Hiring and Onboarding of Graduate Assistants

When the hiring manager (supervisor) has selected the finalist whom they would like to hire as Graduate Assistant, they (or their delegate) should initiate the Onboarding Request Form prior to the expected hire (start) date (recommend 10 days before). New hires are not authorized to begin working until all appropriate approvals have been secured and work authorization (Form I-9) has been verified by HROE in the new hire’s onboarding session. A

 NOTE: New employees who reside outside the USA may not work remotely. This guidance applies only to new Faculty and Graduate Assistant hires, not existing employees. For information regarding Alternate Work Location (remote) guidelines, consult our webpage.

International students must complete their ISSS check-in in the ISSS Portal prior to hire.


Hire (Start) Dates for New Graduate Assistants

During the first year of the graduate assistantship appointment for all new graduate assistants employed in a teaching (GAT), lecturer (GAL), research (GAR), or non-teaching (GANT) position, the Annual Work Period for the primary appointment should begin on an approved common hire date on or before the first day of the semester when the new graduate assistant is expected to begin employment-related responsibilities. Additionally, graduate assistants are required to be in residence by the hire date. 

All offers of employment for graduate assistants must use one of the four pre-determined common hire dates available each month. Common hire dates occur on the first of each month and the following three Mondays. Additional dates have added in August 2024 to accommodate the increased volume of graduate assistant and faculty being hired.  As we continue to improve our processes it is recommended that you check the HROE website for these dates.

We acknowledge that there may be impacts to visas, work authorization dates, and the ability to start work and be in residence by the start of the semester. These situations will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.


Offer Letter Language for New/Returning Graduate Assistants

Offer letter templates for new and returning graduate assistants are available on the HROE website.

Please note that the appointment period for graduate assistants is based on position/departmental needs.  The appointment period must be a minimum of 4.5 months to be benefits-eligible.  While academic appointment periods may be 4.5 months, 9 months, or 12 months, best practice is to use a 9- or 12-month appointment.

IMPORTANT: Texas A&M is a Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) member institution and a signatory of the April 15 Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees, and Assistants that states:

Students are under no obligation to respond to offers of financial support prior to April 15; earlier deadlines for acceptance of such offers violate the intent of this Resolution. Per the resolution, it is further agreed by the institutions and organizations subscribing to the above Resolution that a copy of this Resolution or a link to the URL should accompany every scholarship, fellowship, traineeship, and assistantship offer.

This resolution only applies to offers of financial support for the fall term, and it does not apply to medical or law school admission. Questions about this resolution can be directed to grad@tamu.edu.


Reappointing Graduate Assistants

When reappointing Graduate Assistants for an additional term, departments/units are reminded that it is best practice to provide offer (reappointment) letters which clearly communicate the terms and conditions of employment, including the start date, appointment term (fall, spring, summer, etc.), job duties and pay rate along with department-specific onboarding information. 


Best Practices for Processing Graduate Assistant Appointments in Workday

Carefully consider the Workday annual work period, appointment period, and options:

  • For appointments that begin in August, use the August 1 – May 31 Annual Work Period (AWP) in Workday. Use this work period even if the hire date is between August 1 and August 31. Do NOT select the August 16 – May 16 work period as this will cause the new hire to be paid incorrectly.
  • After November 1 (rather than September), the HR Professional will initiate a Data Change business process in Workday to change the AWP to the appropriate work period (such as the 9-month period of September 1 – May 31). The November data change is recommended to ensure that the modification in the annual work period does not impact benefit enrollment or other Workday actions
  • Do not use an AWP of less than 4.5 months because this will cause the employee to lose benefit eligibility.
  • If the Graduate Assistant is graduating in December, process the termination on or after December 1.
  • HR Professionals should take note of semester deadlines to complete Workday action items that will result in F-1 or J-1 graduate assistant’s inclusion in the student health insurance plan waiver report
  • If the Graduate Assistant would like benefits coverage to begin on the first date of employment, the HR Professional will need to process the employee’s hire in Workday as quickly as possible and instruct the employee to contact Benefit Services at (979) 862-1718 or benefits@tamu.edu. The Benefit Services team will manually change the student's Benefit Event from "First of the Month Following 60 Days of Hire" to "Date of Hire" so the benefits will start immediately. Students are responsible for paying the full premium payment amount for the first two (2) calendar months. On the third month, the State Group Insurance Premium (SGIP) is credited to the employee's record allowing the student employee to pay the discounted appropriate rate they have enrolled in.


Form I-9 Processing

  • The I-9 process will remain the same and should be done via Guardian with new hires completing Section 1 on or before the hire date and Section 2 completed within 3 business days of the hire date.
  • International students hired as Graduate Assistants must be in the U.S. to complete the Form I-9 and the hire date in Workday is the hire date used to complete the Form I-9.