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2007-08 Graduate Assistant Appointment and Stipend Guidelines

Appointment Guidelines

Appointments of graduate teaching assistants typically are computed on the basis of an academic year (9 months). Appointments of graduate research assistants typically are computed on the basis of a fiscal year (12 months). In each instance, an appointment may be for a portion or all of the 9- or 12-month period. No appointment can be for less than 0.20 FTE or more than 0.49 FTE for any academic term. All graduate assistants are required to be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits each term of their appointment during the academic year (9 credits during summer term) to be eligible for the graduate assistantship stipend, tuition remission, and health insurance benefit.

Effective October 1, 2006, graduate assistants with a full-time equivalent appointment of .20 FTE or greater shall receive a lump sum payment of $250 for each term during an academic year, not including summer term.

Graduate assistants not performing service are required to perform duties at OSU to justify their stipends. For example, graduate assistants on 0.30 FTE appointments are expected to provide effort of 156 hours during each 13-week term of their appointment. Graduate assistants at other FTE levels are expected to provide proportional levels of effort. Since graduate research assistants ordinarily use research under their appointment as part of a thesis, separating work for which they are paid and work for their thesis is not an easy task. Therefore, it may be appropriate to spend more hours per week on research activities when they are related to the student's thesis. In any case, care should be taken to assure that the level of effort is commensurate with the level of FTE for both graduate teaching and graduate research assistants.

Although tuition remission accompanies an assistantship and enhances the value of the appointment to the student, the tuition remission is not a part of the stipend. The tuition remission per se is not to be considered in determining the hours of service required of the assistant.

Departments are required to articulate in each graduate assistant’s letter of offer the details of the appointment (e.g., contract dates, FTE, monthly stipend/salary, tuition remission, the $250/term salary supplement, health insurance benefits, etc.), and expectations regarding specific work assignments and work schedules. Model appointment letters are available on the Office of Human Resources web site (http://oregonstate.edu/admin/hr/gradstud/home.html.) Specification of these details at the onset diminishes the potential for miscommunication later and is good practice.

Administrative-Academic Unit Partnering for Graduate Assistantships

Only academic units may award tuition remissions (see Graduate Tuition Remission Policy, http://oregonstate.edu/dept/grad_school/faculty/remissionpolicy.html.) The intent of this policy is to maximize the use of graduate tuition remissions for the purpose of recruiting the best and most qualified graduate students to OSU for graduate study. Administrative units may, however, fund graduate assistant stipends by supplying the stipend dollars and OPE to a unit eligible to award tuition remissions (i.e., to an academic program, department, college and/or interdisciplinary degree program reporting to the Dean of the Graduate School.) That is, administrative units may continue to use graduate assistants, but they must do so by partnering with an academic unit/program and coupling their stipend funds to the academic unit’s tuition remission.

To achieve this objective, administrative units will now be required to work with the academic units where students will be enrolled in the following way:

  • Specify the qualifications and skills associated with the graduate assistant position to be filled.
  • Identify the academic program(s) most likely to attract a pool of graduate student applicants who will have the desired qualifications/skill set.
  • Collaborate with an academic unit to make the assistantship offer with the goal of maximizing the recruitment of the best and most qualified graduate students to OSU.
  • Make every effort to engage this process during the graduate student recruiting season with the goal of making the assistantship offer by the national offer deadline of April 15.
  • Based on funding source, either transfer the stipend funds to the academic unit in which the student is enrolled or provide the academic unit with an appropriate payment index (for details by funding source, see “Guidelines for Accounting & Reimbursement-GA Tuition Remission”).
  • Please note that this policy requires a minimum appointment level of 0.20 FTE for academic year.

Inter-institutional Graduate Assistants

The following represents an agreement between Oregon State University, University of Oregon, Portland State University and Western Oregon University regarding the employment of graduate students. OUS graduate students employed as graduate assistants on any OUS campus participating in this agreement will be subject to the eligibility requirements, policies and procedures established for graduate appointments by the employing campus. Appointments in which the employing institution is not the student’s academic home institution must receive prior approval by the Graduate Dean/Director of the employing institution.

