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Policy and Procedures

Mission

The College of Graduate and Professional Studies recognizes that graduate assistantships provide critical educational opportunities and financial assistance to graduate students, and that assistantships are directly related to the core elements of graduate degrees and endorsements.  Graduate assistants provide service to the University while simultaneously developing the skills and experience required to assume leadership roles in academia and/or professions.

 

Eligibility

For the purposes of this policy, a "graduate student" is an individual who is admitted and enrolled in a graduate degree or endorsement program in good academic standing at Longwood University.

Prospective graduate assistants are responsible for meeting the following eligibility requirements and for taking the initiative in ascertaining that all have been fulfilled. The requirements are described here to provide graduate student applicants with an understanding of the usual conditions for awarding assistantships. Individual colleges, departments, or programs may set more rigorous standards than are listed here.

An entering student is awarded an assistantship on the basis of academic potential. Applicants are expected to have:

  1. been admitted fully and without academic provision,
  2. achieved a cumulative graduate grade point average of at least 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or, for new graduate students, a cumulative undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.3 on a 4.0 scale, and
  3. submitted the complete two-page Graduate Assistantship Application (pdf) with a resume to the College of Graduate and Professional Studies.

Graduate assistants, once appointed, must maintain grade point averages of 3.0 or better.  Graduate students may be retained as assistants only as long as they are registered as current full-time or part-time students in good academic standing and are performing their teaching, academic, or research support duties satisfactorily.

 

Graduate Assistantship Categories

Graduate students who are assigned academic responsibilities at Longwood University will be appointed to one of the following categories of graduate assistantships:

  • Teaching Assistant - A graduate student who assists a faculty member who is the instructor of record for a course. The duties of such an appointment may include work in the classroom, in recitation sections, in laboratories, in online learning management systems, or in other learning settings. The Teaching Assistant (TA) may or may not be responsible for grading student assignments and for maintaining office hours.
  • Academic/Research Assistant - A graduate student with limited responsibility for the administrative and/or applied professional practice within an academic department or a University administrative unit. These positions may also include significant student or client interaction, collaborative research with faculty, and project planning and implementation.

Student appointments that are primarily of a clerical or non-academic administrative nature should be offered through Student Employment and processed in accordance with their policies.  Funding provided by the College of Graduate and Professional Studies is not used to support those positions.  Graduate Assistants may have some administrative duties associated with their appointments, but those duties are considered part of their assistantship assignment.

Although assigned teaching, academic, or research support duties, graduate assistants are regarded by the university as students and not as employees. As such, graduate assistants are not eligible for any employee benefits.

 

Graduate Assistant Types

  • Standard Full-Time Assistantship
    Student works 300 hours a semester (average 20 hours a week for 15 week semester)
    Student receives a scholarship for 9 credit hours of in-state tuition for the semester (must be registered for at least 9 hours)
    Student receives a stipend
  • Standard Part-Time Assistantship
    Student works 150 hours a semester (average 10 hours a week for 15 week semester)
    Student receives a scholarship for 6 credit hours of in-state tuition for the semester (must be registered for at least 9 hours)
    Student receives a stipend
  • Non-Standard Part-Time Assistantship
    Student works from 8 to 18 hours a week for 15 week semester
    Student may receive a scholarship for a portion of in-state tuition for the semester (must be registered for 1-9 hours) and/or a stipend

 

Process Overview:  Program/Department Responsibilities

Annually by February 1st, a graduate program or department must submit the Request for Graduate Assistant.  Graduate Assistant positions are awarded for no longer than one academic year and are not renewed automatically from year to year.  Specific work assignments are determined by the department and are part of the request. 

The Graduate Dean and Assistant Dean will review and make awards of the funds provided by the College of Graduate & Professional Studies.  Graduate programs and/or University departments providing their own funding submit the same Request for Graduate Assistant in order to request the administrative management of the assistantship. 

The selection of the specific graduate assistant will be done by the program or department from the approved pool of graduate student applicants.

A Memorandum of Understanding between the supervisor and the College of Graduate & Professional Studies will be completed prior to the beginning of the assistantship and reiterates the responsibilities and funding for the position.

The College of Graduate and Professional Studies conducts a mandatory orientation for new supervisors at the beginning of the semester.  Supervisors must complete a Work Objectives, Assessments & Evaluation (WOAE) with each assistant at the beginning and end of each semester.  Responsibilities and duties should be assigned to ensure that the required work hours are met.  Monthly, supervisors must approve the Graduate Assistant Log (Excel) on which graduate assistants record their work hours.

 

Process Overview:  Student Responsibilities

The Graduate Assistantship Application (pdf) must be submitted to the College of Graduate & Professional Studies by April 1st or until all positions have been filled.  Prospective graduate students may apply for an assistantship concurrently with their application to a degree or professional endorsement program.  The application form must be completed in its entirety and be accompanied by a resume.

Applicants with a minimum cumulative graduate GPA of 3.5 on a 4.0 scale or new graduate students with a minimum cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.3 on a 4.0 scale may be included in the approved pool for consideration for an assistantship.

The selection process is done by the respective graduate programs and/or departments and may include but is not limited to, an interview, request for recommendations, or testing.

The College of Graduate and Professional Studies conducts a mandatory orientation for new graduate assistants at the beginning of the semester.  Graduate assistants will work with their supervisors to complete the Work Objectives, Assessments & Evaluation (WOAE) at the beginning and end of each semester.  Graduate Assistants log their time on the Graduate Assistant Log (Excel) and submit it monthly to their supervisor for approval and to the College of Graduate & Professional Studies.

