Is it possible for the stipend to be extended?

Date: May 2020


Hello Deans,

The graduate stipend was extended to May 20th but there are a sizable number of TAs that are still working (and will continue to do so through the weekend and into next week grading). We’re essentially working without pay. Is it possible for the stipend to be extended to the end of the month or even to the end of next week so that we are properly and fairly compensated for our work?

A Broke and Tired Grad Student


Dear A Broke and Tired Grad Student,

This has certainly been an exceptional (and exceptionally tiring) semester for us all! I hope that you’ll be able to find some time to relax and recharge over the Memorial Day weekend and in the warmer days ahead.

The spring semester assistantships appointment period began on January 1st and most TAs are not asked to perform any duties for those first days/weeks in January while receiving stipends before classes start, with the understanding that they do have to perform duties until grades are submitted. The grade submission deadline often falls just after the end of the appointment period but the dates are sequenced to minimize gaps in stipend payments for students who are funded on various combinations of assistantships and/or fellowships over the span of fall, spring, and summer terms. The final spring assistantship semi-monthly paycheck is issued on 5/29. Summer fellowships disburse on or before June 1st. There is no gap in stipend paychecks for students who are on spring and summer assistantships.

You’ll find additional information about the TA appointment periods in university policy 1.3 (p11):

Appointment periods for assistantships typically begin one to three weeks prior to the start of classes. Graduate students funded on assistantships should thus expect their assistantship responsibilities to begin at the start of the appointment period and should plan to make academic progress in their degree program throughout the appointment period. Because some courses may have final exam periods that extend beyond the assistantship appointment period, TAs should be informed at the time of appointment that they may be required to fulfill teaching responsibilities beyond the appointment period. The appointing department and supervising faculty should put this information in writing in the student’s appointment letter. Total hours for TAs (including final exam responsibilities outside of the appointment period) should not exceed the university policy limit of an average of 15 hours/week for the number of weeks in the appointment period with no week exceeding 20 hours.

That same policy also provides an appointment letter template that should look similar to the letter you received at the start of your TA assignment (p25):

Description: Duties for this teaching assistantship typically begin at the start of the appointment period and end on the day after the deadline for completion of the final exam grades. Duties and responsibilities of this assistantship include: [attending all classes, running ___ sections, holding office hours, making weekly assignments, grading assignments, grading papers, grading midterms, grading finals, maintaining the class electronic mailing list, maintaining the class web site and providing limited administrative support to the instructor of record]. It is possible that there may be changes in assignments due to unforeseen circumstances

If you are being asked to perform TA duties that exceed the allowable time limits or seem otherwise inappropriate you can speak with your DGS or let me know directly and we can help.  Again, I do hope that you are safe and well during this very unusual time!  



Jason Kahabka
Associate Dean for Administration