School of Graduate StudiesGraduate Assistant2021/2022 HANDBOOK

2021-2021GRADUATE ASSISTANTHANDBOOKWHAT’S INSIDE4The Graduate Assistant4Application and Selection Process5Appointment Policies and Obligations7Stipends and Tuition Remission10Graduate Assistantship Benefits11Rights and Responsibilities13University Parking Policies14University Student Resources17University Organizational StructureWelcome to St. Cloud State Universityand the School of Graduate Studies!We are pleased that you have chosen St. Cloud State University to pursue yourgraduate education, and we are delighted that you have been selected to serve as agraduate assistant. As a graduate assistant, you will be employed in academicallyrelevant environments that may include teaching, research, or program supportthroughout the University. The assistantship experience will enhance andcomplement your graduate studies at St. Cloud State University.This handbook has been designed to provide you with important and usefulinformation about your assistantship. It will serve as a quick reference guide to thepolicies and procedures related to University assistantships and tuition benefits.The handbook also provides basic information on University resources that mayhelp you to be more effective in your assistantship. Information that pertains toyour role as a graduate student is available at the School of Graduate Studies oronline at Cloud State University is dedicated to the high standards of scholarship thatcharacterize graduate education, and we are proud to offer tuition remission to ourgraduate assistants. It is the purpose of this handbook to provide information thatpertains to the academic and administrative processes of providing this financialsupport.St. Cloud State University is a member of Minnesota State and committed tolegal affirmative action, equal opportunity, access and diversity of its campuscommunity. Please view the full statement:*This edition of the Graduate Assistant 2021-2022 Handbook supersedes allprevious editions of the St. Cloud State University Graduate Assistant Handbook.Every effort was made to ensure that the information in the Graduate AssistantHandbook was accurate at the time of publication. This handbook is accurate as ofAugust 2021. Please refer to the website links for the most up-to-date information.Best wishes to you as you pursue your graduate studies atSt. Cloud State University.

The Graduate AssistantWhat is a Graduate Assistantship?The term “graduate assistant” applies to graduate students undercontract supported by University funds. Graduate assistantshipsgenerally serve as on-campus employment to provide our graduatestudents with academically relevant experiences while aiding boththe student and the University faculty and staff. Graduate Assistantappointments vary in length, lasting from one semester to anentire academic year. Depending on the appointment, a graduateassistantship will require 10 or 20 hours per week of employment.Graduate students employed in a graduate assistantship may notwork on campus more than 20 hours per week. In addition toexpanding the academic experience, students receive a stipendfor their work, as well as a partial tuition remission of up to ninegraduate-level credits. The remaining tuition balance is charged at theresident rate. Student fees are NOT included in the tuition remissionor stipend and must be paid by the student.Types of AppointmentsSt Cloud State University offers three basic types of assistantships:1. Research AssistantsResearch assistants are assigned to participate in research or researchrelated tasks directed and supervised by faculty members. Theseexperiences should be educational and provide insight into the wayresearch is conducted.2. Teaching AssistantsTeaching assistants participate in undergraduate instruction either byteaching or by providing support services. Under the guidance andsupervision of departmental faculty members, teaching assistants mayserve as instructors of record, laboratory assistants, or test and paperevaluators. It is expected that this experience will provide teachingexperience relevant to a professional career.3. Program Support AssistantsProgram support assistants are assigned to participate in theadministration of the appointing unit. Both academic and nonacademic units employ administrative assistants. Program supportassistants should have the opportunity to learn both office functionsand educational management procedures. Duties may be specific toan individual graduate program or service unit and could includeworking under the supervision of the department’s office manager,the department faculty, or with facilities specific to the department.The Graduate Assistant as a Graduate StudentGraduate Assistants must juggle several roles. Time managementand planning are essential; setting goals