Graduate Assistantships and fellowships

Policy Details


Graduate Assistant and Graduate Hourly Appointees fill a unique position in a university because appointees are both students and employees of Mines. Graduate Assistants are students who have been hired to provide academic and research support. Hourly Appointees provide general program support. As a Graduate Assistant or Hourly Appointee, you will find that successful completion of your employment activities requires significant commitment on top of the commitment you are already making to fulfill degree requirements. As such, Mines places limits on the amount and type of university employment you may accept.

Appointment Types

Graduate Assistant – Teaching Assistantships are awarded to students who assist in the education of other students, either undergraduate or graduate, by teaching, tutoring, instructing or lecturing in laboratories or recitations under the direction of a faculty member. It is a school policy that Teaching Assistants are not assigned full responsibility for teaching courses, rather they assist faculty members in course instruction. Teaching Assistantships are supported by Mines as part of its instructional budget. Departments and Divisions select Teaching Assistants on the basis of past teaching experience and academic promise within their respective field. New Teaching Assistants may be required by the Department or Division to which they report, to attend teaching effectiveness workshops that may be offered by the Department, Division or Institution.

Because Teaching Assistants are employed by Mines through academic Departments or Divisions, they are ultimately responsible to the Department or Division Head of the instructional unit responsible for delivering specific courses. As such, Teaching Assistants are subject to not only Institutional requirements, but also additional policies in effect in specific Departments or Divisions. While Mines establishes minimum stipend rates and maximum workload expectations, teaching assignments, workloads, and compensation may vary according to policies specific to each academic unit.

Graduate Assistant – Research Assistantships are supervised by individual faculty members to perform research that is associated with a student’s area of study. The work is technical in nature, requires significant education and experience, is directly related toward meeting the research requirements of a student’s thesis-based degree program, but may also include additional assignments that are peripheral toward meeting degree requirements (e.g., facility management, report preparation, laboratory assistance, etc.). In comparing the workload associated of a Research appointment with the maximum loads allowed by the Institution, only those components of the assignment NOT directly related to a student’s degree requirements are considered. Components associated with meeting degree requirements are considered academic in nature and their workload expectation is associated with the number of research credit hours in which the student registers.

Research Assistantships are often supported or fully subsidized by grants or funds received as sponsored research contracts. As grants are usually awarded with the understanding that specific milestones will be met, Research Assistantships often require students to work closely with individual faculty members responsible to the funding agency to ensure grant milestones are met. Research Assistants are employed by the Institution through individual faculty members. Faculty within specific departments or research units may define policies related to the employment of Research Assistants that extend the policies defined by the Institution. So, while the Institution establishes minimum stipend rates and maximum workload expectations, teaching assignments, workloads, and compensation may vary according to policies specific to each academic or research unit.

Graduate Hourly Appointments are made to students who work part-time on campus to provide assistance in areas that are unrelated to their academic program and that do not involve teaching or research duties of the nature expected of Graduate Research and Graduate Teaching Assistants. Graduate Hourly Appointees are supervised by Mines faculty or staff and may provide clerical, administrative and technical support for academic and administrative units and individual Mines faculty and research units.

Graduate Fellowships are non-service awards that are distinguished from the above service appointments in that specific duties to the university are not required for the stipend.

Many graduate students at Mines receive funding through a variety of external and internal fellowship programs; some fellowships may be funded or managed by Mines and others may be provided directly to the student from another organization. The information provided below is for Mines managed fellowship programs.

Mines distributes fellowship stipends and other fellowship allowances on a semester basis (fall, spring, summer). Fellowship payments are distributed through the student’s account after Census Day at the beginning of every semester.

Initiation of fellowship awards are made as part of the graduate contracting process.

Fellowship awards funded on sponsored research programs must follow all the rules and regulations of the program. For fellowship programs managed by Mines, awards will be reconciled each semester to ensure allowability of past and future fellowship payments. Reconciliation, at a minimum, will include a review of student enrollment status and any other eligibility requirement for each student. If all or part of a fellowship award is deemed unallowable on a sponsored program during the reconciliation review, it will be the responsibility of the student’s academic unit to cover the unallowable cost.

Please contact the Office of Research Administration for specific questions related to allowable costs on sponsored programs.

Students funded solely on fellowship awards are not typically eligible for the Office of Graduate Studies Summer Research Tuition Fellowship that covers summer enrollment costs for students on graduate Research Assistantship contracts.  Check with the Office of Graduate Studies for specific questions on eligibility.

