Graduate Assistantships Overview

All full-time, on-campus degree-seeking students are eligible for assistantships within their home departments and in other offices on campus.

If you did not indicate that you were interested in an assistantship when you applied or did not indicate that you were interested in assistantships outside of your home department, you will need to send an email to requesting that your application be updated accordingly to reflect your interests.

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Am I eligible to hold an assistantship?

In order to be considered for a graduate assistantship, you must be...

  • Enrolled in a graduate degree program on campus in Boone. If you are not a degree-seeking student, you are not eligible. Students enrolled in certificate programs who are not also enrolled in a degree program are not eligible.  Online, non-degree, and licensure-only students are not eligible.
  • Admitted without provision. If you were admitted provisionally, you are not eligible for graduate assistantships during your first semester, but you may hold one in subsequent semesters if you are in good academic standing.
  • A full-time graduate student, enrolled for 9 to 12 semester hours during the fall/spring semester or enrolled for 2 to 6 semester hours during the summer term. Summer assistantships require that the student be enrolled for a minimum of 2 semester hours, which must either be concurrent enrollment in the same summer term as their assistantship, or coursework completed in the prior summer term (i.e., enrolled in first summer session and assistantship in second summer session).
    • Students hired in the summer as a GTF (instructor of record) are exempt from the 2 hour minimum enrollment requirement. This exemption does NOT apply to GTAs.
    • Courses must be graduate level courses or required prerequisite courses listed on the program of study.
    • The only exception to the full-time rule for assistantships is for students in the semester of graduation, in which case you can be enrolled in 6 hours instead of 9 to 12, provided you have applied to graduate. 
      • Note: this exception ONLY applies to graduate assistantships. Financial aid, scholarships, and student health insurance all define full-time enrollment as 9+ hours.
  • Performing academically to maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0.

What is the compensation for an assistantship?

Assistantships are considered paid employment; you will be expected to work up to 300 hours over the course of the semester or term depending on whether your assistantship is full (20 hours per week times the number of weeks) or half (10 hours). Graduate Assistants are limited to a maximum of 20 hours of university employment. Your appointment form will be paid bi-monthly, and your check will be sent to your ASU Box or in some cases your home department. You can elect to receive direct deposit as well, and we highly recommend that. Salaries vary, but the minimum hourly rate for an hourly-paid assistantship is $15.00 per hour; some programs pay more.

Important note: You still have to pay tuition and fees; these are not included in your assistantship compensation. Health benefits are not included in your assistantship compensation either, but all full-time students pay a health services fee that covers use of the on-campus clinic.

How many hours may I work?

Graduate assistantship contracts are for 10 or 20 hours per week.  It is up to the hiring unit as to which of these two contracts will be offered.  Please note that full-time graduate students may not be employed by Appalachian for more than a total of 20 hours per week without permission from the Graduate School.

What assistantships are available?

Assistantships within your home departments

Departments with graduate programs have graduate assistantships available for a number of their full time students. You should contact your program director to inquire about availability. These assistantships are usually teaching related (GTA or GTFA) or research related (GRA), but sometimes a departmental graduate assistant will perform an administrative function (GAA).

Other Available Graduate Assistantships

In addition to those offered by the academic departments, other assistantships are available throughout the University. See our Job Posting Page for recently advertised positions. For even more campus employment opportunities, you may also want to visit our page of additional Student Employment Opportunities. These opportunities are positions not processed through the Graduate School but that other offices have asked us to share.

What happens if I am offered an assistantship?

Step 1: 

When you are offered a position you will need to work with the department hiring you to complete the assistantship appointment form. The OFFICE initiates the form detailing the duties, supervisor, funding source, etc.  You must be enrolled for the required numbers of hours for the department to be able to submit an appointment form request. 

Step 2:

You will receive an email with the electronic document for you to read, initial, and sign your acceptance.  Once you accept all terms,  your form will then be routed for all other approvals.  Once complete, the Graduate School will review for processing. 

Step 3 (*if necessary):

Assistantships constitute  employment at Appalachian.  Employment paperwork is filled out once on your very first employment as a graduate assistant at Appalachian. Students who have not held employment at Appalachian State University within the last 365 days must complete tax forms (NC-4 or NC-4EZ and W4), I-9 form, and the E-Verify printout prior to working ANY hours.  These forms must be completed in the Office of Human Resource.  New hires will be contacted directly by Human Resources via email to complete the hiring process.  This paperwork includes:

  • I-9 (proof that you are eligible to work in the US) with official, original IDs
    • For US citizens, the official, original IDs traditionally supplied are a passport OR both a driver's license and social security card.
    • Permanent residents must supply their Permanent Residency card (green card) and social security card for their official, original IDs.
    • International students (non-resident aliens) must supply their passport and all visa documents for their official, original IDs. In addition, international students will need to present their social security card to the Office of Human Resources once obtained. The Office of International Education and Development (OIED) will assist international students with applying for and obtaining a social security card.
  • Tax forms for North Carolina (NC4) and the Federal government (W4). You might want to get some advice on the number of exemptions you should claim on these forms before you come over. If you are claimed on someone else's taxes, you would enter 0. If you are not, you can claim yourself (1) or more if you have dependents.
  • Appointment form addendum for new assistantships (FERPA, Social Security, Selective Service)
  • Statement of Confidentiality form (this form is also a part of your Electronic Appointment Form)

Step 4:

Once all employment paperwork and appointment forms have been received and completed your current student record is reviewed. Provided all eligibility requirements are met, our office will then submit your  position to payroll.

When do I get paid?

If all paperwork is processed in a timely manner prior to starting your assistantship, you can expect to be paid twice monthly.  Effective Fall 2014, all graduate assistants will be paid twice monthly.   Teaching positions do not submit online electronic timesheets (however, a hard copy should be kept on file in the department for auditing purposes).  Teaching positions are paid in "equal installment amounts" based on total salary amount and appointment time period.

All Research or Administrative positions MUST submit an online electronic timesheet to a supervisor for approval every two weeks.    GRA and GAA positions are paid based upon timesheet entry for hours actually worked.   Failure to submit electronic timesheets will result in paycheck delays.  The hiring department is responsible for instructing you on when and how to submit your timesheet .  The department must keep a timesheet copy on file for auditing purposes. 


Where do I find the training for GAs?

All graduate assistants must complete the Legal Issues Training once each year in order to continue payment beyond your first pay check. This training is not onerous; most students have told us it takes them 30 to 60 minutes total. The training is online, and there is a quiz for you to take at the end, which lets us know you completed the training.