Financial Support

Academic Appointments

General Information on Graduate Student Academic Appointments

Student Academic Employment positions provide the single largest source of UC Santa Barbara graduate student support. They also constitute an important aspect of graduate training under faculty guidance. Graduate Student Academic Employment encompasses the following positions:

  • Graduate Student Researcher
  • Associate In __
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Reader
  • Tutor/Remedial Tutor

The Training and Rights of Academic Employment

The Graduate Division encourages all departments to train graduate students who will be teaching or assisting in research as Teaching Assistants, Associates In __, Readers, and/or to serve as Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs). Departments may provide professional preparation for their students by offering classes, colloquia, and workshops to ensure effective teaching and professional development. All departments should ensure that students are well-prepared to assume the responsibilities for teaching undergraduates and to succeed as professional researchers. Increasingly, attention is turning to the preparation of students for roles not just in academia, but also in industry, government, and public service. Graduate students who will be new TAs are required to attend a mandatory TA Orientation held prior to the start of the fall quarter.

Graduate students seeking academic employment positions should be presented with clear guidelines concerning the application and selection process, as well as terms of service. The procedures for posting open positions, appointing students, and complaint resolution for TAs, Associates, Readers, Tutors, and Remedial Tutors are specified in the UC-UAW Agreement. Information for GSRs on how to express a concern or file a complaint should be included in the department's student handbooks or communicated in another formal manner to students in the department.

Employment Eligibility

To be eligible for any academic appointment, graduate students must be:

  • Currently registered and enrolled in at least 8 units (12 units is the normal load);
  • In good academic standing (requires a grade-point average of at least 3.0 in academic work, fewer than 12 units of incomplete or no grades, and status within normative time and/or time to degree standards);
  • Chosen for academic appointment on the basis of high scholastic standing;
  • For Teaching Assistant positions, students must be certified as having language proficiency in spoken English if their native language is not English. For details, please see Teaching Assistant Language Evaluations
  • Students must be in an open degree status (not Education Abroad Program, EAP reciprocity, or other non-degree student status);
  • Perform the duties of the position to a satisfactory level;
  • Be eligible to work under federal and state laws.

Please note, in situations where appointments are being considered by departments/units other than the student's home department, the employing department must verify the student's eligibility with the student's home department. The form may be downloaded at Eligibility Verification Form.

Terms and Conditions (Limitations)

The appointment or reappointment of a graduate student to an academic title must be for a period of one year or less. Graduate students holding these academic appointments should be under the direction of a UC Santa Barbara faculty member. Graduate students in teaching appointments may not supervise or evaluate other graduate students. Additional information regarding student academic appointments can be found in Academic Personnel Procedures for UC Santa Barbara (The Red Binder), Section IV: Student Academic Titles.

Students who are appointed to Associate In __, Reader, Tutor/Remedial Tutor, and Teaching Assistant titles fall under an agreement between the Regents of the University of California and the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America (UAW), and AFL-CIO pursuant to the provisions of the Higher Education Employer-Employee Relations Act (HEERA). For questions concerning the contract, see the UC-UAW Agreement.

All appointments or combined appointments are limited to 50% time (an average of 20 hours per week) during the academic terms. An exception may be granted by the home department for a graduate student to be compensated for a maximum of 75%; appointments above 75% require Graduate Division approval (see the exception process below). The 50% time restriction will apply without exception for Associates and international students, dependent upon their visa type or country of origin (consult the Office of International Students and Scholars for further information). All continuing students may work 100% time during the summer, provided they were registered and paid fees for the immediately preceding spring quarter.

The total length of time a student may hold any one or a combination of the following titles may not exceed 12 quarters: Teaching Assistant and/or Associate In __. Under special circumstances, an exception may be granted for additional appointments beyond 12 quarters (see the exception process below). Systemwide regulation does not permit graduate student appointment beyond 18 quarters as a Teaching Assistant and/or Associate In __.


In order to hold academic employment, graduate students must meet the criteria stated above. In certain cases, an Exception to Employment Policy may be requested by the home department in order to allow a student who does not meet these criteria to be employed.