Roles and Responsibilities

The Graduate School: The Graduate School provides the following services related to the employment of Graduate Assistants and Graduate Hourly Appointees. This includes

  • Acts as an advocate for graduate students at the institutional, state and national levels.
  • Disseminates information on institutional policies related to graduate student employment.
  • Monitors academic progress of graduate assistants.
  • Coordinates and mediates relevant activities of the Offices of Research Administration, Financial Aid and Human Resources.

Appointee Supervisors: The Appointee Supervisor is the faculty or staff member from whom the Graduate Assistant or Graduate Hourly Appointee receives their formal work assignment and who oversees the performance of this work assignment. Responsibilities of the Appointee Supervisor include

  • Meeting with the Appointee early in the semester, and providing the Appointee a clear and concise assignment and expectations to be used for measuring successful completion of the assignment.
  • Providing the Appointee with the Supervisor’s travel schedule and emergency contact information as appropriate.
  • Providing the Appointee with the appropriate support commensurate with the type and expectations of the appointment.
  • Meeting regularly with the Appointee to review Appointee performance.
  • Notifying the Appointee and the Institution in a timely manner in the event of difficulties associated with a current appointment.

Graduate Appointees: Graduate Assistant and Graduate Hourly Appointees are engaged in a wide variety of activities that support the teaching and research missions of the Colorado School of Mines. Some of the responsibilities and expectations of a Graduate Appointee are listed below. Many responsibilities and expectations of a Graduate Appointee are specific to their assignment, but all Appointments include the following responsibilities and expectations.

  • Schedule a meeting with supervisor within the first week of classes to discuss specifics of your work assignment.
  • After this meeting, provide the supervisor with a written schedule of work hours and/or agreed upon tasks at the beginning of each semester and contact information.
  • Contact the supervisor immediately if you cannot meet a work assignment.
  • Perform tasks assigned by your supervisor professionally and promptly.
  • The Graduate School expects supervisors to provide regular oversight of Graduate Appointees. This oversight could be in the form of written or oral performance evaluations. If an Appointee is not receiving regular performance evaluations, he/she should request them from their supervisor.
  • Maintain good academic standing and meet the minimum registration requirements of your appointment.
  • Mines views Graduate Assistant and Graduate Hourly Appointees as emerging scholars and teachers. Professional deportment should be observed at all times.


Regular graduate students (i.e., those that are fully admitted into a graduate degree program at Mines) are eligible for Graduate Assistant and Graduate Hourly Appointments. To receive and maintain an appointment, candidates should meet the following additional criteria.

  1. Appointees must be making satisfactory progress toward degree completion as defined in the Graduate Catalog. Briefly, progress toward degree completion may be deemed unsatisfactory if any of the following conditions is true:
    1. Failure to maintain a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or greater;
    2. Receipt of an “In-Progress-Unsatisfactory” grade for research; or
    3. Receipt of an “Unsatisfactory Progress” recommendation from: 1) the head or director of the student’s home department or division, 2) the student’s thesis committee, or 3) a departmental committee charged with the responsibility of monitoring a student’s progress.
  2. Students must be appropriately registered for the term of their appointment (fall, spring, summer) and the type of appointment they have. Registration requirements may vary according to the term, the student’s residency (domestic vs. international) and whether the student is in their first term, their last term, or continuing. Details regarding contracts can be found here and registration requirements can be found here.
  3. Appointees must meet all eligibility requirements for employment in the United States. See State and Federal Compliance section below.
  4. Lastly, we expect students to devote an appropriate amount of time and energy to completing their work assignments. As Graduate Appointments require full-time enrollment in their graduate program in addition to the work assigned through the Appointment, it is unlikely that Appointees can successfully meet the expectations of each of these commitments while maintaining additional, outside employment. So that supervisors and advisors may adequately advise a potential appointee and so that they may be aware of any potential conflicts of interest in assigning a specific appointment, Appointees who are, or will be, seeking employment outside of Mines during the term of their Graduate Appointment must make their advisor and supervisor aware of the outside employment and receive permission from both to concurrently hold a Graduate Assistant or Graduate Hourly Appointment while working for an outside employer.


As defined below, Mines imposes maximum service expectations on Graduate Assistant and Graduate Hourly Appointments so that employment obligations do not conflict with student progress toward degree. Appointment limits for Assistantship and Hourly appointments are defined below.

