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Graduate Staff and Fellowship Audit Guidelines

Background

The Excellence 21 Project entitled Graduate Staff Employment Policy Audits was established with two goals: to review all audits involving compliance with graduate student employment policies, and to create a consolidated review system that would meet current management needs and be free of duplication and non-value added steps. As the project developed, its scope was expanded to include audits related to fellowships. The employment and fellowship audits spanned the offices of the Bursar, Budget and Fiscal Planning, Human Resources and the Graduate School.

One of the recommendations resulting from this project was the design and implementation of an automated program that would consolidate all audits for which there is a current business need. Within this recommendation, current audits determined to be unnecessary or duplicated were eliminated, and needed audits were established. Not all audits determined to be needed were included in the consolidated audit. Some remain as currently established: For example, the I-9 system was not affected. The automated audit program is now operational and audit results are available to all departments via PageCenter after each biweekly and monthly pay period.

Overall Audit Program Description

The consolidated audit program incorporates a series of audits for graduate staff appointments and fellowships that were previously performed by various offices and at various stages in the appointment approval process. The audit program will run after each biweekly and monthly pay period, including summer session, with resulting information available on PageCenter by each pay day.  Each departmental business office will be expected to review the audit information after each pay period and resolve all entries requiring action in a timely manner, usually by the following pay period.

The consolidated audit includes the following six listings:

  1. Grad Staff/Fellows Not Registered in Degree or Teacher License Programs
  2. Grad Staff/Fellows Registered for Less Than 3 Credit Hours
  3. Grad Staff/Fellows Matched by Name since SS# (Payroll) and Student ID# (Registrar) Do Not Match
  4. Grad Students with Biweekly Appointments 
  5. Grad Staff with Total Appointments Less Than or Equal To .25 FTE 
  6. Fellows with Grad Staff Appointments Greater Than .25 FTE

Description of Audit Listings and Departmental Responsibility

Audit Listing 1: Grad Staff/Fellows Not Registered in Degree or Teacher License Program

Audit Description:

Individuals appointed to a graduate staff classification or a graduate fellowship must be formally admitted to a degree-seeking program: Master's (M), Doctoral (D), or Teacher License (L). Graduate staff or fellowship holders who cannot be verified as having been admitted to a degree-seeking program will appear on the listing. The audit program verifies the individual's registration status by first attempting to match the Social Security Number in the Payroll system with the Student Identification Number in the Registrar system. If a match is not identified, a second attempt is made by trying to match the individual's name in both files. If neither match is successful, the name of the individual holding the graduate staff appointment or fellowship will appear on the listing. It is possible that a student who is appropriately registered could fail both of these matches.

Students with non-degree program status must have approval from the Graduate School to hold a graduate appointment or fellowship. This approval would be granted only under exceptional circumstances.  Non-degree program status includes Post baccalaureate (O), International Special (F), and Post degree (P).  These students will be reported on the audit with a remark noting their status.

This audit listing will also include graduate students who are appointed to a graduate staff classification or a graduate fellowship and who are not registered in a particular session. These individuals might be admitted to a degree-seeking program; however, their registration has lapsed.

Graduate students appointed on a staff classification must be registered for a minimum of three course or research hours; graduate students on a fellowship should be registered as full-time students (the number of credits deemed to be full-time will vary by department).

Graduate staff or fellowship holders may register for either "Exam Only" or "Degree Only;" however, this privileged registration category may be used only once. Students with these types of registration will not appear on the audit listing. The Graduate School must approve these registrations and will monitor them to ensure that only one privileged registration is allowed.

If an individual appeared on the previous audit listing and resolution has not been accomplished by the following pay period, the current listing will again report the student and include the remark, "Reported on Prior Audit."

Departmental Responsibility:
The departmental business office staff is responsible for investigating the registration status of all students appearing on the audit listing. Usually this will be done by contacting the departmental graduate office or person responsible for graduate students.  If the student is not registered or has not been admitted to a degree-seeking program, he or she must register immediately or be removed from the graduate appointment or fellowship. If the individual does not register and the department decides to continue his or her employment, the departmental business office should contact its Human Resources Team to establish the correct staff position. If an exception to registration policy is required, a memorandum, signed by the head of the graduate program, should be sent to the Graduate School prior to the following monthly pay period.  Any student with non-degree program status must have approval from the Graduate School to hold a graduate appointment or fellowship.

If the problem concerns a discrepancy with the name only, i.e., additional names, hyphenated names, etc., causing the student registration information and the payroll information not to match, the department business office should contact Human Resources.* Human Resources will record this information in a file that stores matching name information. The audit program will access this file as an additional and final step in the matching process. In future audits this student would then be listed in Audit 3.

All registration issues should be resolved by the following monthly pay period.   If not resolved, a memorandum, signed by the head of the graduate program, should have been submitted to the Graduate School requesting approval for an exception to established policy. If correspondence has not been received in the Graduate School by the following monthly pay period, the Graduate School will request immediate action from the departmental business manager.

Audit Listing 2: Grad Staff/Fellows Registered for Less Than Three Credit Hour

Audit Description:

Individuals appointed to a graduate staff classification or a graduate fellowship must be registered for three credit hours or more (graduate fellows should be registered as full-time students). Students appointed to these classifications who are registered for less than three credit hours will appear on this audit listing.
Departmental Responsibility:

The departmental business office is responsible for investigating whether students whose names are on the list are under-registered. A student must be registered appropriately to continue under the graduate staff classification or to continue receipt of a graduate fellowship.

All registration issues should be resolved by the following monthly pay period. If not resolved, a memorandum, signed by the head of the graduate program, should have been submitted to the Graduate School requesting approval for an exception to established policy. If correspondence has not been received in the Graduate School by the following monthly pay period, the Graduate School will request immediate action from the departmental business manager.