and prioritizing are crucial.Above all, Graduate Assistants must plan and manage their time sothat they are able to perform their duties as Graduate Assistants whileremaining focused on their primary duty as graduate students.Graduate Assistant SupervisionGraduate Assistants are supervised by the unit in which they areemployed. For teaching and research assistants, the supervisor isusually a faculty member. Program support assistants are oftensupervised by staff members. Supervision includes instruction andguidance on job responsibilities and regular performance evaluation.Application and Selection ProcessWho is Eligible to Apply?Both U.S. citizens and international students who hold a bachelor’s degree areeligible to apply for graduate assistantships.A student must: Be fully admitted to a graduate program in the School of GraduateStudies. Conditionally admitted students may hold an assistantship onesemester at a time. Language admission students may hold an assistantship uponcompletion of their Intensive English Center, Level 5 program. Certificate students are not eligible for graduate assistantships. Be registered as a full-time graduate student each term of theappointment. A 10- or 20-hour/week assistantship requires full-time status. Fulltime status for a graduate student is eight or more semester credits(500 or 600 level) or six or more semester credits (700 or 800 level). U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulationsrequire that international students take a full-time load of eight credits per semester regardless of appointment hours. Achieve and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher in all graduate work to apply for and hold a graduate assistantshipDepartments will select the best qualified candidate for their position. Graduate assistantship appointments are subject to the approval of thedepartment, the school/college dean, and the School of Graduate Studies.4

How to Find Open PositionsProspective Graduate Assistants can search for open positions threeways: through their academic department, on the posting board inthe School of Graduate Studies office (AS 101), or by setting up anaccount in Handshake with the Career Center and searching forgraduate assistantships.Please note: All Graduate Assistants positions are not posted online.A student interested in working in their academic department shouldcontact the department’s graduate program director. Students areencouraged to inquire as early as possible about current or upcomingavailability for open positions.How to ApplySeeking a graduate assistantship is comparable to a job search. Thepositions are competitive and should be viewed as such. Graduateassistantships are not guaranteed.To apply, provide a resume and cover letter to the hiring unit. It isthe student’s responsibility to provide a cover letter and resume to thedepartments/units in which they would like to work. Departmentsand administrative offices will invite candidates to interview for thegraduate assistantship in person, by phone, or via Skype. Graduateassistantships are based on the qualifications of the applicant andthe availability of funding. The following qualifications may beconsidered during the interview: Pertinent experience Work experience Letters of recommendation Educational preparation Undergraduate GPA Test scores Interpersonal skills Language skillsAppointment Policies and ObligationsOffers and AcceptancesApril 15 is the traditional deadline for the extension and the acceptance of offers of graduate assistantships. St. Cloud State University observesthe Council of Graduate Schools Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants which states in brief:1. If a student accepts an offer of an assistantship before April 15, but subsequently wishes to withdraw, the student may submit awritten resignation any time through April 15.2. If a student has an acceptance in effect after April 15, the student is obligated to obtain a written release before accepting anotheroffer.3. An offer extended after April 15 is contingent upon submission by the student of written evidence of release from any previouslyaccepted offer. The responsibility for compliance with this resolution rests with both the academic departments granting the awardsand with the students accepting them.A copy of this resolution, as part of the graduate assistantship application and handbook, serves as notification of the resolution. A completecopy of the resolution may be obtained from the School of Graduate Studies (AS 101) or found at: Requirements At any time during the appointment, a Graduate Assistant may be required to complete mandatory training sessions as a conditionof continued employment. Graduate assistantship appointments are not to exceed one year; however, they may be renewed for a second year. Appointments may