Graduate Assistant Appointments may be made at workloads of up to 100%. Examples of four common assistantship appointments are given below.

  • quarter-time (25% or 0.25 FTE)
  • half-time (50% or 0.5 FTE)
  • three-quarter time (75% or 0.75 FTE)
  • full-time (100% or 1 FTE)

A Graduate Assistantship Appointment of 1 FTE (100% or full-time) normally requires a minimum service expectation of about 40 hours per week. Assignments at fractions of an FTE (i.e., 0.25, 0.5 and 0.75) have service expectations that are the equivalent fraction of the full-time expectation (i.e., 0.5 FTE implies a minimum service expectation of 20 hours per week).

During the academic year, Graduate Assistantship appointments are limited to no more than 0.5 FTE (20 hours per week). During the summer, Graduate Assistantship appointments may be made up to 1.0 FTE (40 hours per week). See below for utilization of, and limits imposed on Calendar Year appointment types.

Graduate Hourly Appointments are awarded with an explicit indication of the number of hours per week expected. Students on Graduate Hourly Appointments must submit time sheets indicating the actual hours worked and are compensated on an hourly basis for these.

During the academic year, Graduate Hourly Appointments are limited to no more than 20 hours per week. During the summer, Graduate Hourly appointments may be made up to 40 hours per week.

Students may concurrently hold multiple Graduate Assistant and Graduate Hourly appointments. In the case that a student holds multiple appointments, the student must make all departments, divisions or PIs overseeing the work assignments of each appointment aware of his/her multiple commitments. The sum of the total work commitments may not exceed the institutional limits defined above for a single appointment (i.e., 0.5 FTE or 20 hours during the academic year and 1.0 FTE or 40 hours during the summer).

Terms of Appointment

Individual Graduate Assistantship and Graduate Hourly Appointments may be made for the current semester (i.e., Fall, Spring, Field or Summer), for the current academic year (i.e., Fall and Spring semesters) or for the current calendar year. Conditions, limitations and expectations associated with each of these appointment periods are defined below.

It is Mines policy to pay graduate students on a research or teaching assistantship (RA/TA) contracts on a semi-monthly pay cycle. Semi-monthly pay is paid on the 15th of each month and the last business day of the month. In order to facilitate this process within the parameters of the current payroll system, Mines must backdate the initial work period by two weeks. The signed RA/TA contract is the official record of the start date of the work performed. Pay stubs for employees impacted by this policy will reflect a time period two weeks prior to the performance period.

Fall and Spring Appointments constitute appointments made for any time period during the regular academic year. During the academic year, appointees may not hold Graduate Assistant or Graduate Hourly appointments with a total service expectation in excess of 0.5 FTE or 20 hours per week. Students on Assistantship and Hourly appointments must be full-time registered during the regular academic semester in which they are employed by the Assistantship or Hourly Appointment.

The Fall appointment period runs from September 1 through December 31. Students on Fall appointments are paid eight times during the appointment period as defined below.

Fall Pay Period Pay Dates
Sept. 15 Sept. 30 Oct. 15 Oct. 31 Nov. 15 Nov. 30 Dec. 15 Dec. 31

Spring appointments run from January 1 through April 30. Students on Spring appointments are paid eight times during the appointment period as defined below.

Spring Pay Period Pay Dates
Jan. 15 Jan. 31 Feb. 15 Feb. 28/29 Mar. 15 Mar. 31 Apr. 15 Apr. 30

Summer Appointments constitute appointments made outside of the regular academic year during the summer (i.e., May through August). These appointments may run the entire four months of the summer term or part of the term. Appointees may hold Graduate Assistant or Graduate Hourly Appointments during the summer with service expectations of up to 1.0 FTE. To hold an Appointment above 0.5 FTE, students may not be concurrently registered for classes during the Field or Summer sessions. If registration includes coursework, the maximum appointment workload during the summer is equivalent to that imposed during the regular academic year.

Summer appointments run from May 1 through August 31. Students on appointments providing support for the entire summer are paid eight times during the appointment period as defined below.

Summer Pay Period Pay Dates
May 15 May 31 Jun. 15 Jun. 30 Jul. 15 Jul. 31 Aug. 15 Aug. 31

Depending on the type of appointment, appointees may, or may not, have to register during the Summer. See the Registration Requirements for Summer Appointments below for details.

