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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

Current UAW 4121 Contract:
Information about the recently ratified UAW 4121 union contract can be found at:

On September 6, 2012 a webinar was held to inform department personnel about changes to the ASE contract. Materials from that can be found here: Please note: Correction from the webinar information - The one-time $50 payment for ASEs will be placed centrally, but will be charged locally. For information about how your college/school will handle these payments, please contact your administrator.

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 at:

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 tuition-based program. Tuition waivers provided from central resources are not available to pay fees for these students, so departments should have a policy and consistent procedures in place about payment of fees for students who are hired in these positions. Fee-based students employed as TAs and paid from GOF budgets may have a portion of their fees paid by Planning and Budgeting. RAs and SAs will not have any fees paid from central funds no matter what type of budget is paying their appointment. Employing departments may, however, pay a set portion of the ASEs fees directly to Educational Outreach. For more information, please see the Fee-Based Degree Policy Handbook and the Planning and Budgeting brief: Criteria for Course Payment for Graduate Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Staff Assistants Who Are Matriculated in Fee-Based Degree Programs. [Note: the Planning and Budgeting brief may apply only to the Seattle campus. For Bothell and Tacoma campuses, please contact the Office of Planning and Budgeting or the relevant authority on your campus.]

Important Resources

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
  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 health insurance (GAIP) paid for by the University for the appointee, and half the cost of insuring his or her dependents. To obtain coverage, students must enroll online each quarter by the deadline (see graduate appointee insurance information at: and 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.

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, contact Student Fiscal Services at or phone 543-4694.