Appointments of Non-OSU Graduate Student on OSU Graduate Assistantship

Attempts to fill the position from among the pool of OSU enrolled graduate students must be exhausted. All provisions of the OSU Graduate Tuition Remission Policy and the CGE bargaining agreement must be met, including minimum and maximum appointment levels and enrollment requirements. Letters of appointment for non-OSU graduate students must inform the student that as a condition of their continued appointment as a graduate assistant at OSU, he/she must register and maintain a minimum of 12 credits at his/her home institution during all terms of the assistantship (9 credits during summer session.) Should subsequent changes in registration result in enrollment below 12 credits for the term, eligibility for the appointment will be forfeited. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the employing department and the OSU Graduate School of changes in registration that would render the student ineligible for the assistantship.

OUS Graduate Students on Inter-institutional ( Split) Appointments

The OSU portion of a split graduate assistantship must meet all provisions of the OSU Graduate Tuition Remission Policy and the CGE bargaining agreement. The OSU portion of the split appointment must represent a work effort of a minimum .20 FTE (104 hours) during each 13-week period. When combined, the total employment effort for all portions of the split appointment must not exceed .49 FTE (255 hours) during each 13-week period. Graduate students employed on split graduate assistantship appointments must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credits at OSU (9 credits during summer session.) When all previous conditions have been met, tuition remission will be prorated according to the proportional FTE paid by each institution. In addition, the graduate assistant will be eligible for the OSU graduate assistant salary supplement and health insurance benefit. The health benefit will be offered and paid by OSU according to the policy/plan in effect at the time of the appointment only if the graduate assistant’s other employing institution does not offer a health insurance option.

Recommended Stipend Guidelines

Recommended guidelines for graduate stipends in 2007-08 are included on page 5 of this memorandum. Examples are given for graduate assistants appointed at 0.30 FTE. Adjustments to other FTE levels between 0.20 and 0.49 may be computed by the department as necessary. The recommended 2007-08 minimum annual rates have been developed to equalize actual monthly stipends for appointments at 9- and 12-month terms of service. In addition, recommended minimum annual rates are footnoted to reflect the stipend necessary to provide full financial certification for international students appointed at .49 FTE.

The collective bargaining agreement between OSU/OUS and the Coalition of Graduate Employees (CGE) American Federation of Teachers Local 6069 specifies a required minimum full-time equivalent monthly salary rate of $2,811 (see Article 11, Section 1.) While the 2007-08 Graduate School guidelines specify a recommended minimum full-time equivalent monthly salary rate of $3243 to remain competitive in the global graduate student marketplace, in all cases, the CGE required minimum of $2,811 must be met.

In addition to specifying the required minimum full-time equivalent monthly salary rate of $2,811, the collective bargaining agreement calls for selective salary increases for graduate employees appointed at a full-time equivalent monthly salary rate of $3,035 or less and at an appointment of .20 FTE or greater. Please refer to the following link for complete details: http://oregonstate.edu/admin/hr/gradstud/documents/contract.pdf.

The Graduate School recommends that stipends not be less than the minimum specified in Level I for graduate assistants at either the 9- or 12-month levels (0.20 FTE). Departments are strongly encouraged to provide stipends above these recommended levels as resources permit. Please review FTE and stipend levels to assure that there are no inadvertent gender or ethnic disparities among appointments. Levels II through IV portray recommended stipends that correspond to assignments with increased experience and education requirements.

PLEASE NOTE:

  • To fully satisfy financial certification requirements established for international students entering 2007-08, a minimum annual 9-month salary rate of $27,855 at .49 FTE would be required. Keep in mind that a stipend at this level would fall below the Graduate School’s recommended minimum of $29,187 and may not be competitive. It would, however, exceed the required minimum specified in the CGE contract. To fully satisfy financial certification requirements for 12-month appointments and satisfy the minimum salary requirement as specified in the CGE contract, a minimum salary rate of $33,732 at .49 FTE would be required. Appointments at this level would fall below the Graduate School’s recommended minimum of $38,916 and may not be competitive. Further, appointments with a full-time equivalent monthly salary rate of $3,035 or less and at an appointment of .20 FTE or greater may be eligible for selective salary increases as specified by the collective bargaining agreement.
  • For graduate students who are included in the bargaining unit, the Collective Bargaining Agreement specifies a required minimum full-time equivalent monthly salary rate of $2,811 (Article 11, Section 1.)

