. 

Programs of graduate study are designed to transform the individual from student to (knowledgeable practitioner or) professional scholar. When a graduate assistantship is well conceived and executed, it should serve as an ideal instrument to help facilitate the desired transformation. The primary goal of an assistantship, then, is to facilitate progress toward the graduate degree. Rather than interfere or conflict with the student’s educational objective, the assistantship is to aid in the prompt and successful completion of the degree program. While the student assistant makes progress toward an advanced degree, he or she also receives work experience in a profession under the supervision of a faculty mentor. The graduate assistant is both student and employee. As a student, the graduate assistant must perform well academically to retain the assistantship. A graduate assistant will receive counseling and performance evaluation regularly by a faculty mentor to develop his/her professional skills. As an employee, the graduate assistant must to meet teaching, research, and/or administrative obligations. He or she is to work under the supervision of experienced faculty and receive in-service training. In sum, the graduate assistant receives financial support for graduate study by contributing to the teaching and/or research mission of the university. The totality of responsibility may be greater than that required of other students or staff members, but the opportunities for professional development also are greater for the graduate assistant.

- Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools (C.W. Minkel & Mary P. Richards, 1987, A Model Policy for Graduate Assistantships Administration)

Accepting/Declining an Assistantship

Tennessee Tech adheres to the following for full-year assistantships: Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants Acceptance of an offer of financial support (such as a graduate scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, or assistantship) for the next academic year by a prospective or enrolled graduate student completes an agreement that both student and graduate school expect to honor. In that context, the conditions affecting such offers and their acceptance must be defined carefully and understood by all parties. Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. In those instances in which a student accepts an offer before April 15, and subsequently desires to withdraw that acceptance, the student may submit in writing a resignation of the appointment at any time through April 15. However, an acceptance given or left in force after April 15 commits the student not to accept another offer without first obtaining a written release from the institution to which a commitment has been made. Similarly, an offer by an institution after April 15 is conditional on presentation by the student of the written release from any previously accepted offer. It is further agreed by the institution and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.

-National Council of Graduate Schools

Graduate Assistantship : STUDENT Information

Graduate Assistantships are only available to students who have been admitted with full standing into a Tennessee Tech graduate degree program.

A limited number of Graduate Assistantships are available throughout the University. Graduate Assistantships provide tuition remission at an in-state rate, a percentage of your fees, and a modest monthly stipend. Graduate Assistants are responsible for all fees not covered by the assistantship. All fees must be paid by the fee payment deadlines posted by the Tennessee Tech Bursar Office each semester.

Persons interested in applying for a Graduate Assistantship should submit their Graduate Assistantship application to the individual college or department they are interested in working with. Direct contact with each college or department is encouraged as additional application materials and references may be required and some departments may also have specific deadlines for assistantship applications as stated above.

Below are the instructions to apply for a Graduate Assistantship. The criteria listed are required for all assistantships; however, each department may require more information (e.g. letters of recommendation, personal statement, etc.). You must contact the "Contact Person" listed below for more information about their criteria.

Steps for Applying:

1.Complete the Graduate Assistantship application located below.

2.Save the application to your computer and email it as an attachment to the appropriate contact person listed below in the Departments Offering Assistantships.

3.Along with the application, please send your resume and all additional information you feel may be helpful to the contact person.

4.Wait for a response from the contact person regarding additional information or documentation that may require be required (e.g. letters of recommendation, personal statement, etc.).

5.If you have not heard anything within one week, please follow up with the contact person.

Additional Information:

There is no limit to the number of graduate assistant positions you may apply for.

In order to begin your assistantship, you must be fully admitted into your graduate degree program and be enrolled as a full-time graduate student.

In order to remain eligible for an assistantship, you must maintain a minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 3.0 each semester.

Graduate Assistantship Application Graduate Assistant Application
Stipend Amount by College/Department Graduate Assistantship Stipends.pdf

Tax Implications:

Tuition benefits offered to graduate assistants are generally excluded from taxable income under section 117(d) of the Internal Revenue Code (IRC). However, section 117(d) only excludes from taxable income tuition benefits for graduate students who are engaged in teaching activities or research activities at the University.  Graduate assistants not engaged in such teaching or research activities at the University (support assistants), who receive tuition benefits that exceed $5,250 in a calendar year cannot be excluded from taxable income section 117(d).  This amount will be added to the taxable income on your December paycheck and will increase your tax liability and possibly your federal income deduction.  This amount does not increase your net pay.  You may want to adjust your W-4 withholding allowance accordingly to minimize the negative financial impact this could have on your December paycheck.

Mandatory Training for Graduate Assistants

All Graduate Assistants must complete a series of on-line training courses that cover the following topics:

  • Title VI - Discrimination
  • Title IX - Sexual Discrimination

Visit the TTU Human Resources Training webpage to complete the online training program.  This must be complete within 30 days of your GA start date.

