About the Graduate Assistant Program
A limited number of Graduate Assistantships are available at Fitchburg State. Current and entering graduate students are eligible for these positions that provide the following:
- Tuition and fee waiver, amounts vary depending on hours worked
- A stipend (see Stipend and Award section for more information)
Qualified students must apply and secure a position with the Department before securing final approval from the Dean of School of Graduate, Online and Continuing Education.
- School of Graduate, Online and Continuing Education (SGOCE)
Elena Arranz Alonso, Director of Operations
978.665.4129 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Human Resources and Payroll Services
978.665.3172 or email@example.com
Graduate Assistant- Administrative
Graduate Assistants (GA) provide academic and program support to academic, administrative or service units of the university. GA responsibilities may be administrative in nature and consist of duties not directly related to teaching or research (such as program planning, working with student groups, and assisting with the administrative duties of an office).
Graduate Assistant– Academic Program/Research
Graduate Assistants provide support in the department with research related work, program support or assisting with lab set-up and equipment maintenance, classroom set-up and other program related research or administrative work.
Students seeking appointments to graduate assistant positions must be accepted to a graduate degree program. Newly accepted graduate students must have an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better. Current graduate students must have a graduate GPA of 3.5 or better. Two letters of recommendation attesting to their work history are required.
- Search through and apply for open positions (posted on the Fitchburg State University website).
- The hiring department will work with Human Resources and Payroll to finish the onboarding process.
A note for international students: if you are an international student, additional steps might be required. Please contact the International Office (firstname.lastname@example.org) to fill out the necessary paperwork. These steps might delay the hiring process.
Graduate assistants (regardless of hours worked) must carry a minimum load of 6 semester credits of graduate work per semester (Fall and Spring) in their program, which is considered full-time.
Graduate assistants are hired to work 20 hours a week and receive:
- A stipend of up to $11,400 for the academic year beginning August/September –June 30 (2022 rates). On January 1, 2023, the rate will increase to up to $12,000. Assistants in this role must work 20 hours per week for 40 weeks in order to earn the full stipend.
- A tuition and fee waiver for 12 credits of graduate work to be completed within the academic year of appointment. Tuition and fee waivers cannot be carried over to subsequent academic years.
- If the assistant is graduating, their last day cannot be after the graduate commencement.
10 Hour a Week Option
Graduate assistants are hired to work 10 hours a week and receive:
- A stipend of up to $5,700 for the academic year beginning August/September –June 30 (2022 rates). On January 1, 2023, the rate will increase to up to $6,000. Assistants in this role must work 10 hours per week for 40 weeks in order to earn the full stipend.
- A tuition and fee waiver for 6 credits of graduate work to be completed within the academic year of appointment.
Tuition and fees waivers do not apply to Undergraduate Courses, Independent Studies, Directed Studies, Field Work, or other special scheduling courses.
Exceptions may be made regarding length of appointments, if so, awards will be prorated. Graduate assistants are not entitled to any fringe benefits including vacation, sick leave or unemployment compensation, at the end of their contract.
- Graduate assistants (regardless of hours worked) must carry a minimum load of 6 semester credits of graduate work per semester (Fall and Spring) in their program, which is considered full-time. Underload or overload must be petitioned to the Dean of the School of Graduate, Online and Continuing Education.
- The student petition must be approved by the student’s academic advisor and the Dean of the School of Graduate, Online, and Continuing Education.
- Graduate assistants must maintain a GPA of 3.5 in their academic work.
Graduate assistants are required to work 20 hours per week or 10 hours a week depending on the position they have secured. During official school breaks students must petition to request permission for extended hours. Hours will vary by department and position. See your department supervisor for more details.
Graduate assistants are not allowed to secure a second position on campus.
Standards of conduct are guidelines for all Graduate Assistants to follow in order to create a safe, comfortable, and productive work environment that sets forth a model worthy of emulation by students. All staff members are expected to carry out their assigned responsibilities with conscientious concern. The following paragraphs describe the workplace etiquette that is expected of staff members by the Fitchburg State University Administration.
It is expected that all Graduate Assistants of Fitchburg State will contribute to making the working climate one that is characterized by respectful interactions, cooperation among department personnel, open and constructive communication, and trust. Graduate Assistants will speak kindly with one another and acknowledge each other’s talents and skills, although each individual may have a different means of achieving the same goal. Graduate Assistants will work collaboratively toward common goals, support each other, and be accepting of each other’s ideas. Graduate Assistants will be prompt when working with each other, and above all else, treat others as they would want to be treated.
