Terms and Conditions of Employment of Graduate Student Staff (VI.F.11)

Volume VI: Human Resources
Chapter F: Terms and Conditions of Employment
Responsible Executive: Dean of the Graduate School
Responsible Office: Graduate School
Date Issued: January 1, 2016
Date Last Revised: August 19, 2020


Statement of Policy
Reason for This Policy
Individuals and Entities Affected by This Policy
Definitions (defined terms are capitalized throughout the document)
Related Documents, Forms and Tools
Website Address for This Policy
History and Updates





Email/Web Address

Policy Clarification

Associate Dean of the Graduate School



Graduate Staff Employment – Calumet and North Central campuses

Director of Graduate Studies



Graduate Staff Employment – Fort Wayne campus

Director of Graduate Studies



Graduate Staff Employment – West Lafayette campus

HR Employee Relations or Associate Dean of the Graduate School

765-496-7260 or






Colleges, schools, departments and offices may employ Graduate Student Staff in accordance with this policy. Graduate Student Staff are employees of the University, and in their roles as such they are subject to applicable University regulations, policies and procedures.


To qualify for a Graduate Student Staff appointment during any academic session, the student must be enrolled in a graduate degree or teacher license program and be registered for at least three credit hours of graduate-level course and/or research work. Graduate Student Staff employed during the summer are required to register for a minimum of three graduate credit hours during at least one of the summer modules.

Purdue University, in accordance with federal regulations, requires all new or rehired employees to establish proof of identity and employment eligibility before commencing employment and does not employ individuals who are unable to do so. Verification of employment eligibility is the responsibility of the hiring department.

Employment Period and Allowable FTE

The employment period for Graduate Student Staff may be tied to the fiscal year or the academic year. The employment period for fiscal-year appointments begins and ends with the actual dates of employment. The policy on Academic-Year Employment (VI.F.12), as amended or superseded, outlines the requirements for academic-year appointments.

The primary Graduate Student Staff appointment must be set at an FTE of 0.25, 0.50, 0.75 or 1. A combination of appointments may be held by a student in accordance with the Graduate Staff Employment Manual. Regional Campuses may require prior approval from the director of graduate studies for Graduate Student Staff appointments. All appointments require that services be performed at the FTE specified.

All information about the employment period and FTE, as well as any changes that may occur during the course of employment, must be communicated to the Graduate Student Staff member. Refer to the Graduate Staff Employment Manual for a sample offer letter.


Employing departments will provide Graduate Student Staff members a salary rate within the established Minimum and Maximum Salaries for the applicable Graduate Student Staff classification and campus. Refer to the Graduate Staff Employment Manual section on Pay Schedules for information on how pay is distributed.

Graduate Student Staff who hold appointments of at least 0.25 FTE, begin employment during the first six weeks of the fall or spring semester, and continue employment at least through the end of the sixth week of the semester are eligible for the Graduate Staff Fee, regardless of residency. Additional eligibility requirements may apply for summer Graduate Staff Fees, which are outlined in the Graduate Staff Employment Manual. All applicable special fees for each semester or session are the responsibility of the Graduate Student Staff member, including but not limited to, deposits, workshop fees, laboratory fees and differential fees. All other fees are remitted.


Graduate Student Staff are eligible for a variety of benefits as outlined in the standard on Graduate Student Staff Benefits (S-3).


Employment is subject to the availability of funds. The employment of Graduate Student Staff may be terminated prior to the expiration of the stated employment period or the compensation may be reduced during such period in the event federal or state appropriations are reduced or are deemed insufficient by Purdue University. Compensation paid from other sources will be paid only to the extent of funds available from such sources. If, for any reason, employment is terminated before the expiration of the stated employment period, compensation will be paid up to, but not beyond the date of such termination. Continuation of Graduate Student Staff employment is conditional upon performance of the work assigned and/or satisfactory academic progress. The hiring department, in consultation with Human Resources, may terminate the employment of any Graduate Student Staff member for Just Cause at any time prior to the expiration of the stated employment period. No extension or renewal of employment of any graduate student beyond the stated employment period is assumed unless a notice in writing is given to the student. Termination of the Graduate Student Staff appointment that varies from the stated employment period must be communicated to the student.


The employment of Graduate Student Staff provides practical experience and remuneration to the student while furthering the missions of the University. This policy outlines the expectations and provisions for both Graduate Student Staff and hiring departments in order to ensure sound and fair employment opportunities.


Graduate Student Staff and all colleges, schools, departments, offices and other employing units of the University.


There are no exclusions to this policy.


Graduate School

  • Administer this policy.
  • Maintain a Graduate Staff Employment Manual with detailed information and procedures to supplement this policy.
  • Serve as a resource to Graduate Student Staff and hiring departments regarding questions of employment.
  • Make determinations on requests for salaries that exceed the Maximum Salary.