not exceed two calendar years in length without special permission from the School of Graduate Studies. It is the obligation of the Graduate Assistant and the employing unit to adhere to fair labor practices.Other Simultaneous Campus EmploymentUniversity policy states Graduate Assistants may not accept other on-campus employment beyond 20 hours per week, i.e., a GraduateAssistants can be employed for a maximum of 20 hours per week. Graduate Assistants employed 20 hours per week may not hold any other employment positions with St. Cloud State Universitywhile employed as a graduate assistant. Graduate Assistants cannot be concurrently employed as adjunct faculty. A Graduate Assistant employed for 10 hours per week may concurrently hold a community advisor (CA) position or an additional10 hour/week student employment position.5

Off-Campus EmploymentIf a graduate student is already employed as a 20-hour per week graduateassistant, it is not recommended that the student obtain off- campusemployment. Given the course load (eight graduate credits) required tomaintain a 20-hour graduate assistantship, employment in excess of thegraduate assistantship may prove to be an academic hardship for the student.International students are not permitted to accept off-campus employmentaccording to regulations set forth by the U.S. Citizenship and ImmigrationServices (USCIS).Continuance of Appointment as a Graduate AssistantContinuation of appointment beyond the academic year is not automatic.Appointment continuance is based on the availability of funds, departmentdetermination of satisfactory work performance, determination of satisfactoryacademic progress, and department needs. Continuance of appointment willbe determined by the supervisor and communicated to the graduate assistant.Academic Non-RenewalGraduate Assistants who fail to meet the academic eligibility requirementsmay be denied renewal of their appointment. In this case, the supervisor andGraduate Studies will jointly make a renewal decision. Possible decisions areprobationary appointment status for one semester or complete revocation ofthe appointment.Termination of Graduate AssistantshipThe employing department may elect to terminate the Graduate Assistant at any time during the appointment. Reasons for termination mayinclude but are not limited to: non-performance of duties, non-attendance, lack of fulfillment of the assistantship requirements, and interpersonal reasons. If the Graduate Assistant feels they have been wrongly terminated, the student may bring their concerns to Graduate Studies forreview.Termination Before the End of AppointmentGraduate assistantship appointments are contingent upon, and subject to, satisfactory performance of assigned duties as determined by theappointing unit. Appointments may be terminated for cause before their expiration under certain conditions. The Graduate Assistant fails to maintain good academic standing (3.00 minimum GPA); or University funds cease to be available for the appointment; or The Graduate Assistant fails to perform services satisfactorily or violates laws or University regulations which, in the judgment of theUniversity, affect duties or services performed by the appointee; or The Graduate Assistant violates provisions of the appointment.Before termination for unsatisfactory work performance, Graduate Assistants must receive from their immediate supervisor(s) written noticeof specific deficiencies in performance, as well as detailed suggestions for improvement. If unacceptable employment performance continuesand a decision is made to proceed with possible termination, the supervisor of the assistant must meet with the graduate assistant. After theseproceedings, the appointing unit will notify the School of Graduate Studies of the outcome.Resignation A Graduate Assistant may resign. Written notification must be submitted from the Graduate Assistant to the department two weeksprior to resigning.Notification and Financial Implications Written notification of resignation or termination must be submitted by the appointing unit to the School of Graduate Studiesindicating the last working day through which the Graduate Assistant is entitled financial compensation. Termination of an assistantship may occur prior to the date indicated on the employment letter. In this case, the effective terminationdate will be when the School of Graduate Studies receives written verification from the department. All compensation earned prior to this date will be charged to the department/unit responsible for the direct supervision of thegraduate student.6

