Assistant Guidelines/Procedures

1. Assistantship Appointment Dates- Please use the dates you are given from the Finance Office. The reason for specific dates is due to effort reporting.
  • A Fall/Spring Assistantship must complete 18 weeks of service. The dates will be sent out late April or early May.
  • A Summer Assistantship appointment must complete 12 weeks of service. The actual Summer appointment dates however must be June 1rst- July 31rst to avoid conflict with a Spring or Fall appointment. You'll need to indicate the actual 12wks of service in the note pad of the GRAD/NAPP form- i.e. 5/17- 8/13

2. New Appointments - are processed on an NAPP form (which will turn into a GFSA form).

The following should be reviewed:

  • Pay budget should be 423-98 10020
  • Object code- 164
  • The 'Class' field should be 'ACAD' and the 'Appt Type' field should be 'GRD'
  • End dates should agree with the dates sent out on the grad appt. dates email.
  • Page 3 of the appointment should reflect a "Y" in the 'System?' field.
  • Check the 1-9 date (page 3 put the cursor on the View 1-9 field, change to 'Y' and press PF8). International students -the appointment begin date cannot be prior to the /-9 work begin date and the appointment end date cannot be past the 1-9 end date. I print the form and write the 1-9 dates on it (so that I know I have checked it).
  • 19 Reminders:

- Appointment begin date cannot be prior to 19 begin date. If the 19 date is after the appointment date you need to determine to prorate the appointment or pay the full assistantship. If paying full assistants ship, note pad should state "the grad assistant will make up time missed & will full fill all requirements". Must also state that the assistantship will pay full tuition.

- If an 19 expires prior to the end of the semester the appointment can only be processes up the 19 end date. The last pay must be calculated in the same manner as an early termination.

- If an 19 is extended (after the appointment has been processed) process a GRAD form to change the end date to the semester end date. Do NOT indicate the action is a reappointment. The appt salary must be the full semester stipend. In the note pad explain your actions to payroll.

- New International students are initially only appointed for one semester - due to not receiving a social security number yet.

- Annual salary amount is one semester and agrees with the Grad stipend table in GURU for that grade of grad assistant.

- The monthly pay amount is correct. Fall/Spring grad appointments will be paid 5 equal pays (fall Aug- Dec. spring Jan - May). Summer grads receive 2 equal pays (June & July).

- First pay period should reflect the first month the pay will be received (example:reflect a 2 for Aug pay, a 3 for Sept pay, etc).

- The number of complete pays should equal the total number of pays the grad will receive for the full appointment. (example: appointed for one semester should be 5, if appointment is for fall & spring should be 10).

- Pop up window will ask "All of the duties assigned to this student...etc" The department must answer this with a 'Yes' or 'No'. The form will not allow you to continue if marked 'Unknown'.

- Note pad should indicate - budget, fund, and cost center to charge stipend & tuition and if the student will be registered 601 or 611.

- Forward the form to the Financial Officer if another Admin Area is being charged.

- Forward to the budget assistant if another CHHD budget is being charged.

3. A grad salary sheet is required for all grad appointments charged to miscellaneous or restricted funds.

Graduate Change Form

Graduate Change Form (Nurs)

4. GRAD reappointments/changes -are processed on a GRAD form. The following should be reviewed:

  • Effective date on grad changes.
  • Appointment dates on reappointments.
  • Pay budget - 423-98 1002
  • Salary should agree with Grad stipend table in GURU for the grade of grad appointment.
  • Review pop up window for completion.
  • 'Pay freq:' field should be 'GRAD'.
  • Pay check adjustment screen should be completed if making a grad change that involves retro or overpayments.
  • The first line (Present base rate pay) should reflect the new/current monthly stipend amount (the #wk, #days, #hours, rate/unit fields do not need to be completed).
  • The overpayment, retro pay lines should reflect the total amount overpaid or owed for retro pay.
  • Remaining complete pay periods and pay period amount.
  • Note pad should state budget, fund, and cost center, if the student is registered
  • 601or 611, and any other relevant information.