Graduate Student Staff

  • Adhere to the terms of his/her employment as outlined in this policy and in the offer letter.
  • Become familiar with and follow all policies and procedures that relate to his/her employment, both those now published and those adopted from time to time by the University.

Hiring Departments

  • Employ Graduate Student Staff in accordance with this policy and the supplementary Graduate Staff Employment Manual.
  • Ensure eligibility requirements of potential Graduate Student Staff in accordance with this policy and federal regulations.
  • Consult with the Graduate School and/or Human Resources regarding employment questions.
  • Request prior approval in accordance with the Graduate Staff Employment Manual for a Graduate Student Staff salary that exceeds the Maximum Salary.

Human Resources

  • Serve as a resource to the Graduate School and to hiring departments regarding questions of employment.

International Affairs (Northwest), Office of International Education (Fort Wayne) and International Students and Scholars (West Lafayette)

  • Ensure compliance with federal immigration laws and regulations.


All defined terms are capitalized throughout the document. Additional defined terms may be found in the central Policy Glossary.

The full-time equivalent for a Graduate Student Staff member’s appointment, with one (1) being full time.

Graduate Administrative/Professional Staff
Duties that are generally administrative and/or professional in nature are assigned to Graduate Administrative/Professional Staff. Graduate Student Staff members in this classification typically have responsibilities unrelated to the instruction of students in a course. While this Graduate Student Staff classification is often found in administrative offices, Graduate Administrative/Professional Staff are permitted in academic departments as well.

Graduate Lecturer
The responsibilities of the Graduate Lecturer are similar to those of the Graduate Teaching Assistant but at a more senior level. Normally, Graduate Lecturers teach courses beyond the 10000-level. Appointment to this classification is made at the discretion of the department head or in a manner consistent with the governance of a particular academic unit when the following conditions have been met: The graduate student must have passed the preliminary examination and be a doctoral candidate; the graduate student is enrolled in 69900 for research credits and has completed all coursework on the plan of study; the graduate student has been a Graduate Teaching Assistant for at least four academic sessions prior to appointment as a Graduate Lecturer.

Graduate Research Assistant
A Graduate Research Assistant performs duties related to a research project or program under the guidance and direction of faculty members. Any Graduate Student Staff member who is assigned to perform research duties should have this classification, regardless of the funding source, and need not work for his/her own department.

Graduate Staff Fee
The fee approved and documented by the Board of Trustees that is charged to Graduate Student Staff, which includes charges for the University’s repair and rehabilitation fee, student fitness and wellness fee, and student activity fee. The value of the fee remission is reported as part of the Graduate Student Staff member’s compensation.

Graduate Student Staff
Graduate students who are employed by the University, incidental to their graduate studies, to provide services that further the missions of the University while providing the students with valuable professional experience and financial remuneration. Graduate Student Staff positions are divided into the following classifications: Graduate Teaching Assistant, Graduate Lecturer, Graduate Administrative/Professional and Graduate Research Assistant.

Graduate Teaching Assistant
The responsibilities of the Graduate Teaching Assistant could include any tasks related to the instruction of students. Graduate Teaching Assistants may have primary responsibility for a course, recitation section or laboratory section. A Graduate Teaching Assistant may serve as a tutor or provide assistance to a faculty member in instruction in a course through such tasks as grading papers, preparing hand-outs, placing materials on the Web or assisting in clinical assignments.

Just Cause
Reasonable or sufficient cause to end the appointment prior to its expiration. Just cause for termination includes but is not limited to inadequate performance, lack of progress toward degree, budgetary constraints or misconduct, which includes the repeated or serious violation of University rules, regulations or policies.

Maximum Salary
The highest salary rate permitted for Graduate Student Staff members. Salary maximums are approved every two years by the Provost and published in the Graduate Staff Employment Manual section on Compensation.

Minimum Salary
The lowest salary rate permitted on each campus for academic-year and fiscal-year Graduate Student Staff members employed quarter, half, three-quarter and full time. These salary minimums are annually approved by the Board of Trustees and distributed by the Graduate School to colleges, departments and other offices and published in the Graduate Staff Employment Manual.


Graduate Staff Employment Manual (PDF)





August 19, 2020: Included reference to graduate staff manual in section on compensation and updated definition of Maximum Salary.

January 1, 2018: The word “monthly” in conjunction with salary rates was removed, and FTE replaced CUL throughout.

January 1, 2016: This policy supersedes the policies on Graduate Student Employee Compensation Restructuring (Executive Memorandum C-15), Stipends for Graduate Staff Appointments, Fellowships and PRF Research Assistantships (Executive Memorandum C-23) and versions of the Graduate Staff Employment Manual dated prior to November 2015. It establishes a comprehensive terms and conditions policy for Graduate Student Staff.


There are no appendices to this policy.

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