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Work Obligation

Work Obligation

General Information

A full Graduate Assistantship award receives compensation from the university in the form of a salary for work obligations assigned by your supervisor. This may include any combination of teaching, research, and service duties.

Weekly Time Commitment

As a Graduate Assistant, you cannot exceed the following hours per week during your contract period:

  • 20 hours per week during fall or spring semester
  • 40 hours per week during spring break, intersession, and summer session


Graduate Assistants are paid a salary amount as determined by the position and department. The minimum salary for a full award for the 2023-2024 academic year (based on a standard 9-month contract) is $9,588.00 for a master’s student and $10,226.00 for a doctoral student.

Payment of your salary will be processed through the employee payroll system. Paychecks are issued bi-weekly on Fridays according to the Employee Payday Calendar.

GAs are non-benefit eligible (they do not receive leave of absence, holiday pay, sick leave, or vacation pay). Every GA is covered by university health insurance for work-related illness or injury in accordance with university procedures.


Who Do I Report To?

Every GA will be under the guidance of a supervisor and an advisor.

  • Supervisor – An employee of the university responsible for the assignment, direction, and evaluation of the work for which you are paid for.
  • Advisor – a member of the graduate faculty responsible for advising you on academic matters.

Your supervisor and advisor are your primary mentors, they may be different people or the same. Under their mentorship, you will gain experience and learn scholarly, professional, and ethical behaviors appropriate to your specific field of study.


Your specific GA title reflects your majority duties. It is important to know what type of GA you are, as this will relate to how you are paid and possible tax implications. For more information about time entry, tax withholding, exemptions, or W-4s visit the Payroll website or contact Payroll Services at (208) 426-4440 or email

Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA)

GTAs are exempt from overtime and generally paid a salary. If a GTA is paid a salary, they do not need to enter hours in the system and will be paid a salary spread out evenly over the work dates.

Graduate Research Assistant (GRA)

GRAs are not covered for overtime pay and are paid a salary.

Graduate Service Assistant (GSA)

GSAs who earn more than $684 a week are exempt from overtime and may be paid salary or hourly. Those who earn less than $684 a week are non-exempt, overtime-eligible employees and must be paid hourly and submit their hours to time and labor.

Special note for GSAs – The IRS has determined that GSAs whose tuition benefit exceeds $5,250 in the calendar year must add the excess amount to their income as a taxable fringe benefit. This is most likely to affect GSAs working more than one term in a calendar year. Starting in the fall of each year GSAs who have received a tuition benefit in excess of $5,250 will have the applicable taxes withheld from their remaining paychecks for the year. This will result in a decrease in net pay.  If you have questions about your withholding, please contact payroll services at

Other Employment

A GA cannot work for the university under any compensable arrangement other than the graduate assistantship during the contract period unless an exception is approved by the Graduate College. To request approval, the student must request approval via the online form.

Request for Approval of Secondary Position

Graduate students are expected to devote their time to their studies and to their assistantship. This means that in most cases a GA should not be employed off-campus unless the GA holds a partial GAship. Although the University does not prohibit outside employment by GAs in addition to their University appointment, acceptance of outside employment should be guided by the need to avoid conflicts of interest and any infringement on the student’s academic duties… Read More about Graduate Assistantships.


How do I sign up for direct deposit?

You can find information on signing up for direct deposit online.

I didn’t get paid! What do I do?

Check with your supervisor to verify if your start date is within a pay period that has already been paid and to confirm if hiring paperwork was submitted on time. Your supervisor can call the payroll office or their Human Resource Services (HRS) representative to correct any discrepancies.

How do I fill in my timesheet?

For hourly GAs only. The Payroll office offers an online guide that shows you how to fill out your timesheet. In-person Time and Labor workshops are offered about once a month.