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Office of General Counsel Policies & Guidelines

Employment of Graduate Assistants : 5:02:05:00

Policy/Guideline Area

Personnel Policies

Applicable Divisions

Community Colleges


The purpose of this policy is to establish the criteria and process regarding employment of graduate assistants at institutions governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.


  1. Introduction
    1. Institutions of the State University and Community College System of Tennessee may employ graduate assistants according to the following guidelines and descriptions.
  2. Workload
    1. Full-time graduate assistants will work:
      1. Six (6) contact hours per week in classroom or laboratory instruction;
      2. Eight (8) contact hours per week in laboratory supervision;
      3. Twenty (20) clock hours per week in supervised activities in the department of their employment; or
      4. A combination of the above.
  3. Terms of Employment
    1. The specific terms of the employment may be for an academic year, quarter, semester, fiscal year, or based upon a percentage of full-time assistantship.
  4. Salary Schedule
    1. Each institution that employs graduate assistants shall have a salary schedule which takes into account the particular needs and priorities of the institution.
  5. Eligibility
    1. A student must be accepted and/or enrolled in the graduate program to be eligible for appointment as a graduate assistant.
    2. On campuses that include a public school, private or parochial school, licensed day care center, other child care facility, public park, playground, recreation center or public athletic field available for use by the general public or campuses that are within one thousand feet (1000') of a public school, playground, recreation center or public athletic field available for use by the general public, no student who is registered as a sex offender pursuant to the Tennessee Sexual Offender and Violent Sexual Offender Registration, Verification, and Tracking Act of 2004 is eligible to be an institutional employee who is compensated with taxable wages.
      1. On such campuses, a student who is a registered sex offender is eligible for an appointment as a graduate assistant only if he or she is not receiving any taxable wages or taxable stipends as compensation, and the monetary compensation for the student is limited to awards of non-taxable scholarship or grant funds.
  6. Payment
    1. Salary payments should be made on a monthly basis or at a regularly scheduled time for salary payments to full-time personnel of the institution. 



T.C.A. § 49-8-203; T.C.A. § 40-39-201 et seq.


TBR Meetings: August 17, 1973; December 12, 1980; December 2, 1988; June 29, 1990; September 21, 1990: March 28, 2008. Ministerial revision June 23, 2015.