Audit Listing 3: Grad Staff/Fellows Matched by Name Since Social Security Number (Payroll) and Student ID Number (Registrar) Do Not Match

Audit Description:

When the Social Security Number of a graduate staff member or fellowship holder cannot be matched to a Student Identification Number in the Registrars system, the audit program will try to match the name of the staff member or fellowship holder to a name in the Registrars system. If the audit finds a match by name, and if the student meets the registration requirements described above, the students name and  position code will appear on the audit report. If an individual appeared on the previous audit listing, the remark "Reported on Prior Audit" will appear on the report.

Departmental Responsibility:

The Registrars system may contain more than one student with the same name. Therefore, the department business office will need to first verify that the student found in the Registrars system is the same student with the graduate staff or fellowship appointment.   Usually this will be done by contacting the departmental graduate office.

If the name match is verified as a true match, then no further action is required. However, the business office staff should make a note of this verification, since the students name will continue to appear on future audit reports.

If the name match is not a true match, i.e., the student in the Registrars system is not the same student with the graduate staff or fellowship appointment, then the staff member or fellow is not registered appropriately. The same steps described for Audits 1 and 2 should be followed to resolve the registration problem.

Audit Listing 4: Grad Students with Biweekly Appointments

Audit Description:

The Graduate School policy is that students enrolled in graduate school who are employed should be appointed to a graduate staff classification. Graduate students who are employed on an hourly paid student classification will be reported in this section of the audit listing.  The list will include students who hold only hourly paid appointments, as well as those who hold a hourly student appointment in addition to a graduate staff appointment. If the student has a graduate staff appointment, the classification and the employing department will be noted under the Remarks column.

It is recognized that there may be employment situations that are more appropriately handled with a hourly paid appointment. An example might be a student who is doing ad hoc computer analysis for a professors research project where the number of hours of work varies significantly depending on the current activities of the project.  In this case, it would be difficult to assign an appropriate monthly paid graduate classification.

Departmental Responsibility:

It is the responsibility of the departmental business office to ensure that all hourly paid appointments to graduate students are appropriate. It is not acceptable to use the hourly student classification to avoid the assessment of a fee remission charge to a chargeable account. Students appointed to the hourly student payroll in error should be immediately removed and appointed to a graduate staff classification. No further reporting of the departmental findings is required by the Graduate School, Human Resources or Budget and Fiscal Planning.

Audit Listing 5: Grad Staff with Total Appointments Less Than or Equal to .25 FTE

Audit Description:

The audit listing will report all graduate students who have a graduate staff appointment of .25 FTE and no other graduate staff appointment or fellowship appointment. Also listed will be students with a sole appointment of less than .25 FTE, which is unallowable. Each appointment will be identified as "Chargeable" or "Non chargeable." This indicates whether the account that pays the graduate salary is chargeable or non chargeable for fee remissions. Fee remissions for accounts that are non chargeable are instead charged against a central university fee remission account. The number of remissions for .25 FTE appointments charged to this central account are monitored by the central administration.

It is possible for a students .25 FTE appointment to be distributed to two (or more) accounts.  If one of the distributed accounts is chargeable for fee remission and the second account is non chargeable, the student will be listed twice on the report.

Departmental Responsibility:

This listing is provided to departmental business offices to assist in the management of the number of graduate students holding .25 FTE appointments, in particular those whose salaries are charged to accounts which are non chargeable for fee remission.

Each semester, a management report is prepared centrally for senior management review. This report provides information on the number of .25 FTE appointments that are charged to accounts which are non chargeable for fee remission and compares this information to historical trends. Often, the School Business Manager is asked for explanatory comments concerning unusual trends or large fluctuations. The information provided on the audit listing should assist the departments and schools in monitoring these appointments.

Audit Listing 6: Fellow with Grad Staff Appointments Greater Than .25 FTE

Individuals who hold a Purdue University graduate fellowship (Purdue Presidential Distinguished, Andrews, Graduate Opportunities, or Special Initiatives) may accept only a one-quarter time graduate staff appointment without approval from the Graduate School. Students who have other types of fellowships are, in most cases, restricted to a maximum one-quarter time graduate staff appointment. All fellowship holders who are appointed with a graduate staff appointment above a one-quarter time level will be listed on the audit.

Frequently, a request submitted to the Graduate School which is signed by the students major professor and either the graduate chair or head of the graduate program, to hold graduate appointments at a higher FTE will be considered favorably. In making the determination, the Graduate School will consider the students current grade point average and progress made toward the degree. Once a memorandum has been submitted, the Graduate School will keep track of approvals so that additional correspondence will not be needed.

Note that the Graduate School reviews and approves these exceptions for Purdue University Fellowships only. Approvals for other types of fellowships depend on the sponsoring agencies’ guidelines. Sponsored Program Services should be contacted for sponsor guideline information.

Departmental Responsibility:

It is the departmental business managers responsibility to ensure that all fellowship holders listed on this audit have the appropriate approval for a graduate staff appointment greater than .25 FTE. For Purdue University graduate fellowships (Purdue Presidential Distinguished, Andrews, Graduate Opportunities, or Special Initiatives), approval from the Graduate School is required. For other fellowships, Sponsored Program Services should be contacted to ensure the sponsor guidelines would allow the appointment. If this approval has not been requested, the departmental business manager must contact the responsible person in the department to initiate the request to the Graduate School or Sponsored Program Services. If approval is not requested or if it is denied, the students graduate staff appointment must be reduced to .25 FTE or the level allowed by the sponsoring agency.

Departmental Contacts

  • Graduate School, General Information
    765-494-2598 
  • Housing and Food Services Human Resources
    765-494-9418 
  • Physical Facilities Human Resources
    765-494-1421