Hiring and Onboarding of Graduate Assistants

When hiring and onboarding Graduate Assistants for the fall term, units are reminded that it is best practice to provide appointment letters which clearly communicate the terms and expectations of employment. 

Instructions should also be provided to the student detailing their start date and the unit’s onboarding processes.  Continuing with the policy implemented in 2021, current guidance suggests that units should start Graduate Assistants on August 1 or August 16.  However, if the Graduate Assistant will not be working on these dates, the hire date should reflect the actual date work is first performed. We acknowledge that there may be impacts to visas, work authorization dates, and the ability to start work and be in residence on August 1 or August 16. These situations will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

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.

International students must complete their ISS check-in in Terra Dotta prior to hire.


Workday Processing Recommended Best Practices

  • 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), initiate a Data Change business process in Workday to change the AWP to the appropriate work period (such as the 9-month September 1 – May 31). The later date for making the data change is recommended to assure that the change in AWP doesn’t impact benefit enrollments 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.

Form I-9 Instructions

  • 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. You should not start a hire process in Workday until you can confirm with the student their availability to meet with you to complete Section 2 of the Form I-9.

Benefits Enrollment

  • If the Graduate Assistant would like benefits coverage to begin on the first date of employment, the department will need to enter the employee into 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. The University’s reimbursement process for benefits starting prior to SGIP will be applied. 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.