An Exception to Employment Policy must be submitted to the Graduate Division in the following instances:

  • All Associate In __ appointments
  • Appointment of graduate students on academic probation
  • Appointment of graduate students who have already worked a combined total of 15 quarters as a TA and/or Associate
  • Appointment of graduate students for more than 75% time (however, the 50% time restriction applies to international students and Associates without exception)
  • Students is 4 or more quarters Beyond Time to Degree

The Graduate Division has delegated the authority to approve Exceptions to students’ home departments in the following instances, provided that the student meets all other appointment criteria:

  • Appointments of graduate students from 51 to 75% time
  • Appointment of graduate students to serve 13 to 15 quarters as a TA and/or Associate
  • Students employed while on Warning Status (but not on Probation)
  • Appointment of graduate students with a GPA below 3.0
  • Appointment of graduate students with 12 or more units of incomplete
  • Student is Beyond Department Normative Time Standards (Pre-Fall 2010 admits)
  • Student is 1-3 quarters Beyond Time to Degree (with progress plan submitted to Graduate Division)

Departments are allowed to approve graduate student employment exceptions related to Time-to-Degree for up to three quarters as long as an Academic Progress Plan has been submitted to the Graduate Division. In addition, for students who were admitted prior to Fall 2010, departments are now delegated authority to approve employment exceptions for students who have exceeded the department-specific "Normative Time" standard (but who are still within the campuswide 7-year Time-to-Degree standard).

In situations where a student will be employed by a department outside of their home department, the hiring department is responsible for completing an Eligibility Verification Form and ascertaining signature from the student's home department.

Fee and Tuition Remission

Graduate students appointed in fee remission bearing titles may become eligible for fee remission as a benefit of their employment. Fee remission is calculated on a quarterly basis and eligibility is determined based on combined effort across all Academic Student Employee (ASE) and Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) appointments for the quarter in question. Please see below for additional information about fee remission levels.

For current fee amounts, please see Fees and Costs.

Gaucho Health Insurance (GHI)

All graduate students are assessed a quarterly fee for mandatory Gaucho Health Insurance (GHI). Payment of GHI for Teaching Assistants, Associates in __, Tutors, Remedial Tutors, and Readers, who have appointments of 25% time or greater, is defined by the UC-UAW Agreement. Graduate Student Researchers who have appointments of 25% time or greater also receive payment of GHI as part of their fee remission benefit. All other graduate students must either pay the fee or obtain a waiver. Students obtain waivers by proving to the Student Health Services Office that they have comparable coverage under another health insurance policy. GHI provides year-round and worldwide coverage. For more information students are encouraged to consult the GHI Information Page or call the Student Health Office, (805) 893-2592.

Fee and Tuition Remission for GSRs

Graduate Student Researchers (GSRs) qualify for full fee and tuition remission if they are appointed for at least 35% in all GSR appointments combined over the three months of the quarter. Full fee and tuition remission includes the payment of fees (tuition, student services fee, and campus based fees), health insurance for all eligible students, non-resident supplemental tuition for international students, and non-resident supplemental tuition for domestic students during their first year only. Please note, for combined appointments where a GSR is also working in an ASE appointment, the student must work at least 35% as a GSR in order to receive the full fee remission benefit. 

These benefits must be paid from the funding source that pays the student's salary. The cost of these benefits will be charged to the funding source monthly. GSRs hired at 25% to 34% qualify for partial fee remission, which includes payment of partial fees (tuition and student service fee) and health insurance. Graduate students appointed in both GSR and ASE positions qualify for partial fee remission if appointed for at least 25% combined across all ASE and GSR appointments over the quarter. However, students ​are eligible for full fee remission only if appointed for at least 35% across GSR appointments. These benefit charges will also be charged to the salary funding source.

The fee remission policy stipulates that GSRs must be paid the requisite fees at the given percentages of hire outlined above. In rare cases, Principal Investigators may request contingency funds from the Office of Research when the funding agency will not allow for the payment of fee remission for GSRs. Block grant, fellowship, or other funds may not be used to augment grants or pay any portion of the fee remission programs.

Fee and Tuition Remission for ASEs (TA, Associate In __, Reader, Remedial Tutor)

The remissions quoted are consistent with the terms of the current UC-UAW Agreement. Please be aware that future wages, terms, and conditions are subject to modification based on the collective bargaining process.

ASEs whose appointment is at least 25% time qualify for a partial fee remission (includes tuition and student services fee) and payment of health insurance.

For current fee amounts, please see Fees and Costs.

Student Academic Appointment Types

Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) Appointment Title

A GSR (title codes 3276, 3284) is a graduate student who assists faculty members with scholarly research. Graduate Student Researchers are selected for high achievement and promise as creative scholars; they may collaborate in the publication of research results as determined by supervising faculty members.

A continuing graduate student must be registered in the previous spring quarter to be eligible for a summer GSR appointment. New students who register early for fall quarter in at least 8 units are eligible for summer GSR appointments.

Departments may set additional hiring criteria beyond what is noted above as long as all students are treated consistently and a current departmental policy is on file with the Graduate Division. Advancements are made upon recommendation by the chair of the department, based on performance evaluations by supervising faculty (which must be documented if advancement is withheld from an otherwise qualified student). Reappointments and advancements are not automatic.

Teaching Assistant (TA) Appointment Title

A Teaching Assistant (title code 2310) is chosen for excellent scholarship and promise as a teacher and serves an apprenticeship under the supervision of a regular faculty member.