Stipends and Tuition RemissionBoth master’s and doctoral students are eligible to apply for graduateassistantships. All tuition remission is at the standard resident rate.StipendsGraduate assistantship stipends (salary) for the 2021-2022 academicyear range up to 9,250 depending on the hours of assignment andthe length of the appointment. Graduate Assistant positions and salarycompensation are based on the availability of state and universityfunding. Graduate Assistants are compensated according to pay ratesestablished by St. Cloud State University.Financial Implications for International StudentsUpon receipt of a departmental letter of appointment, internationalstudents may list the stipend as income on their financial certificationforms.GRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIP STIPENDSStipendRequired WorkloadMaster’s CreditsRequired 9,250/year or 4,625/semester20 hrs/week8 (500/600) 4,625/year or10 hrs/week 2,312.50/semester8 (500/600)StipendRequired WorkloadDoctoral CreditsRequired 9,250/year or 4,625/semester20 hrs/week6 (700/800) 4,625/year or10 hrs/week 2,312.50/semester6 (700/800)Doctoral CenterStipendRequired WorkloadDoctoral CreditsRequired 15,000/year or20 hrs/week6 (700/800)Summer Stipend 7,500/semesterSummer assistantships are based on an hourly rate of pay, approximately 12- 16 per hour. Graduate Assistants are not permitted towork more than 20 hours per week during the summer term. The tuition benefit is not available, yet a Graduate Assistant must be enrolled in three or more credits over the course of the summer.Exceptions may be granted by filing a petition with the School of Graduate Studies. Required credits may be taken in one term or spread over all summer terms. Summer assistantships are granted only if the department/ unit has a need for an assistantship and has the funding for anassistantship.Tax Status of StipendsThe Internal Revenue Service (IRS) usually treats stipends paid to Graduate Assistants as taxable income. Therefore, the University isobligated to withhold federal and Minnesota state income taxes. The Business Services Office requires all employees to fill out an Employee’sWithholding Allowance Certificate (W-4) and an Employee’s Withholding Exemption Certificate (IT-4), tax forms outlined in the nextsection. Business Services can offer general suggestions on the number of tax exemptions you may wish to submit. W-2 can be acquired bygoing into e-services where it can be downloaded and printed.Payroll ProceduresPaychecks are available in paper check form or via direct deposit into the graduate assistant’s bank account. Direct deposit is recommendedand can be set up in e-services. Graduate Assistant paychecks will be mailed to the student’s permanent address in the system. Internationalstudent paychecks will be sent to their local address in the system, unless the student has selected the direct deposit option. A W-4 and an IT4, found on the reverse side of the W-4, and must be filed in the Payroll Office, Administrative Services 124, to allow proper tax deductionsfrom payroll checks. Graduate Assistants must immediately report changes of address to the Payroll Office.The Immigration and Control Act of 1986 requires all employers to verify each new employee’s identity and employment eligibility. Theemploying department must complete an I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification form for each new Graduate Assistant within three workingdays of the effective date of the appointment. Instructions for completion are on the reverse side of the form and documentation must beverified with the Graduate Assistant in person.Proof of eligibility can be shown through the following documents: U.S. Citizens and Residents: passport or driver’s licenseand Social Security card Resident Aliens: driver’s license, Social Security card, and resident alien card International: passport, visa, Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record, Information for Completing USCIS, Form I-20, Certificate ofEligibility for Nonimmigrant Student Status.7

Employment DatesGraduate Assistant employment dates generally reflect the employment dates of University faculty. The dates for fall and springsemesters are as follows:Fall 2021Spring 2022August 17, 2021 – December 17, 2021January 4, 2022 – May 6, 2022These dates represent a guideline for Graduate Assistants andemployers. Departments and supervisors may identify differentstart and end dates based on position responsibilities. Stipends andtuition remission will be prorated according to the start date andend date of the graduate assistant appointment.Number of Hours RequiredA full-time Graduate Assistant will work approximately 330 hoursduring each semester of employment. This guideline is based on 20hours/week for 17 weeks minus breaks and holidays.Fall 2021August 17, 2021 – December 17, 2021 330 hoursSpring 2022January 4, 2022 – May 6, 2022 330 hoursGraduate Assistantship Tuition RemissionIn addition to the salary/stipend, full-time graduate assistantships includetuition remission for 500-800 level