Calendar Year Appointments constitute commitments made to appointees that provide employment support over an entire calendar year, usually Fall through Summer. Most often, Calendar Year Appointments are made as Graduate Assistantship Appointments. These Assistantship Appointments could be in the form of Calendar Year Research or Teaching Assistantship Appointments, or could be a combination of the two types of Assistantships that vary over the course of the calendar year.

As described above, during the regular academic year, Graduate Assistantship Appointments may not exceed a service expectation of 0.5 FTE. During the summer (i.e., field and summer sessions) Appointments may be made up to 1.0 FTE.

For the purposes of establishing the appropriate minimum institutional stipend rate for Calendar Year Appointments, an appointment with a 0.5 FTE workload during the academic year and a 1.0 FTE load during the summer is used. This is the most common type of Calendar Year Appointment, and is referred to in the table below as a 0.67 FTE Calendar Year Appointment.

Calendar Year Appointments made at less than 0.67 FTE have fractionally less workload expectations during the academic and summer semesters. So, for example, a 0.33 FTE Calendar Year Appointment would have an academic semester workload expectation of 0.25 FTE and a summer semester workload expectation of 0.5 FTE.

Departments award Calendar Year Appointments with the expectation of this varying level of service commitment, but they do so by providing appointees with a uniform monthly stipend over the entire calendar year. Thus, if one were to compute a per-hour pay rate, Calendar Year appointees receive higher per-hour salary during the academic year than they do during the summer. As long as the pay averaged over the entire calendar year meets the institutional minimum pay requirements as defined below, however, these appointments are in compliance with Mines guidelines.

Minimum Stipends

Graduate Assistant Appointments are required to meet the following minimum stipends. Stipends may, at the discretion of the Department/Program or supervising faculty member, be in excess of these minimum requirements.

Minimum stipend rates are as follows, for the 8 pay periods in each term (Fall, Spring, Summer)*:

Academic Year 2-wk pay period, 0.5 FTE 2-wk pay period, 0.67 FTE
20-21 $772.50 $1,030
21-22 $812.50 $1,083.33
22-23 $843.75 $1,125

*Corresponding annual minimum salaries for students who receive 0.5 FTE contracts in Fall and Spring and 1.0 FTE contracts in Summer, as well as for students supported on annual contracts equivalent to 0.67 FTE in Fall, Spring, and Summer are: $24,720 (AY 20-21), $26,000 (AY 21-22), and $27,000 (AY 22-23).

In addition to the stipend rates, the FTE assignments in the table above should be indicated on Assistantship contracts for each semester.  If a student is supported on a Calendar Year (annual) Appointment, the FTE for payroll purposes will be 0.67 year-round and the minimum pay for each of the 24, 2-week pay periods (in AY-22-23) will be $1,125 as indicated above. If a student is supported on separate Fall, Spring, and Summer contracts, the FTE on each of these contracts will be 0.5 (Fall), 0.5 (Spring) and 1.0 (Summer) with minimum pay (in AY 22-23) of $843.75 per pay period in Fall/Spring and $1687.50 in Summer. Note that for both scenarios, the annual minimum salary (in AY 22-23) totals $27,000.

The tuition remission component of Graduate Assistant appointments is described in the section below.

Graduate Hourly Appointments are compensated on an hourly basis determined by the number of hours actually worked. Mines mandates no minimum hourly pay rate for Graduate Hourly appointments, but strongly encourages pay rates commensurate with those required for Assistantship Appointments.

Tuition remission is not included in Graduate Hourly appointments.


Tuition Remission

Graduate Assistant and Graduate Teaching Fellow appointments made at the 0.25 FTE level or above are eligible for tuition remission, i.e. the costs of some or all tuition are included in these contracts.

As 0.5 FTE is the maximum employment level for Graduate Assistants in Fall and Spring terms, 100% tuition remission is expected for RA/TA appointees at that level. Tuition remission may be offered in proportion to lower FTE levels, e.g. 50% remission for 0.25 FTE appointments.

For TAs and Teaching Fellows, departments pay these costs. For Research Assistantships, principal investigators are expected to pay a student’s tuition as part of the award when such payments are allowable. For students whose Research Assistantships are funded through one or more sponsored research programs, the charges for stipend, tuition, fees, and health insurance must be allocated in a proportional manner among funding sources, including institutional sources, and must comply with the terms of the sponsored program(s). Please contact the Office of Research Administration with additional questions on proportional allocation.

