Financial Information

Graduate Assistantships

Graduate students often receive assistantships in their departments or other university offices while pursuing graduate studies. Graduate assistants may teach, conduct research, or perform other tasks that contribute to the student's professional development.

Graduate students may become Graduate Teaching Associates, Assistants, or Graders (GTAs), Graduate Research Associates or Assistants (GRAs), or Graduate Assistants (GAs). For eligibility, students must be accepted as a graduate student in a degree program and be enrolled full-time. Graduate students enrolled fully online program that exempt them from paying campus-based fees are not eligible for graduate assistantships. See Full-time Enrollment Requirements.

Both half- and full-stipend assistantships are available. Half-stipend assistantships require students to perform assistantship assignments for a minimum of 10 hours per week during the period of the assignment. Full-stipend assistantships require students to perform assistantship assignments for a minimum of 20 hours per week during the period of the assignment. University policy requires that graduate assistants (position codes 9181-9184, 9186, and 9187) with half-stipend assistantships receive a minimum stipend of $6,000 ($3,000 in fall and spring) for doctoral students or $5,000 ($2,500 in fall and spring) for master’s students; graduate assistants with full-stipend assistantships receive a minimum stipend of $12,000 ($6,000 in fall and spring) for doctoral students or $10,000 ($5,000 in fall and spring) for master’s students per academic year. n rare circumstances, students may be appointed to assistantships with total hourly commitments that extend beyond hours per week. During the fall and spring terms, approval for appointments above 20 hours per week must be requested using the Supplemental Assignment Form; during the Summer term, prior approval is not required. Departments vary widely in their normal stipend rates.

Specific eligibility and application guidelines for graduate assistants are established by the colleges and departments. To apply for an assistantship, students should contact their Graduate Program Director in the department of study. (For your Graduate Program Director's e-mail address and telephone number, see the "Contact Info" in the Graduate Programs section of this graduate catalog.)

Part-time students (those registered for less than 9 hours in fall and spring terms, or less than 6 hours in summer term) and nondegree students are not eligible to receive assistantships.

Background Investigations  

UCF requires a criminal history background investigation for all new hire graduate assistantship students (job codes 9181, 9182, 9183, 9184, 9186, 9187), as well as for those students who are being rehired as graduate assistants after being off the university payroll for one year or more. UCF requires authorization from the graduate assistantship student to conduct this background check, using the Fair Credit Reporting Act Disclosure and Authorization to Release Information Form at http://hr.ucf.edu.

Assistantship Payment 

Graduate students who have assistantships receive biweekly payments following the schedule set by Human Resources. Assistantship payments do not show as credit on the student's term bill; thus, they do not defer tuition and fee charges. Students are responsible for paying the balance on their term bill by the payment deadline published in the Academic Calendar.

Graduate students on assistantships should be aware of the Internal Revenue Service guidelines for exemption from FICA withholding taxes. For more information, please see "Federal Tax Guidelines" on the UCF Human Resources website.

Graduate Research Associates and Assistants 

Graduate research associates and assistants (GRAs, job codes 9181 and 9182) may assist faculty with research activities, participate in research efforts in university institutes and centers or in off-campus projects affiliated with the university, or perform other research-related duties. They may also be assigned to nonacademic university offices such as Academic Affairs, University Analysis and Planning Support, and Operational Excellence and Assessment Support.

GRAs are typically supported by grants and contracts, but may also be supported by departmental funds. GRAs will have the cost of resident tuition paid by university funds (i.e., through grants, contracts, college or division funds, foundation funds or through a formal, written university-approved agreement).

Graduate Assistants

Graduate assistants (GAs, job code 9186) may assist in general office tasks and services not involved in teaching or research assignments for colleges, departments, or nonacademic university offices. GAs will have the cost of resident tuition paid by university funds (i.e., through grants, contracts, college or division funds, foundation funds or through a formal, written university-approved agreement).