credits up 4,028 per semester duringthe academic year (fall and spring semesters only). Part-time graduateassistantships (10 hours/week) include tuition remission for 500-800 levelcredits at up to 2685 per semester during the academic year (fall and springsemesters only). Tuition remission is available to graduate assistants duringthe academic year. Tuition remission is considered earnings and is thereforesubject to Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA), State, and Federal taxwithholding.GRADUATE ASSISTANT PAYROLL SCHEDULE 2021-2022 (FY2022)PAY PERIODPAY PERIODEND DATESAPPROVAL OFTIMESHEETSPAY /202207/01/2022All student fees and any remaining tuition beyond tuition remission benefit must be paid by the student. The schedule outlines the amount of tuitionremission available. *Undergraduate preparation courses are not eligible for the graduate assistantship tuition benefit. Graduate students must be at least a half-time graduate assistant, i.e., working 10 hours/week, to qualify for a tuition remission. Tuition remission is applicable only to graduate level courses (500-800). Credits that are prerequisites of the graduate program will count toward the credit minimums but are not eligible for tuitionremission. Undergraduate credits that are preparatory in nature, such as EAP, are not counted toward the credit minimums nor are they eligiblefor tuition remission. Undergraduate prerequisite courses required by a program can be counted toward credit minimums but are not eligible for tuitionremission. Please discuss with your advisor. Tuition remission is not awarded for graduate courses that are enrolled in after the tenth class day of each semester. Any student beginning an appointment after the eighth week of the semester (mid-point of the semester as stated in the officialUniversity registration calendar) will not be eligible to receive tuition remission for that semester. Tuition remission is not available during the summer sessions. Students leaving a Graduate Assistant position prior to the 8th week (mid-point) are not eligible for tuition remission.Resident Rate TuitionAll graduate assistants, international and U.S. citizens and residents, qualify for resident (in-state) tuition rates. Graduate Assistants will findthe resident tuition rate credited on their statement as a MN rate tuition scholarship.8

Receiving the Tuition RemissionTuition remission is placed on a student’s tuition statement in the form of a payment when the hiring department has provided theappointment, position description and employment request to the School of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Assistant is enrolled for theappropriate number of credits required for the assistantship. Since tuition remission is applied following the fifth class day of the semester,the student must be registered for the appropriate number of credits prior to the fifth class day to ensure tuition remission in the appropriateamount. Further, the hiring department/unit must provide the appointment, position description, and employment request to the Schoolof Graduate Studies prior to the fifth class day of the semester. The department must also ensure that all payroll procedures including,submission of I-9 and W-4 forms, have been completed prior to the fifth day.Fifth Day of ClassesFall 2021: August 27, 2021Spring 2022: January 14, 2022Tenth Day of ClassesFall 2021: September 3, 2021Spring 2022: January 21, 2022 Students are responsible for being fully enrolled/registered for theappropriate number of credits prior to the fifth day of the semester.Departments/hiring units are responsible for entering theGraduate Assistant appointment and providing all appropriatehiring documents to the Payroll office prior to the fifth day of thesemester.Tuition remission for full-term assistantships has a final deadline ofthe tenth day of the semester. Registration must be complete andall employment paperwork must be submitted. Failure to meet thedeadline will result in a loss of tuition remission.Exceptions in extenuating circumstances may be consideredthrough a petition to the School of Graduate Studies.Hiring units granting a partial-term assistantship beginning priorto the eighth week of the semester must ensure the student isregistered for the appropriate number of credits required to hold anassistantship at the time the employment request is submitted.If there is a delay within the School of Graduate Studies withthe appointment, employment request, or payroll forms, tuitionremission will be credited to the student’s bill as soon as theproblem has been resolved. In some cases, this may mean that thestudent will need to pay the tuition in full and receive a refund forthe amount of the tuition remission upon resolution.Pro-rated stipends for shortened assistantships will result in fewercredits of tuition remission.Visit for more information about billing and important dates.IMPORTANT DATES 2020-2021Academic Term FALL 2021 SPRING 2022Tuition and fees due (in full)Sept. 13Jan. 31Drop for non-paymentAug. 27Jan. 14Financial Aid applied to student account (day tuitionremission will appear on student’s accounts)Aug. 28Jan. 15 50 Late fee appliedOct. 26Mar. 159