Terms and Conditions for TA

The department chair, acting upon nominations made by department members, is authorized to appoint TAs. However, the Dean of the Graduate Division must approve all exceptions to appointment criteria. New students whose first quarter of registration will be in the fall may not be TAs prior to the fall unless they register for at least 4 units in a summer quarter. The selection, supervision, and training of all TAs are important responsibilities of the teaching department, and in particular the department chair. All candidates for appointment and reappointment should be subjected to careful review and recommendation.

The TA is not responsible for the instructional content of a course, for selection of student assignments, for planning of examinations, or for determining the quarter grade for students. A TA should not be assigned responsibility for instructing the entire enrollment of a course or for providing the entire instruction of a group of students enrolled in a course. The TA is, instead, responsible for the conduct of recitation, laboratory, or quiz sections under the active direction and supervision of a regular member of the faculty to whom final responsibility for the course's entire instruction, including the performance of TAs, has been assigned.

Associate In ___ Appointment Title

An Associate (title code 1506) is a registered UC graduate student employed temporarily to give independent instruction for a course.

Terms and Conditions for Associate in __

Minimum qualifications for this position require the possession of a master's degree or equivalent training, and at least one year of teaching experience. All Associate appointments require the review and pre-approval of the Graduate Dean and the appropriate College/School. Associates may not evaluate fellow graduate student appointees (e.g., TAs). If TAs are assigned, a faculty member must be named responsible for the evaluation of the TA(s).

Readers and Remedial Tutors Appointment Titles

A Reader appointment (title code 2850) is for a student to serve as a "course assistant," which will normally include grading of student papers and final examinations. A Remedial Tutor (title code 2288 and 2289) assists students in understanding course concepts, discovering solutions to problems, modeling study strategies, developing methods for independent work, and preparing for upcoming exams.

Terms and Conditions for Readers and Remedial Tutors

A Reader should not be given the responsibilities customarily accorded to a TA. Readers will usually be graduate students, but qualified undergraduates may be appointed to this position. Remedial Tutors may be either graduate students or qualified undergraduates.

How to Hire Graduate Students

How to Hire ASEs

  • Department receives funding allocations in spring and makes hiring decisions.
  • The start date for students employed in this title is either September 1 (payment broken over 4 months) or October 1 for fall quarter, January 1 for winter quarter, and April 1 for spring quarter. Payment of students will be at the 1/9th rate.
  • Appointees shall be notified in writing of their appointment. The written notice of appointment shall specify the beginning and ending dates of the appointment.
  • Department notifies students of appointment offer by sending the Notification Letter, including any Supplemental Documentation.
  • Additional details and sample letters can be found at the Academic Personnel page on Graduate Student Appointments
  • For Associate Appointments, Department completes Associate Appointment packet and obtains necessary approvals (see Associate Appointment Approval Process).
  • If necessary, Department completes request for Exception to Employment Policy and obtains approval (see How to Request an Exception to Employment Policy). Department provides student with a copy of the ASE Responsibility Checklist:
  • Student completes hiring paperwork. Department enters student into Payroll and into GSFR if eligible for fee remission during the academic year.

Associate Appointment Approval Process

Department submits Associate Appointment Packet to the Graduate Division at least six weeks prior to the start of the academic quarter (Fall, Winter, and Spring). Appointment packets must include the following:

  • Department Letter of Recommendation (for an example, see Academic Policies and Procedures Section IV – 3)
  • UCSB Biography form with initial appointment in department (original plus one copy)
  • Teaching Evaluations
  • Graduate transcript
  • Eligibility Verification from Home Department form if necessary (see below)

Once endorsed by the Graduate Division, the appointment request for lower division courses from the Bren School and the College of Creative Studies is taken to the Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Personnel. For all other lower division courses the appointment request is taken to their respective Deans. For upper division and graduate level courses the appointment request is endorsed by Graduate Division, then taken to the Academic Senate (either the Undergraduate Council or Graduate Council, accordingly) for review and lastly sent to the respective Dean for final approval.

For summer Associate Appointment requests, please contact the Office of Summer Sessions.

How to Request an Exception to Employment Policy

The home department completes the Exception to Employment Policy Form, making sure to provide adequate academic justification explaining the reason for the exception. Department submits to Graduate Division for approval. If approved, Department will receive an approval memo and may proceed with the hiring process.

How to Use the Eligibility Verification From Home Department Form

To obtain approval to hire a student outside their home department, the employing department completes the Eligibility Verification from Home Department Form and submits to the home department for approval. Once approved, the form is kept on file in the employing department. If the student requires an Exception to Employment Policy in order to hold employment, the home department submits an exception to Graduate Division for approval. Once approved, they sign the Eligibility Verification form and send it back to the employing department.