The Colorado School of Mines considers tuition remission granted as part of an Assistantship award financial aid. It is awarded for the sole purpose of aiding the student in the pursuit of his or her studies and is paid independent of the stipend. As such, tuition remission is not conditioned upon the student’s provision of any services to Mines and will, therefore, not be deemed taxable compensation. In the event of appointment termination, any payments made in the form of tuition remission prior to the termination date constitute irrevocable financial aid. The student cannot be compelled to repay such awards. In the event of appointment termination for students whose tuition remission was provided by an externally sponsored program (research or otherwise), any tuition costs not allowed by that program after termination will be the responsibility of the student’s academic unit (i.e. their department and/or interdisciplinary graduate program).

 Graduate Hourly Appointments are not eligible for tuition remission as part of the Graduate Hourly Appointment.

Fellowship awards may include funds allocated to cover full or partial tuition costs for students who are not eligible for full tuition remission as part of their appointment. To do so, however, the award must be an allowable expense given the source of the funds used. If the source of funds is sponsored research please contact the Office of Research Administration for further guidance.


In an effort to encourage departments and divisions to admit, and support, highly qualified students from diverse backgrounds in their graduate programs, and stimulate the research enterprise at Mines by increasing the cost-competitiveness of research grants submitted, Colorado School of Mines has defined two fellowship programs available to help defray tuition costs for students serving the Institution as Graduate Assistants.

Academic Year, Differential Tuition Fellowship Program: The Colorado School of Mines will provide Fellowship support in the amount of the difference between non-resident tuition and resident tuition for some Graduate Assistants. To be eligible for this program, awardees and assistantship contracts must meet one of the following conditions.

  • All international students who are in good academic standing and are employed by the Institution through an Assistantship (TA or RA) contract at the 0.5 FTE level and whose contract pays the resident portion of the tuition.
  • All first-year U.S. citizen or permanent resident students, who are not Colorado residents, but who are in good academic standing and are employed by the Institution through an Assistantship (TA or RA) contract at the 0.5 (academic year) or 0.67 (calendar year) FTE level and whose contract pays the resident portion of the tuition. US resident students are not eligible for the Differential Tuition Fellowship Program after their first year; they are encouraged to establish Colorado residency by that time.

Differential Tuition Fellowship awards are made as part of the graduate contracting process defined below. For students whose Teaching or Research obligations extend across multiple academic units, to be eligible for the Differential Tuition Fellowship a single Assistantship implementation agreement should be submitted that shows the appropriate distribution of effort across the academic units. Differential Tuition Fellowship awards will not be considered for students supported on multiple implementation agreements even if the sum of these meets the minimum effort required.

Summer Term, Research Tuition Fellowship Program: The Colorado School of Mines will provide Fellowship support in the amount of four (4) credits of resident or non-resident tuition for research credits for Graduate Research Assistants employed during the summer. To be eligible for this support, awardees and assistantship contracts must meet either of the following conditions;

  • graduate students appointed during the summer as Research Assistants at the 1.0 FTE level with stipend funding (typically derived from an external source that pays overhead to the institution), or
  • graduate students appointed to 0.67 FTE Calendar Year Graduate Assistant appointments, with research responsibilities during the summer semester and summer stipend funding (typically derived from an external source that pays overhead to the institution).

Summer Research Tuition Fellowship awards are made as part of the graduate contracting process defined below. As Research Assistants are required to register for four (4) credits of research during the summer, the Summer Research Tuition Fellowship Program is used to offset the cost of this required registration. Registration associated with coursework completed during the summer is above and beyond the required research registration and is not covered by this Summer Research Tuition Fellowship Program.

If you have questions about a student’s eligibility for either of these Fellowships, please contact Assistant Dean, Jenny Briggs, at the Office of Graduate Studies

Fee and Health Insurance Remission

Graduate Assistant Appointments are eligible for remission of both Mandatory and Optional fees. Mandatory fees include those associated with the Health Center, Associated Students, Athletics, Student Services and Assistance, Technology and Recreation Center. Optional fees include things like Blaster Card activation, graduation, late registration, etc. While remission of a Mandatory fee payment would automatically include payment of fees associated with all of the items listed above, remission of Optional fee payments must be explicitly listed as part of the appointment, as these are not normally included as part of the Mandatory fee payment. Students incurring fees associated with their enrollment at Mines and who are on Graduate Assistant Appointments that do not, as part of the appointment remiss these fees, are responsible for payment of the required fees.