5. GRAZ form- is created by using the GRAD form and is used when transferring a Grad from one area to another area.

  • The first page is noted that the student is leaving the current area.
  • The next questions asks if the student is leaving the admin area- if transferring to another department within CHHD this will be marked 'N' no, if transferring outside of CHHD this will be marked 'Y' yes.
  • The note pad should state who in the new area the form should flow through for approval.
  • If the Grad stays within CHHD the form will submit to the current area's budget administrator for approval. Once approved the GRAD form is complete and a GRAZ form is created it submits to the Finance Office, and will be forwarded to the person indicated in the note pad. They will complete the required information and it will submit for approval by the department head. The form comes back to the Finance Office for approval.
  • If the Grad transfer's to another admin area the form will submit to the current area's budget administrator for approval. It will then submit to the Finance Office and be submitted to the new admin area.


TRMN form- Grad Terminations are processed on the TRMN form. Termination date is the last day the grad worked.

  • The last pay or pay back will be calculated based on the semester.
  • Divide the total semester stipend by the number of weeks to get the weekly rate. (Fall/Spring is 18 weeks, summer is 12 weeks)
  • Divide the weekly rate by 7 to get daily rate. With these figures you can calculate what the student has earned from the beginning of the appointment to the termination date.
  • Subtract the total stipends that have been paid to date. This amount will be the student's last pay.
  • If this is a negative figure it is the amount the student was overpaid. For an overpayment contact Alicia Fetzer. Please see the attached example.
  • Tuition will be paied by the Assistantship up to the terminaton date.
  • If the student does not withdraw from classes the department can elect to pay the remaining tuition (which cannot be charged to a grant) or request the tuition be prorated and the student will be responsible for the remaining balance.
  • If the student withdraws within a few days of the termination date the department is responsible for the full semester tuition.
  • The tuition balance remaining after the termination date must be charged to a grantAid slot, OGE, or MGR account.
  • Under no circumstances can this amount be charged to a Research Fund.

Termination Calculation


Student is appointed on a half time grade 12 for Fall semester (8/15/2010-12/18/10). Student terminates effective 10/22/2010.

Stipend for a grade 12 half time is $8122.50/semester, $1624.50/mo, $451.25/wk, $64.46/day.

Student has earned $4448.01(9wks $4061.25 + 6days $386.76). Student was paid $3249 ($1624.50/Aug + $1624.50/Sept). Student is due $1199.01for October ($4448.01- $3249).

Note Pad Information

Required Information - The note pad of the GFSAIGRAD/GRAZ forms must provide the following information:

  • The stipend pay budget, fund, and cost center- i.e. " charge stipend $1642.5/mth to 223-72 1001 cc: BBH Stip"
  • The tuition pay budget, fund, and cost center- i.e. " charge tuition to141-72 1001 cc: BBH GIA"
  • Indicate if the student will be registered 601/611 - " yes 6011611" or " no 6011611".

If registration changes during the appointment please notify me via email - This is very important. Tuition is reflected in Pay and Effort and must be reviewed/verified to ensure the correct tuition rate is charged.

Additional Wages paid to Graduate Students on an Assistantship Appointment

Additional duties- Departments must provide the Finance Office a memo or email with prior approvals from:

  • The administrative head of the academic unit in which the assistantship is held.
  • The chair of the student's graduate academic program

Provided that such compensation is not for additional hours of work on the assigned assistantship duties. If the additional duties are teaching/instruction of a course the assistantship must be increased (cannot pay wage payroll to an employee that is teaching per the Payroll Office).

  • A quarter time grad can work up to an additional 20hrs per week.
  • A half time grad can work up to an additionallOhrs per week.
  • A three-quarter time grad can work up to an additional Shrs per week.

How to Calculate hourly rate for Grad Assistants

To calculate the hourly rate of a grad assistant you need to:

  • Divide the total semester stipend by the number of hours and then divide that number by the number of weeks in the semester.


$8122.50 (fall or spring semester stipend of a grade 12 half time) divided by 20hrs (a halftime grad works20hrs a week)= $406.13.

Then divide that by 18wks (18wks in a fall/spring semester) = $22.56/hr $5418.00 (summer session grade 12 half time) divided by 20hrs = $270.90 divided by 12wks (12wks in summer session)= $22.58/hr.

Also – FYI - a quarter time grad works 10hrs a week and a three quarter time grad works 30hrs a week.

What is the difference between a graduate assistantship and a fellowship?

A graduate assistantship is a form of employment.. ..the student is expected to provide services either teaching or research related. A fellowship is "duty" free. The student is only expected to take courses but no services are expected. Penn State does not withhold taxes from a Fellowship stipend. The stipend for a fellowship is to be used for living expenses while taking courses. However, these monies may be taxable according to federal guidelines. Please see IRS publications #970 and# 505 or contact a tax accountant for additional information.