CGS Resolution

The Resolution adopted by the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) concerning offers of financial support and their acceptance during the graduate student recruitment cycle may be downloaded at http://cgsnet.org/portals/0/pdf/CGSResolutionAug2006.pdf. This long-standing policy states that, “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.” Offers of financial support include scholarships, fellowships, traineeships, or assistantships. Signing bonuses should also be considered as an offer of financial support. This Resolution also states that, “…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.”

Oregon State University is a participant in this Resolution, and as such, we seek your assistance in complying with its terms. Please read the Resolution carefully so that all parties understand the expectations implicit in agreements for financial support. You may also find helpful the discussion about this topic on the CGS web site at: http://cgsnet.org/Default.aspx?tabid=201. As recommended by CGS, a copy of this Resolution should be provided with each letter of offer, or you may refer students to the CGS web site.

TOEFL and SPEAK Test Requirements

Regular admission requires international students to meet minimum TOEFL score requirements of 550 (paper & pencil test) or 213 (computer based test). Graduate applicants must meet both the following subtest and total scores if Internet-based TOEFL (iBT) scores are submitted:
Reading: Minimum 18
Listening: Minimum 18
Speaking: Minimum 18
Writing: Minimum 18

Total Score: Minimum 80

A minimum score of 7.0 on the IELTS may be used as an alternate to the TOEFL test requirement. Regularly, conditionally, and provisionally admitted degree-seeking graduate students may qualify for graduate assistantships.

The SPEAK test, administered by the English Language Institute, will be required to establish the types of assignments given to international teaching assistants. The appointing department is responsible for assuring the SPEAK test has been taken, and for assuring compliance with language guidelines.


 

2007-08 GRADUATE ASSISTANTS - 9-MONTH APPOINTMENTS


  .20 FTE .49 FTE
Minimum (9-month) Annual Stipend¹ $5,837 $14.302

Suggested Minimum Levels at .30 FTE
Level FTE Annual
Stipend²,³
Monthly
Stipend
GTA I (beginning graduate) .30 $8,757 $ 973
GTA II (one year experience) .30 $8,928 $ 992
GTA III (MS or equivalent) .30 $9,108 $1,012
GTA IV (oral prelim completed) .30 $9,288 $1,032


¹ $29,187 9-month minimum annual rate
² A minimum of $27,855 at .49 FTE is needed to satisfy financial certification for 2007-08, if appointed 9 months.
³ Stipend levels vary among programs. Although the minimum stipend allowed is specified, units may elect to offer higher stipends than those shown. Stipends are computed here at .30 FTE for illustration purposes only, and may be adjusted proportionately for other FTE levels.
4 Increases of 2% are included in each level above GTA I. Appointments with a full-time equivalent monthly salary rate of $3,035 or less and at an appointment of .20 FTE of greater may be eligible for selective salary increases as specified by the collective bargaining agreement.


2007-08 GRADUATE ASSISTANTS - 12-MONTH APPOINTMENTS


  .20 FTE .49 FTE  
Minimum (12-month) Annual Stipend¹ $7,783 $19,069

Suggested Minimum Levels at .30 FTE
Level FTE Annual
Stipend²,³
Monthly
Stipend
GTA I (beginning graduate) .30 $11,676 $ 973
GTA II (one year experience) .30 $11,904 $ 992
GTA III (MS or equivalent) .30 $12,144 $1,012
GTA IV (oral prelim completed) .30 $12,384 $1,032


¹ $38,916 12-month minimum annual rate
² A minimum of $33,732 @ .49 FTE is needed to satisfy financial certification for 2007-08 and to meet collective bargaining agreement minimum requirements, if appointed 12 months.
³ Stipend levels vary among programs. Although the minimum stipend allowed is specified, units may elect to offer higher stipends than those shown. Stipends are computed here at .30 FTE for illustration purposes only, and may be adjusted proportionately for other FTE levels.
4 Increases of 2% are included in each level above GTA I. Appointments with a full-time equivalent monthly salary rate of $3,035 or less and at an appointment of .20 FTE of greater may be eligible for selective salary increases as specified by the collective bargaining agreement.


NOTE: One year's experience is defined as:

  • Registering for at least three terms as a full-time student here or elsewhere.
  • Maintaining satisfactory progress toward the degree.
  • Filing an acceptable graduate program.

The equivalent of a master's degree is defined by OUS as 45 graduate credits.