A.  Minimum Registration Requirement

The Department requires that all graduate students holding either a teaching or a research assistantship (TA or RA) be registered for at least 9 credit hours during each semester of the academic year.

B.  English Requirement for ALL Foreign Graduate Teaching Assistants

The statement of the University policy is attached as Appendix B. The University requires all foreign Teaching Assistants to successfully complete an International Teaching Assistant Institute. This three–week–long institute is offered during the latter part of each summer.

C. Getting Paid

Your salary for your graduate assistantship for the academic year (Aug – May) is paid out in ten equal monthly payments on the last business day of each month beginning in August and ending in May of the following year.  If your appointment is for one semester only, your stipend will be paid out in five equal monthly payments. Summer TAs result in an unusual pay schedule.  At the end of June, you get paid for the first half of the first 5-week session.  The July paycheck includes the second half of the first 5-week session and the first half of the second 5-week summer session.  In August, you get paid for the second half of the second 5-week session.  In addition, if you are a TA or RA for the next fall, your salary for that appointment will be included in the August paycheck.  See the graduate secretary for questions about paychecks.

D.  Limitations on Graduate Teaching Assistantship Support

In order to improve research productivity, decrease the average length of graduate study, and mitigate potential problems arising from the minimum class size policy, the Department limits the extent of TA support as follows:

1. All students are restricted to 12 semesters of full-time TA support after enrolling with a B.S. degree (or UNL equivalent), and eight semesters of full TA support after enrolling with an M.S. degree (or UNL equivalent). Support during the summer is not restricted.

2. If funding is available, students making satisfactory progress will be guaranteed 10 semesters of full–time TA support toward the Ph.D. degree (6 semesters if entering with an M.S. degree) or 5 semesters toward the M.S. degree. Beyond these limits, support will be granted only at the convenience of the Department.

E. Tuition Credit

i. During the Academic Year

To be eligible for tuition waiver, graduate students must have an assistantship or a combination of assistantships that have a combined FTE of at least .33 (13 hours per week) and remain in the assistantship for at least 120 days each semester.  Tuition is waived for up to 12 credit hours each semester.

ii. During the Summer Sessions

Students having a graduate assistantship during the academic year may receive tuition credit during the following summer sessions. The amount of tuition credit depends on the level of the academic year graduate assistantship stipend. Details are available from the Main Office, the Graduate Committee Chair, or the Graduate College. Graduate assistants not on appointment for both semesters are not eligible for the summer session tuition credit.

F.   Social Security Taxes

Some graduate students unnecessarily pay social security (F.I.C.A.) taxes every summer on their summer income. The Payroll Office (ext. 2-2010) describes the regulations as follows:

1.     Foreign Students here on an F-1 or J-1 visa generally do not pay social security taxes. Those on F-2, H-1, H‑2, or J-2 generally do pay social security taxes. For further information, consult the Payroll Office.

2.     Domestic students who have a graduate teaching or research assistantship do not pay social security taxes provided they have half-time status.  This means that they must be registered for a total of four credits over the course of the summer.  Be sure to register for all 4 credits hours no later than June 1st to avoid paying social security taxes in June.  See Marge Wolfe for details.

G.  Full-Time Status 

(See the Graduate Studies Bulletin)

During the summer, students are not required to register for credit hours to maintain graduate student status; however, if they do not register for at least a total of 4 credit hours over the summer sessions as noted above, Social Security and Medicare taxes will be withheld. During the fall and spring semesters, full-time status is 9 credit hours.