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The Graduate School

G-1 Communications Building
Box 353770
Seattle, Washington 98195-3770

Phone: 206.543.5900
Fax: 206.685.3234

Administering Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, and Staff Assistantships

Administering Assistantships

Types of Assistantships

There are three types of assistantships:

  • Teaching Assistant: work with students in a classroom, lab, or quiz section setting
  • Research Assistant: work on research projects; does not involve teaching
  • Staff Assistant: other types of duties such as, advising or administration

These positions are covered by a union contract, which provides specific information regarding policies and procedures. The contract can be found here.

Important Resources

International Students:

International students are required to meet University requirements regarding English proficiency (both written and spoken) before being eligible to work with students. For more information, please see Graduate School Memorandum 15. If you have questions, please contact your department’s hiring official.

Students in Fee-Based Programs:

Graduate students enrolled in fee-based programs may be hired as ASEs, however there are a few differences from hiring a student who is in a state-funded tuition-based program. Effective autumn 2014, all course fees must be paid for students in fee-based programs who are hired in eligible ASE positions (e.g., 50%, for 5 out of 6 pay periods, Schedule 1 or Schedule 3, etc.). Tuition waivers provided from central resources are not available to pay course fees for these students, so employing units must pay all the course fees directly.

  • Central payment of fees, Seattle Campus: Until June 30, 2015, fee-based students employed as TAs on the Seattle campus and paid from GOF budgets may have a portion of their fees paid by Planning and Budgeting, with the remainder of their course fees paid by the employing department. Seattle campus TAs on non-GOF budgets and all RAs and SAs will not have any fees paid from central funds; the employing department is required to pay all of their course fees. For more information, please see the Fee-Based Degree Policy Handbook and the Planning and Budgeting brief: Criteria for Course Payment for Graduate Students in Fee-Based Degree Programs.. [Note: the Planning and Budgeting brief applies only to the Seattle campus.]
  • Central payment of fees, Bothell and Tacoma campuses: We have not been notified of any policies for central payment on these campuses; contact the relevant authority on your campus for information. If there is no central payment, then all course fees are paid by the employing department.

Job Classes/Earn Codes

Job Class Codes

Job Class codes can be found in the union contract at:

Earn Codes

  • GNB: Grad Student Appointment without Benefits - no Social Security taxes deducted. (Monthly payment to a UW Graduate Student when the appointment is less than 50%. (Not eligible for Graduate School Insurance benefits.)Payments are exempt from Social Security taxes when credits taken are equal to or greater than 5.)
  • GOB: Grad Student Appointment without Benefits - Social Security taxes are deducted. (Monthly payment to a UW Graduate Student when the appointment is less than 50%. (Not eligible for Graduate School Insurance benefits. Payments are subject to Social Security taxes when credits taken are less than 5.)
  • GSA: Grad Student Appointment with Benefits - no Social Security taxes deducted. (Monthly payment to a UW Graduate Student when the appointment is greater than 50%. Exempt from Social Security taxes when credits taken are equal to or greater than 5.)
  • GSO: Grad Student Appointment with Benefits - Social Security taxes deducted. (For a UW Graduate Student appointed to GSA position, when student is not taking enough credits to be exempt from Social Security. Payments are subject to Social Security takes when credits are less than 5.)


These are salaried (not hourly) Academic Student Employee (ASE) positions, which require that the student be registered for the minimum number of credits (10 in AWS, 2 in Summer). Students who are unable to enroll for ten credits and meet the specified criteria may file "Petition for Reduced Enrollment" with the Graduate School. The criteria and the form can be found here:

An exception to the full-time enrollment requirement is "Summer Non-registered Graduate Research Student Assistants." This is an hourly position for non-registered graduate RAs to perform research work during Summer Quarter. Information can be found at the UAW contract:


Teaching assistants, research assistants, and staff assistants have federal income tax withheld from their paychecks. Their income is reported on the W-2 forms in January.

Tuition, Technology Fee, Insurance

If the appointment is:

  1. For at least 50% FTE AND
  2. Has an active payroll distribution of at least 5 of 6 pay periods in the quarter AND
    • Fall quarter 9/16-12/15
    • Winter quarter: 12/16-3/15
    • Spring quarter: 3/16-6/15
    • Summer quarter: 6/16-9/15, only 2 consecutive pay periods necessary. [For GAIP, the consecutive pay periods must be within class Session A and/or Session B.]
  3. Paid through the University of Washington payroll system AND
  4. And the appointee is enrolled for at least 10 credits (except summer when a minimum of at least 2 credits is required) UNLESS the appointee has a petition for reduced enrollment on file with and approved by the Graduate School. (The petition, and information about how to complete it, can be found at

THEN graduate student service appointees AUTOMATICALLY receive, through an interface of the SDB (student database) and HEPPS (UW payroll database) system:

  1. Resident Operating Fee Waiver (most of resident tuition)
  2. An exemption from the non-resident differential portion of tuition (NRD) if the appointee is non state resident.
  3. An exemption from the technology fee
  4. Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP) paid for by the University for the appointee, and a portion of the cost of insuring his or her dependents.
    • Eligible students are automatically enrolled each quarter but must do online enrollment of his/her dependents by the deadline for the quarter.
    • Students must be registered for 10 credits by the 10th day of the quarter.
    • Eligibility is derived from information in HEPPS by the Benefits Office.
  • GAIP coverage is NOT retroactive to the beginning of the quarter for appointments which are entered late. It begins the first of the month following the appointment start date or the date the appointment was entered into OPUS if that date was AFTER the start of the appointment. Departments should be sure that the Graduate appointment is entered into OPUS in a timely fashion. If you are waiting for a new budget number, you may have to pay a graduate student on a different budget, and do a retroactive salary transfer when the new budget number is available. The Departmental Information page on the GAIP website will provide more information about deadlines.

PLEASE NOTE: In order for the automatic interface for tuition waivers to work properly, the student’s UW student number and the correct social security number must be entered in both the student database (SDB) and the payroll database (HEPPS). Please check these numbers in both systems before calling for help.

Information about how budget types affect where tuition is charged

  1. Resident Operating Fee: If the budget paying the salary for a Graduate Student Service Appointment is a GOF budget, the resident operating fee portion of tuition is waived, and not charged to any budget. If the distribution budget is not a state GOF budget, then the distribution budget is charged for the resident operating fee portion of tuition. A state budget is defined as budget type 01, budget class 10 thru 29 as coded in the UW Financial Accounting System.
  2. Technology Fee Associated with Graduate Appointments: For eligible graduate appointees if the distribution budget is type 01 & class 31, or type 05, then a central administrative budget is charged the technology fee. The distribution budget is charged the tech fee if budget type/class is other than the type/class listed above.
  3. Possible Problems:
    1. The appointment and distribution must be entered in the payroll database in order for the interface to take place.
    2. Social Security numbers must match in both the student and payroll databases.
    3. The appointee must be a graduate student and registered for at least 10 credits (except summer when the minimum is 2 credits).

FOR PROBLEMS WITH THE WAIVERS that are automatically generated by the interface between HEPPS and the SDB, email Student Fiscal Services or phone 543-4694.