In general, graduate assistants should be expected to work an average of 20 hours
per week during the time they are appointed to a graduate assistantship. However,
some assistantships in the summer term may require longer work hours during short time periods or
shorter work hours during long time periods.
- Summer graduate assistants may hold any combination of assistantships and hourly worker positions on campus during the summer as long as their total work hours do not exceed 240 hours for the summer term. Rules for additional employment do not apply in the summer term.
Graduate assistant stipends in the summer must meet or exceed the WVU minimum stipend
currently in effect for 9-month assistantships, prorated appropriately. As of Summer 2021, the WVU minimum stipend is $13,500 for 9 months, which equals a
stipend of 4,500 for the full 12 week period for 20 hours per week. Summer stipends
should not greatly differ from the stipend rate provided during the regular
academic year for similar work.
A graduate assistantship must pay at least the equivalent of one month of the WVU
minimum 9-month stipend (currently $1,500) to qualify a student for a University
tuition waiver during the summer.
- Graduate assistantships in the summer should be similar to assistantships during the fall and spring terms with respect to the type of work required and other considerations in this section on Graduate Assistantship Policies. Graduate students hired primarily for clerical, manual, or similar work that does not contribute to their professional skills and knowledge should be hired as hourly workers.
- To be eligible to hold a graduate assistantship during the summer, a graduate student must enroll in a minimum of 1 credit during the summer term.
- Graduate assistants’ programs or supervisors may require enrollment in specific courses or for more than 1 credit.
- Graduate assistants who are funded by research grants may be required to enroll in more than 1 credit because their tuition waiver from the University is considered to be part of the cost share for the grant. These students should check with their supervisors to ensure that they enroll for the required number of credits.
- Even though graduate assistants are allowed to register for fewer than full-time credits during the summer term, they are expected to devote their time to their academic pursuits as if they were a full-time student during the time they receive a stipend. Academic pursuits may include work required for an assistantship, research, writing, coursework, program requirements, activities that contribute to development of the student’s intellectual and professional skills, and activities that facilitate the student’s progress toward degree completion.
- Students who serve as regular (not partial) graduate assistants in both fall and spring are eligible to receive a tuition waiver in the following summer even if they are not a graduate assistant in the summer, with the approval of their school or college. Some schools, colleges, or programs that accept waivers during the fall and spring may not do so in the summer, so students interested in summer waivers must check to determine if they can receive them.
Special Summer Paycheck Considerations (Summer 2019)
- Graduate assistants earning the equivalent of at least one month of the minimum 9-month stipend in the summer term (currently $1,500) receive a waiver of University tuition (see information below). Most graduate assistants are responsible for paying College tuition and University fees.
- Graduate assistants who enroll for less than half-time (fewer than 3 credits) are subject to FICA tax (Social Security and Medicare) withholding from their paychecks. These withholding amounts are 6.20% and 1.45%, respectively, for a total of 7.65%.
- International students on an F-1 or J-1 visa may be exempt from FICA tax withholding; contact Tax Services (304-293-3379×3 or firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.
- Students who do not have other constraints on their enrollment must individually determine the number of credits of enrollment that is the most financially advantageous for them. Follow the procedure below to compare the relative cost of tax withholding vs. tuition and fees for a student who enrolls in 1, 2, or 3 credits.
- Multiply the student’s summer stipend by 7.65% (A).
- Determine the cost of College tuition and University fees for 1 (B), 2 (C), and 3 (D) credits using this chart. Be sure to use the correct figures for resident or non-resident tuition and fees.
- Calculate these figures:
- A+B = the cost of enrolling in 1 credit (withholding plus tuition and fees)
- A+C = the cost of enrolling in 2 credits (withholding plus tuition and fees)
- D = the cost of enrolling in 3 credits (tuition and fees only)
- Whichever of these figures is lower indicates the number of credits that provide the student with the most income.
Student X is offered a graduate teaching assistantship in the summer that will pay her $1,500. She qualifies for resident tuition in a graduate program in the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, so her College tuition is $42 per credit and her University fees are $73 per credit.
A (FICA and Medicare withholding if she enrolls in <3 credits) = $1,500 x .0765 = $114.75
B (College tuition and University fees for 1 credit) = $115
C (College tuition and University fees for 2 credits) = $230
D (College tuition and University fees for 3 credits) = $345
Her total costs for enrolling in 1, 2, or 3 credits would be:
A+B = $229.75 for 1 credit
A+C = $344.75 for 2 credits
D = $345 for 3 credits
She would have the highest take-home pay by enrolling in 1 credit. She would also have higher take-home pay by enrolling in 3 credits than in 2 credits.
- Note that graduate assistants’ enrollment status is determined about 15 days prior to each paycheck.
- Graduate assistants with any questions about tax withholding (including State and Federal withholding) should contact Tax Services (304-293-3379×3 or email@example.com).