Additionally, Health Insurance is required of all students as a Mandatory Health Insurance fee; unless a student can prove coverage through another plan. Graduate Assistant Appointments are eligible for remission of the required Health Insurance fee. Students who incur a Health Insurance fee while on a Graduate Assistant Appointment that does not remit, as part of the appointment, the Health Insurance fee are responsible for payment of this Mandatory fee.

Graduate Hourly Appointments are not eligible for Mandatory Fee or Health Insurance remission as part of the Graduate Hourly Appointment.

Registration Requirements for Summer Appointments

ALL Graduate Assistant and Graduate Hourly Appointees WORKING TOWARD DEGREE REQUIREMENTS (i.e., doing research or completing coursework) during the Summer (i.e., May through August) ARE REQUIRED TO REGISTER. There are no exceptions to this registration requirement. However, the number of credits required varies according to a student’s situation.

Research Assistant Appointments: By definition Research Assistants are presumed to be working toward degree and, therefore, MUST REGISTER during the full summer semester. The required minimum registration for a Research Assistant appointed during the summer is four (4) credits of research. To insure research appointees have full access to the appropriate campus services including building access, Health Center, Recreation Center, etc., all Research Appointees are assessed tuition and mandatory fess at the normal rates.

If a student on a Research Assistant Appointment is also completing coursework during part of term or full summer term, the Appointee MUST REGISTER FOR THESE COURSES IN ADDITION to the required four credits of research in the full summer term.  Tuition and fees are assessed for both the required research and coursework credit hours at the normal rates.

Teaching Assistant and Hourly Appointments: If a Graduate Teaching Assistant or Graduate Hourly Appointee is not working toward degree requirements at any time during the summer sessions (i.e., May through August), REGISTRATION during the summer terms IS NOT REQUIRED. Such appointees will, however, be subject to the TIAA payroll deductions as defined below.

Summer fees are not automatically assessed for students who do not register. So, unless students proactively indicate they want fees assessed, students working on Teaching Assistant or Hourly Appointments during the summer will not have access to university-provided services (e.g., Health Center, Recreation Center, etc.) unless arranged with their contract submitter in advance.

If a Teaching Assistant or Hourly Appointee is also working toward degree requirements during the Summer I or II terms (i.e., May through August), these appointees must register as appropriate.

  • Appointees conducting thesis research during the summer while a TA/Hourly Appointee must register for at least one (1) credit hour of research.
  • Students completing coursework must register for the appropriate courses by the appropriate summer part of term or summer full term registration deadline. Tuition and fees are assessed for all credits in which a student is registered at the normal rates.
  • Teaching Assistants or Hourly Appointees working toward their degree during the summer by completing both research and coursework during the summer (i.e., May through August) are required to register for both research credit hours and course credit hours as defined above by the deadlines defined above. Tuition and fees are assessed for both the required research and coursework credit hours at the normal summer term rates.

Students required to register during the Summer semester are responsible for all mandatory fees incurred during the Summer semester. These fees may, or may not be remitted as part of a Graduate Assistant Appointment. Students for whom registration is not required during the Summer semester but who are working on campus may choose to pay Mandatory Fees. Payment of these fees provides students access to campus facilities including, but not limited to the Library, Health Center, Recreation Center, etc. during the entire summer (i.e., May through August). Requests for prorating of this voluntary fee payment will not be considered.

Contracting Process

Graduate contracts are submitted via OnBase, the university’s document management system. See the Graduate Contracts website for details. 

State and Federal Compliance

Assistantship and hourly appointments are conditioned upon the appointee’s compliance with any pertinent State and Federal, immigration, visa, lawful presence and identification rules and regulations including, but not limited to the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which requires the appointee to complete and submit an I-9 Form and provide evidence of citizenship or appropriate documentation of eligibility and permission to receive the stipend associated with graduate assistant appointments. Additionally, the appointee is required to complete and provide to Mines’s HR Office a W-4 Form, indicating the number of tax withholding exemptions to which he or she is entitled, and provide all other forms and information required by Mines’s HR Office prior to the commencement of his or her appointment.

These required forms MUST be submitted to the HR Office before the start date to ensure Federal and State compliance laws.

Federal regulations require automatic payroll deduction for retirement from all university employees. Normally, this deduction is in the form of a Social Security deduction. At Mines, however, the retirement payroll deduction is in the form of a personal TIAA retirement account contribution. The only exception to this payroll deduction requirement allowed by federal regulations is for student employees who are registered at half-time or more during the semester in which they are contracted.