Graduate assistantships require work from 8 to 20 hours per week during the academic year, depending on the position awarded. Graduate assistants must perform satisfactorily the duties assigned by their departments, make satisfactory progress in their programs as defined by the degree requirements and the regulations of their departments, and may not hold any employment or appointment of a remunerative nature during the term of their assistantships without the approval of the Graduate Dean.

A graduate student holding a graduate assistantship forgoes the designated student academic vacations for the period of the appointment.  Supervisors and prospective graduate assistants should agree upon the specific work expectations, including employment dates, before finalizing appointments.

 

Termination of Appointment

Graduate assistantships end when the period of appointment is concluded and the terms of the assistantship agreement are fulfilled.

Graduate Assistant supervisors will work with the Dean of the College of Graduate & Professional Studies to resolve problematic issues with graduate assistants.  If issues cannot be resolved satisfactorily, termination of the assistantship may take place immediately.

A graduate assistantship may be terminated for the following reasons:

  • Resignation for cause by the student.  This resignation should be in writing and approved by the Supervisor and Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies;
  • Failure of the graduate assistant to perform assigned duties adequately.  Termination must be recommended in writing by the Supervisor and forwarded to the Dean of the College of Graduate & Professional Studies;
  • Failure to adhere to enrollment policies in accordance with the contract.

Any stipend funds remaining after termination of a graduate assistantship revert to the funding program and may be reallocated to another graduate student. If students withdraw from classes or programs or reduce enrollment below full time or part-time requirements, tuition/fees and stipends may be rescinded, and students will be responsible for returning all funds to the University. Exceptions are made on a case-by-case basis by the Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies on the recommendation of the student's supervisor.

A graduate student who believes that his or her graduate assistantship has been terminated unjustly and who has exhausted all departmental and school appeal procedures, may appeal the decision in writing to the Dean of the College of Graduate and Professional Studies.  The Graduate Dean will make the final decision regarding termination of the appointment.

 

Funding

Since scholarships are not tuition waivers but actual payment of the student's tuition charges, the cost of appointing a graduate student to one of these positions (see Graduate Assistant Types) will include both the stipend and the scholarship portion of the award.

Tuition and/or fee support and other awards (such as room, meal plan, and stipends) associated with graduate assistantships vary from year to year and by program. Some awards may consist of a basic stipend only. In such cases, students are responsible for payment of tuition and fees. Some awards may include a base stipend plus tuition and/or fees or inclusion of room and meal plan.

Those students receiving tuition support are awarded funding for in-state tuition costs; out-of-state students are responsible for covering the difference.  A student’s residency status is determined by the College of Graduate & Professional Studies during the admission process and is updated as necessary.  All students are responsible for settling their accounts according to the rules and procedures of the University's Office of Student Accounts.

 

Payments and tax status

The stipend portion of a graduate assistantship package is designated by the Internal Revenue Service as wages for work performed, is processed through the University's Payroll Office, and is subject to withholding taxes. A graduate assistantship stipend is reported to the IRS as earned income. Tuition and/or fee support, if provided, is processed through the university's Financial Aid Office and is applied directly to the student's account.

In all cases, final decisions and interpretations as to the tax status of graduate assistantship stipends or tuition and/or fee awards are made solely by the Internal Revenue Service.  It is the student's responsibility to ensure accurate reporting of such support to the IRS.

All graduate assistantship and tuition and fee awards are reported to the University's Financial Aid Office and are included in any calculation of financial aid need. Students with questions about their need-based financial aid packaging should contact the Financial Aid Office.

International students are restricted by U.S. law in the actual (not the average) number of hours they may work during a week. These students may not work more than 20 actual hours per week during the semester. If the student cannot legally be appointed to additional hours, he or she must not be required or permitted to provide them.

 

Timeline

  • The College of Graduate & Professional Studies collects Request for Graduate Assistant applications and student Graduate Assistantship Applications (pdf).
  • The Graduate Dean and Assistant Dean will review and make awards of the funds provided by the College of Graduate & Professional Studies.
  • The College of Graduate and Professional Studies determines eligibility of graduate student applicants.
  • Department/program receives access to Graduate Assistant applicant pool and hires graduate assistant(s) from among eligible candidates.  The assistantship offer may be made by hiring department or the College of Graduate and Professional Studies, at the hiring department’s option.
  • Recommended Graduate Assistant student receives a hiring packet including:
    • Contract
    • Student Special Payment Request form
    • I-9 form
    • W-4 form
    • VA-4 form
    • Direct Deposit Authorization form
    • Information Security Agreement
  • The student must:
    • Return all forms by the requested deadline
    • Provide his/her Social Security card for verification
    • Provide government-issued identification, e.g. driver's license, passport, birth certificate, etc. for verification
    • International students submit additional documents including I20, I94, visa/passport and others as required.
  • Hiring documents are collected and routed to Student Employment for authorization.
  • The contract is signed by the supervisor and College of Graduate and Professional Studies Dean.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding is signed by the supervisor and College of Graduate and Professional Studies Dean.
  • New Graduate Assistants and supervisors attend mandatory orientation at the beginning of the assistantship.
  • At the beginning of the semester, the Graduate Assistant and supervisor will complete the Initial Assessment portion of the Work Objectives, Assessments & Evaluation (WOAE).
  • Each month, Graduate Assistants log their time on the Graduate Assistant Log (Excel) and submit it the supervisor-approved hours to the College of Graduate & Professional Studies.
  • At the end of the semester, the Graduate Assistant and supervisor will complete the End-Semester Evaluation portion of the Work Objectives, Assessments & Evaluation (WOAE).