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Graduate School Home > TA/RA Contracts > Preparing Contracts

Directions for Preparing Graduate Teaching/Research Assistantship Contracts

Teaching and Research Assistant Contract Instructions

Graduate Student workers who do not enter into contracts must be paid on an hourly basis as a  non-work study part time student workers (or whatever the proper term is).  Please contact Student Payroll for information. Student Payroll

1.   Academic Year Contracts are for employment from mid-August through mid-May, a Summer Contract is for employment from mid-May through mid-August.  The Finanacial Aid Office will only accept contracts for Fall semester, spring semester or a combination of fall-spring semesters.  Summer employment must be set up on a summer-only contract.  Summer employment cannot be combined on a contract with a fall or spring semester.  Summer employment on a TA/RA contract must be on its own contract for financial aid purposes.


2.   Fill in the student’s UM ID number, not the Social Security number.

3.   Hire Department/Roster #:  This is the name of the department that is hiring the student.  The roster number is the time roster number you want the student’s name to appear on.

4.   Definition of teaching and research assistants:

 Teaching Assistants: TAs are those students involved in instruction, usually of undergraduates.  Qualified TAs perform instructional duties in an area of their expertise, most often within their home departments, although qualified TAs may perform outside their departments.  UM faculty members oversee all TA teaching duties.  General duties include: actual instruction in a classroom setting, instruction in recitation sections, assisting with laboratory setup, conducting help sessions and holding office hours to advise students on class assignments, grading papers, exams, lab reports and homework.  

        Research Assistants: Research conducted by RAs is a significant portion of the total sponsored research at UM.  RAs often conduct research in a relevant area of their major course of study under the direction of a faculty member.  The research may be a component of the faculty advisor's research that is directly supported by external funding.  RAs are generally expected to carry out a specific research project which often forms the basis for a thesis or dissertation.  RA general duties include: performing experiments, calculations, analyzing results and disseminating knowledge orally or in written publications, reflecting on the state of the field and proposing new research problems, attending conferences to present results and collaborate with other researchers, training and supervision of less experienced research personnel.


5.   Fee Waiver Yes/No boxes. Yes, if a fee waiver is being requested.

6.   Fall/Spring boxes: Check which semester(s) student is to receive waiver.        

7.   Resident/Nonresident/TARA boxes: Graduate School will verify residency.

8.   Tuition Waiver Account Number:  This is a drop-down menu.  For chargeback tuition waivers, use the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs for grants (ORSP M29000) and the Graduate School (MGSW01) for SPABA and state accounts.  The personnel in ORSP and The Graduate School who have signature authority on these accounts will sign on the Budgeting Authority line.

9.  Exemption Codes (get from Dean's offices)

10.  If the tuition waiver is being charged back to a grant, write the grant number on the line indicated.  The PI signs for budgeting authority on the fee waiver.  It is the responsibility of the department to contact the ORSP when the grant number comes in.  If the department does not contact the ORSP, the waiver will be charged to the department’s default account.

11.  If the fee waiver is being charged back to a state or SPABA account, put the account number on the line provided.  Departmental personnel with signature authority must sign for budgeting authority on the grant.

12.  Index Number: This is the index number to which the wages will be charged.  A signature is required for the budgeting authority for the index code that is listed.

13.  Index Code Name: Name of area or grant to which wages will be charged.  For example CAS contracts are listed Psychology/CAS and Graduate School contracts are listed Psychology/Grad School.

14.  Full Time Equivalent (FTE): Most teaching and research assistant contracts are processed with a .50 FTE. FTE MUST accurately reflect hours student will work, and must be less than or equal to 0.5 FTE (20 hrs/week).

15. Beginning and Ending Dates:  the beginning date should be the first day the student actually begins work and the ending date should be the last date the student works.  STUDENTS CANNOT BE ASKED TO WORK WITHOUT BEING PAID. 

16. Total Stipend:  Total stipend for the contract period.  Student payroll will divide the contract over the correct number of pay periods. 

17.  Student (Appointee) Signature Line: Contracts can be processed without the student’s signature.  HOWEVER, the University is required to have one signed copy on campus at all times the contract is in effect.  Be sure to have a copy of the contract signed by the student in the department and that the student has a signed copy

18.  If the student is TARA eligible, send a copy of the contract, the TARA eligibility form and supporting TARA documentation (if applicable) to The Graduate School.

19.  Please contact your academic dean's office if you have any questions about preparing the TA/RA contracts.