Fitchburg State University is committed to providing a work environment free from harassment of any nature, including, race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, marital or parental status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or veteran status or any other type of harassment.
Harassment is unwanted verbal, physical, or visual conduct relating to an individual’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, marital or parental status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, or veteran status. Any Graduate Assistant that has witnessed, experienced or has knowledge of any act of harassment has an obligation to report this to the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Payroll Services/Affirmative Action Officer, located in the office of human resources at ext. 3172. Please also visit this resource for more information.
The university will act to protect its Graduate Assistants from physical and/or psychological abuse (defined as the intentional or negligent infliction of emotional distress). Any Graduate Assistant who is threatened with harm should notify University Police if there is an immediate threat at ext. 3111. If there is not an immediate threat, contact the Office of Human Resources at ext. 3172 and/or your immediate supervisor. A written report of any serious incidents shall be given to the President and to the Vice President of the area.
No Graduate Assistant is expected to tolerate violent actions from other Graduate Assistants, students, faculty, administrators, or any person with whom they come into contact throughout their employment. Graduate Assistants should report any incident of violence to human resources, their immediate supervisor, or university police.
Taking Time Off (Sick Time or Vacation)
Graduate Assistants should contact their supervisor directly if they need to request time off for sickness or personal reasons. Graduate Assistants are not eligible for paid leave.
Graduate Assistants are not eligible for paid leave.
There are 11 observed holidays. Holidays that fall on a Saturday are to be observed on a Saturday. Holidays that fall on a Sunday are to be observed on the Monday immediately following. See here for a current listing of holiday dates or stop by the Office of Human Resources and Payroll Services. Graduate assistants do not receive pay for holidays unless they are scheduled to work on those days.
Question: The department is considering hiring a graduate assistant. How do we budget for the position? How much should we budget for?
Answer: During the budgeting process for the following fiscal year, request funding for a graduate assistant. The stipend depends on the hours worked:
- Departments looking to hire a graduate assistant to work 20 hours a week, should budget $12,000.
- Departments looking to hire a graduate assistant to work 10 hours a week, should budget $6,000
Question: How many hours can graduate assistants work?
Answer: Depending on their contract, graduate assistants work 20 or 10 hours a week during the fall and spring semesters, for a maximum of 40 weeks. Exceptions may be made regarding the length of appointments based on the start and end dates of their contract, if so, awards will be prorated.
Question: Do assistants receive tuition and fee waivers?
Answer: Yes, they do. Assistants working 20 hours a week receive a tuition and fee waiver for 12 credits of graduate work. Assistants working 10 hours a week receive a tuition and fee waiver for 6 credits of graduate work.
The tuition and fee waivers must be completed within the academic year of the appointment. Tuition and fees waivers do not apply to Undergraduate Courses, Independent Studies, Directed Studies, Field Work, or other special scheduling courses.
Question: How do departments request a graduate assistant?
Answer: Departments looking to hire a graduate assistant should email their request to email@example.com. In their request, they should include:
- Job Description
- Supervisor name
- Number of hours per week
- Start and end date
- Complete FOAPAL
SGOCE will review the request and post the position in Interview Exchange.
Question: Once we have selected a candidate, what steps does the department need to follow to hire the graduate assistant?
Answer: Human Resources and Payroll will guide you through the appropriate process. Visit Human Resources for more instructions. For questions on the hiring process, please contact Human Resources (firstname.lastname@example.org) and/or Payroll Services (email@example.com). Please notify SGOCE (firstname.lastname@example.org) once a candidate has been selected.
Question: Our preferred candidate is an international student. Are there any extra steps we should be aware of?
Answer: International students should contact email@example.com to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to be hired. It is recommended that students reach out to the International Office as soon as possible to avoid any delays in the hiring process.
Question: Where should we direct graduate students with questions about assistantships?
Answer: This website contains additional information for students. Questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Question: Do grad assistants receive payment for holidays, sick leave, etc.?
Answer: There is no compensation for holidays, vacations, or sick leave.
Question: What happens if the grad student decides to resign before the contract expires?
Answer: The student must notify the department in writing to their supervisor and the Dean of Graduate, Online and Continuing Education with the date of their last day of employment (effective date). The Dean will prorate their tuition waiver based on the length of their service and they may receive an invoice for the remaining tuition and fees.