Graduate Teaching Associates, Assistants and Graders

Graduate teaching associates, assistants, and graders (GTAs) support the teaching mission of the university and can be hired under three job codes: Graduate Teaching Associate (9183, Instructor of Record); Graduate Teaching Assistant (9184); and Graduate Teaching Assistant - Grader (9187). GTAs may be assigned as instructors of record for undergraduate courses, as assistants to the faculty in their teaching responsibilities or in other roles directly related to credit-earning formal course instruction, or as tutors for students on specific course-related material or general skills. GTAs assisting members of the faculty may have responsibilities that include assisting in laboratory courses, grading, preparation of course materials, or performing clerical tasks associated with course instruction.

GTAs will receive graduate tuition waivers that cover the cost of resident tuition or will have the cost of resident tuition paid by the employing unit. 

Graduate Teaching Requirements

  • Students must have completed at least 18 hours of graduate courses in the discipline prior to being assigned as an instructor of record or teaching independently at the university. Graduate Teaching Associates may not teach graduate courses.
  • New graduate teaching associates, assistants, and graders are required to satisfy the UCF GTA Training requirements before beginning their assistantship assignment. Graduate teaching associates must complete the online GTA Grader Training and GTA Assistant Training and attend an all day, face-to-face workshop presented by the Faculty Center for Teaching and Learning. Graduate teaching assistants must complete the online GTA Grader Training and GTA Assistant Training. Graduate teaching graders must complete the online GTA Grader Training.
  • Students with access to student records must maintain the confidentiality of all student records and information. Failure to do so will result in immediate dismissal.
  • All graduate students involved in classroom instruction who received their undergraduate degrees from a foreign institution must prove their facility with spoken English. See "English-speaking Ability for Graduate Teaching Assistants" below for more information.

For more information regarding GTAs at UCF and registration for GTA Training and SPEAK testing, see Graduate Teaching

English-speaking Ability for Graduate Teaching

The English-speaking skills of graduate students with English as a second language who plan to serve as graduate teaching associates or assistants (job codes 9183 or 9184) will be evaluated as part of the GTA Training that is offered each semester. This requirement applies to all students from countries where English is not the native language; however, such students will be exempt if they have completed a previous degree from a regionally accredited U.S. college or university, from a country where English is the only official language, or from a university at which English is the only official language of instruction, or they have received a score of 26 or higher on the Speak portion of the ibt TOEFL. Only exempted students and those who have attended the UCF GTA Training and satisfactorily passed the evaluation of their English-speaking skills may be assigned as GTAs.

English-speaking ability will be evaluated at UCF using the SPEAK test provided by the Educational Testing Service at the beginning of the Fall and Spring semesters. Should you need to take a SPEAK exam in the summer, please contact the English Language Institute directly.

The university provides you with free English-speaking training if your scores are between 45 and 55 on the initial SPEAK test. 

Initial SPEAK Score  English-speaking Training
55 or more No training needed; you may be a GTA Associate or Assistant provided you meet other SACS-related qualifications.
50 One semester of free training (Oral Communication for Internationals) will be provided by the university with an additional SPEAK exam required at the end of the semester’s training. Failure to attend 15 or more sessions or to complete the required SPEAK exam in that semester will result in you being charged for the training and final SPEAK exam. You may be employed as a GTA Assistant to help with laboratory or other duties under the supervision of a faculty member, provided you meet other SACS-related qualifications.
45 One semester of free training (Oral Communication for Internationals) will be provided by the university with an additional SPEAK exam required at the end of the semester’s training. Failure to attend 15 or more sessions or to complete the required SPEAK exam in that semester will result in you being charged for the training and final SPEAK exam.
Less than 45 Please consult the English Language Institute for an intensive English language program that will meet your needs. These programs charge a fee, depending upon your needs, that must be paid by you. 

If students achieve a satisfactory post-evaluation at the end of the semester, they may be assigned as GTAs. Otherwise, students must apply for further training at their or their department’s expense. 

Assessment of Graduate Teaching Associates, Assistants, and Graders

All GTAs will be evaluated on their teaching each semester using the GTA Performance Assessment Form provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Completion of the form constitutes a summary assessment based on prior classroom visits, informal observations, input from students, discussions with the GTA, and other evidence of performance. The faculty member who is supervising the GTA must complete the assessment and meet with the assistant to discuss the assessment. The form is sent to the College of Graduate Studies by the end of the semester.