Graduate Assistants must also comply with all FERPA requirements

Graduate students should complete the annual security awareness online training modules.

Graduate Assistantship: Hiring College or DEPARTMENT INFORMATION

When offering an assistantship it is important that the student understands it is only an offer and that the College of Graduate Studies (COGS) is the final approval authority. An assistantship is not valid until the College of Graduate Studies has approved it. Departments are encouraged to develop supplemental procedures for administration of those assistantships allocated to them. Areas which may be addressed in these procedures include, but are not limited to:

- Establishing deadlines for submission of applications.

- Establishing the date for offer notification.

- Criteria for assessment of applications.

- Graduate Assistant job responsibilities.


PAF'S:  All Graduate Assistantship PAF's along with the original offer letter are to be submitted via DOCUSIGN to the College of Graduate Studies by the following deadlines each semester:

Fall:  July 27th
Spring:  November 23rd 
Summer:  April 27th 

PAF Start and End Dates:

SUMMER 2018:

GTA, Both sessions:  Start 5/29/18 End 8/10/18
GTA, 1ST SUMMER SESSION: Start  5/29/18   End 7/6/18
GTA, 2ND SUMMER SESSION: Start 7/2/18 End 8/10/18

GSA, Both sessions:  Start 6/4/18  End 8/7/18
GSA, 1st Summer session: Start 6/4/18 End 7/3/18
GSA, 2nd Summer session: Start 7/9/18 End 8/7/18

GRA: Start and end at any time during the month

FALL 2018 and Spring 2019:

GTA, Both semesters:  Start 8/20/18, End 5/3/19
GTA, Fall Only: Start 8/20/18, End 12/14/18
GTA, Spring only: Start 1/7/19, End 5/3/19

GSA, Both semesters:  Start 8/27/18, End 4/26/19
GSA, Fall only:  Start 8/27/18, End 12/7/18
GSA, Spring only:  Start 1/14/19, End 4/26/19

GRA: Start and end at any time during the month

Steps for Hiring a Graduate Assistant Steps for Hiring a Graduate Assistant
Graduate Assistantship Start and End Dates GA Start and End Dates per Semester
Graduate Assistant PAF Flowchart Processing GA PAF Flow Chart

Maintaining Graduate Assistant Files

All graduate assistant worker file records are subject to audit by: Immigration and Naturalization Services, The Department of Labor, The State Comptroller of the Treasury, Open Records Act, and Tennessee Tech Internal Audit.

The hiring department is required to keep a file (online or paper) for each graduate assistant employed by that department.  Each graduate assistant worker file must contain: Graduate assistantship application, copy of graduate assistantship offer letter(s), copy of Personnel Action Form(s), copy of valid I-9 card, all training material including dates of completion of Title VI and Title IX online training courses, GTA Academic Preparation Certification Form (when applicable), work performance evaluation for each semester of employment, and all re-appointment offer letters. Below you will find links to the documents you will need for the GA file.

Graduate Assistantship: Offer Letters

Graduate Assistantship Offer Letter       The signed offer letter must be attached to the DocuSign PAF.

*All Graduate Assistantship offer letters for international students must be sent to the International Student Affairs Office (Andrew Bleignier) when issuing the offer to the student and then again upon acceptance, for the completion of the I-20.

Research Graduate Assistant: Intellectual Property Policy

Graduate Research Assistants need to have a complete understanding of Tennessee Tech's Intellectual Property policies and how it may impact them. Advise all Research Assistants to visit the Tennessee Tech Intellectual Property website and the TBR Intellectual Property website.

Graduate Assistant: Hiring Documents & Training

Effective May 2018, the GA PAF is processed online with digital signatures using the DocuSign system.  Before initiating the DocuSign PAF, the following information should be available for input into the system:  student information including T#, address, birthdate, email, first semester enrolled at TTU as a graduate student, current program code, FOPAL string, signed and scanned offer letter, number of hours registered, citizenship, and visa status.

NOTE:  Verify that you have a copy of the student's I-9 work authorization card before completing the PAF.

The GA PAF is found at the Human Resources website:HR Forms Page
Directions for completing the PAF are also found at the HR website:  HR Directions

Graduate Assistant Teaching Associate Academic Preparation Certification Form*Only used when hiring a Teaching Associate

Graduate Assistant Training


Evaluation is a very important part of the Graduate Assistantship experience. The evaluation should be an ongoing process of communication between the Graduate Assistant and the supervisor. A formal evaluation should be performed each semester and the results maintained in the departments Graduate Assistant worker file.

Graduate Support or Research Assistant Evaluation GA Support and Research Evaluation
Graduate Teaching Evaluation GA Teaching Evaluation