Task Force FAQs

FAQs regarding the 205 Graduate School funded GA's, i.e. "positions"

The 199 GA positions centrally funded by the Graduate School have been allocated to specific programs and colleges for many years; these are not “new” assistantships.

Additional money was not provided to create new graduate assistantships, but rather to increase stipends in GA lines centrally managed by the Graduate School.

Not all programs have these GAs funded by the Graduate School. If you didn’t receive a communication from Dr. Julie Goodliffe detailing positions for your program with new associated position numbers, these do not apply to your program. It is anticipated that the next round of funding will focus on GA positions held in and funded by the colleges.

Historically, the Graduate School transferred money for the centrally supported GAs to the Colleges in a lump sum. Beginning with the 2019-20 academic year, each of the 199 centrally funded GAs have a unique position number that supervisors will enter in eGA with a Graduate School fund code, and the Graduate School will individually review and approve each position.  Key Takeaway: Stipend dollars for these centrally funded GAs will no longer transferred to the academic Colleges but managed in the Graduate School.

The Task Force Report did not make specific recommendations concerning how GA positions should be distributed to programs; rather, it recommended that GAs should be treated as unique “positions,” that a (minimum) baseline compensation and certain fringes (resident tuition et al) should come with each GA position, and that each position should follow a particular structure (20 hr/wk, 9 month appt, one supervisor, and one appointment per semester for a cohesive, integrated experience).

Unique to the administration of the 199 centrally funded GA positions next year is that each graduate assistantship has been assigned a unique position number and MAY be afforded certain fringe benefits (resident tuition and health insurance), as long as the position is funded at the baseline compensation, is for 20h/wk, for the academic year, and has one supervisor (each semester). 

Given the timing of these changes to the 199 positions, the Graduate School will provide the colleges some flexibility to administer the centrally funded graduate assistantships for 2019-2020 academic year; this will also give the colleges time to plan for 2020-2021. Graduate Program Directors must work with their Associate Dean if they need flexibility in the use of the funds for 2019-20.

Beginning in 2020-21, the 199 centrally funded GA positions must follow the model outlined in #6 above.

Once the position is assigned to a student, it does not have to remain with that student for the duration of their graduate program. But the expectation is that new students offered funding (stipend + fringes) will have a minimum and adequate financial package provided for the duration of their program of study, whether the stipend is funded by a centrally funded line, the academic college, or a grant/contract.

The baseline compensation for centrally funded GAs is $18,500 for doctoral students and MARCH students, and $14,000 for master’s students; the GAs may be topped-off to provide a higher stipend with another fund.

The GA can be either a TA or RA, but cannot be both a TA and RA the same semester.

If a student with a position graduates, or otherwise leaves the University, that position can be re-allocated to a different student in January.  If it is not used by the program for a semester, the funds remain with the Graduate School and are not available for other uses that semester.

The 20-hour GA, with one supervisor, for 20 hr/week and one 9 month academic year, represents a best practice in graduate education. The practice of offering multiple appointments with multiple supervisors is rarely synergistic, and usually not in the best interests of the student’s professional development.  The Funding Task Force studied the issue and determined that the best practice for graduate students is the 20-hour, single GA per semester. Note that this recommendation is currently only applicable to GAs funded by the Graduate School.

This is still up to the program faculty (and the graduate program director), however this new model may require a shift in how faculty are awarded GAs to assist them. A competitive process may be necessary to determine which faculty member has a GA so that the effort by the student is sound. As a reminder, following is the definition of a graduate assistant as outlined on the Academic Affairs, Office of the Provost, website:

The goal of graduate education is transformation of the student into a professional and/or a scholar, and graduate assistantships at UNC Charlotte are conceived to facilitate this transformation. Whether the assistantship duties are performed in the classroom, the laboratory, or a University office, they provide valuable experience in teaching, research, or administration that is an integral part of the student's graduate education. The major goal of the assistantship is two-dimensional: to promote the student's progress toward a graduate degree and to provide additional resources to accomplish the mission of the University.

Graduate assistants receive financial support for their contributions to the teaching, research, and service missions of the University. However, the quality of their supervision, the kind of work they are assigned to do, and the outcomes expected of them distinguish graduate assistants from other employees--even those of the same educational background who receive similar pay.

The University makes a commitment to students supported through assistantships -- regardless of the source of the funding. A part of this commitment involves maintaining the synergistic relationship between the student's studies and assistantship responsibilities. Because these activities must be mutually reinforcing, the student's supervisor has the responsibility both to assure that assigned duties contribute to the student's graduate education and to guide the assistant through the assigned duties.

Yes, for AY 2019-2020, GASP is being offered as usual for GA positions not funded centrally by the Graduate School.  Any changes to GASP policy will be communicated as soon as they are finalized.

Five years for a Ph.D .student, and generally two years for a master’s student.

The new model is being implemented for these 205 Positions, and the Committee on Graduate Student Funding will study the implications of requiring the same rules for all GAs on campus. Ideas, cost models and suggested implementation will be brought to the Graduate Council for approval.  Any implementation will include a plan to pay for the changes, and the Chair of the committee will work with Colleges and the Provost to ensure that any new policies are supported.