Graduate Assistantship BenefitsVacation/Sick Leave/HolidaysVacationGraduate Assistants do not accrue vacation hours.Sick Leave/Medical LeaveGraduate Assistants do not accrue sick time. Graduate Assistants who are ill and must miss work should notify their supervisor. Hiring units may request thatstudents make up these hours. Students who will be absent from work for an extended period of time due to illness or injury, should talk with the supervisorand contact the School of Graduate Studies as this may require an adjustment of the stipend or extension of the contract to allow for time to make up missedhours.Pregnancy LeaveSt. Cloud State University is required to provide Graduate Assistants with the medically necessary leave to accommodate pregnancy and birth. GraduateAssistants may request a leave of absence for up to six weeks or longer if medically necessary. The leave time is unpaid and must be arranged in advance andinclude an anticipated start and end date for the leave. Graduate Assistants on approved leave will be reinstated to the Graduate Assistant role followingthe leave. A Graduate Assistant must work at least 50% of the required assistantship hours to earn the tuition remission. Leaves longer than eight weeksmay require the Graduate Assistant to make up hours to maintain the tuition remission. Students and departments are encouraged to contact the School ofGraduate Studies for guidance on the pregnancy leave process.Holidays and BreaksAll Graduate Assistants may observe the University Holiday/Break schedulewhen classes are not in session. Graduate Assistants working 20 hours per weekwill have their hourly work expectations decreased four hours for each Universityobserved holiday (i.e., all full time Graduate Assistant will be expected to work a16-hour week, with four hours of holiday time for Labor Day).FALL 2021 HOLIDAYS AND BREAKSLabor Day, September 6Veterans Day, November 11Thanksgiving Break, November 22-26Winter Break Dec. 21 – Jan. 3GraduateAssistantshipsWeekly HoursWorkedHolidayHoursWorkedGraduate Assistant(Full time)20 hoursHoliday8 hoursWork 16 hoursfor the weekGraduate Assistant(Part Time)10 hoursHoliday8 hoursWork 8 hoursfor the weekSPRING 2022 HOLIDAYS AND BREAKSMartin Luther King Jr. Day January 17Spring Break March 7-11Faculty Workshop, April 12Work time is at the discretion of the hiring office (i.e., if you have work responsibilities on the holiday, the office should provide four hours of holiday timeon another day during that week). For graduate assistants working less than 20 hours per week, holiday time is prorated based on the number of employmenthours (i.e., a graduate assistant working 10 hours per week will receive two hours of holiday time per each day of the holiday or break when classes are not insession).For those Graduate Assistants who observe religious holidays not observed on the University holiday schedule, those holidays may also be included byarrangement between the Graduate Assistant and supervisor.For those Graduate Assistants on a full academic year appointment (August through May), a regular paycheck will continue during academic breaks suchas winter break or spring break. If a Graduate Assistant requires time off for such things as personal time, finals week, or time to work on course work,arrangements need prior approval from the appointing department/unit to grant time off and schedule time when the Graduate Assistant will make up thehours missed.Health InsuranceGraduate Assistant are not covered by the University employee health insurance. They may use the Student Health Services available to all students.International students are required to purchase health insurance. Please see or call St. Cloud State University’sHeath Services office at 320.308.3191 for current rates. Domestic students may wish to review options available through MNsure Visit formore information.Worker’s CompensationWorker’s compensation is available for any Graduate Assistant on University payroll who sustains an injury while performing the duties of his/her position.Should an injury occur, the Graduate Assistant should immediately report the incident to the supervisor of the hiring department and contact the HumanResources Office to prepare a Firs

your role as a graduate student is available at the School of Graduate Studies or online at St. Cloud State University is dedicated to the high standards of scholarship that characterize graduate education, and we are pro