Assistantship agreements will not be approved for GTAs who are missing Performance Assessment Forms.

Use of the assessment is at the discretion of the department in reassigning or continuing the student in their GTA position.

Employment of International Students

For information regarding the employment of international students, see International Students in the Admissions section of this catalog.

Parental Leave for Graduate Assistants

The Parental Leave program is designed to assist graduate assistants on existing assistantship agreements during pregnancy or immediately after the birth or adoption of their infant child. The mother may choose to use up to six weeks of leave for pregnancy and/or maternity needs.   The spouse or partner may choose to use up to six weeks of leave to assist in the care of the newborn child and the child’s mother during the postpartum period. Graduate assistants who have assumed parenthood through the adoption of an infant may also use this leave. This includes graduate assistants in a domestic partnership. For this leave policy, a domestic partner is defined as a same sex individual who shares a committed, mutually-dependent relationship.

Qualifying for Parental Leave

Only full-time enrolled graduate students holding active assistantship appointments (job codes 9181, 9182, 9183, 9184, 9186, or 9187) are eligible for the leave. These include Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs), Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs), and Graduate Assistants (GAs). For assistantship descriptions, see https://funding.graduate.ucf.edu/assistantships/.

Applicants for the leave must submit an Application for Parental Leave to the College of Graduate Studies (send to gradassistantship@ucf.edu or Fax 407-823-6442) at least four weeks prior to the anticipated start date of the leave. Provisions will be made for those who must start leave earlier than anticipated due to medical circumstances. The application consists of two parts. Part 1 is the Request form giving the anticipated dates of leave and showing approval of the leave by the funding sponsor of the assistantship (e.g., department chair, research adviser, unit head).  Part 2 is the Anticipated Parent  Information from an attending physician about the pregnancy and/or birth or from an adoption agency verifying the date of adoption and arrival of the infant.

All students on parental leave must submit an Intent to Return to Assistantship from Parental Leave form to the College of Graduate Studies (send to gradassistantship@ucf.edu or Fax 407-823-6442) at least two weeks before their anticipated return date. Those who experienced pregnancy and delivery must complete the Medical Release section on the form affirming that they have sufficiently recovered to resume their assistantship responsibilities. A student unable to return after the six-week leave period must petition for a Medical Withdrawal or a Special Leave of Absence (contact gradservices@ucf.edu in the College of Graduate Studies).

Benefits to Graduate Assistants

During the approved parental leave, the student will retain student status and all privileges of an enrolled student.

Approved parental leave is paid leave for up to six weeks but may be a shorter period, depending on the student’s graduate assistantship agreement(s). The student’s assistantship status will be maintained during the leave, including paid tuition remission and health insurance (if the student accepted this coverage offered by the College of Graduate Studies).

Prior to the leave, the student is expected to confer with his/her course instructors to develop plans as necessary to make up any academic work missed during the leave. Any leave for longer than the six-week period must be petitioned as a Medical Withdrawal or a Special Leave of Absence.

Assistantship Payment and Coverage

The College of Graduate Studies will pay the assistantship stipend equal to the rate of the student’s existing assistantship agreement(s) during the approved leave period. Arrangements for this payment will be coordinated with the student’s assistantship sponsor (i.e., hiring department).

Since the assistantship sponsor does not pay the stipend during the approved leave, the sponsor may hire a replacement at its own expense to fill the duties of the student on leave. This hire may be done using a short-term OPSGRD or a Supplemental Assignment for an existing graduate assistant. The Supplemental Assignment will be approved by the College of Graduate Studies as long as the replacement is in good academic standing with at least a Graduate Status GPA of 3.0, has a history of academic progress in the degree program, and has completed required training for their assignments  (e.g., GTA training and SPEAK Test; for grants, responsible conduct of research training).

The parental leave period of up to six weeks is only in effect for the duration of an existing assistantship agreement and will not extend beyond the agreement end date. However, parental leave could be divided between the end of one semester and the beginning of the subsequent semester if there are assistantship agreements in both semesters. 



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