During the academic year, as all Graduate Assistant and Graduate Hourly Appointees must be registered full time, TIAA payroll deductions are not withheld from student appointees. During the summer, however, TIAA payroll deductions may be withheld for some student appointees. To remain in compliance with federal regulations, Mines deducts TIAA contributions from student pay for students on TA, RA and Hourly contracts during the summer semester who are registered for less than 1.5 credit hours. Therefore, any student who qualifies for the summer registration exception defined above will have TIAA contributions deducted from their pay during the summer semester.

The TIAA deduction amount is 7.5% of your pre-tax pay. Deductions are placed in your personal TIAA account. You may request a withdrawal of your fund balance from TIAA, subject to taxes and withdrawal penalties, once you are no longer a student or employee at Mines. For questions regarding TIAA go to the TIAA website or call 800-842-2252.

Intellectual Property

While not exclusive to students employed by Mines as Research Assistants, students working closely on sponsored research projects often are involved in the development of innovative technologies, processes and procedures for which Mines has an interest in establishing clear intellectual property rights. In this regard, all students employed by Mines, either as Graduate Assistants or Graduate Hourly Appointees, are subject to the terms and conditions of the Mines Intellectual Property Policy (Section 10.1, Mines Faculty Handbook).


Graduate Assistantship and Graduate Hourly Appointments may be terminated by either party at any time for any reason. In the event of such termination and effective on the termination date, Mines will cease all stipend payments for services not yet rendered. Any payments made hereunder prior to termination that constitute irrevocable financial aid awards (e.g., tuition, fees, and health insurance subsidies) will not be revoked, nor will the appointee be required to repay such awards. In the event of appointment termination, tuition remission not allowed by an externally sponsored program (research or otherwise) will be the responsibility of the student’s academic unit. Please check with the Office of Graduate Studies about contract terminations.

Glossary of Terms Related to Graduate Appointments

  • Stipend: Total salary received by a student appointee as compensation for services rendered to the institution. Graduate stipends are paid every two weeks during the term of the appointee’s contract.
  • Tuition Remission: Departments, Divisions or PI’s may choose to pay, as part of the appointment, the full-time tuition of the appointee. This payment is referred to as tuition remission.
  • Insurance Remission: Departments, Divisions or PI’s may choose to pay, as part of the appointment, the mandatory health insurance of the appointee. This payment is referred to as insurance remission.
  • Mandatory Fee Remission: Departments, Divisions or PI’s may choose to pay, as part of the appointment, the mandatory fees of the appointee. This payment is referred to as mandatory fee remission.
  • FTE or Full-Time-Equivalent: A measure of the work effort expected for the specific appointment. One full-time-equivalent, or 1.0 FTE, is a workload approximately equivalent to 40 hours per week. Fractions of an FTE have workload expectations in hours that are approximately fractional to this 1.0 FTE level. For example, an appointment at the level of 0.5 FTE would have an expected workload of approximately 20 hours per week.
  • Reduced Registration: Normally, to maintain full-time status, appointees must register for 9 credit hours per semester. Upon completion of certain requirements and submission of the appropriate paperwork, appointees may be eligible for full-time registration at a reduced number of credit hours. This is referred to as reduced registration. Please see the Graduate Catalog for specifics on the requirements of eligibility for reduced registration.
  • Differential Tuition Award: Differential tuition is the difference in dollars between non-resident and resident tuition. The differential tuition award is an institutional fellowship program that provides this tuition difference as part of the graduate appointment. If a student is eligible for a differential tuition award, the difference between non-resident and resident tuition is provided by Mines and, therefore, does not have to be provided by the Department, Division or Faculty member. The differential tuition award is intended to remove any financial disincentive for researchers to provide support to non-resident graduate students.
  • Institutional Implementation Commitments: These are part of the Graduate Assistant, Graduate Hourly and Fellowship awarding process. These forms must be submitted to by the appointing department, division or PI each semester an appointment is active. These spreadsheets specify how Mines is to financially implement the contract. A student signed copy of the implementation form represents the Student Agreement form and a copy should be sent to the Office of Human Resources.


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Golden, CO 80401

All new-hire graduate students must complete new-hire paperwork and background check prior to beginning work. See more details in the student section of the new employee information website.

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