Graduate Appointments Handbook
The titles GSI, Reader, Tutor, and Acting Instructor-Graduate Student are covered by a collective bargaining agreement between the University and the United Automobile Workers (UAW). Under the language of the contract, students hired in these titles are referred to as Academic Student Employees (ASEs). See the current UAW Academic Student Unit contract here. GSRs are not covered by the agreement, although university appointment eligibility rules apply to both ASEs and GSRs.
Searching for Appointments
GSR positions are appointed directly by faculty researchers; some departments have application procedures and forms on their website. Staff and faculty in the departments are the best sources for appointment availability information.
ASE positions are selected within the departments according to academic, budgetary, and staffing circumstances. The projected number of GSI, Reader, and Tutor appointments for each department during the following academic year is posted on the Labor Relations website with names and e-mail addresses for departmental contacts. In spring the Labor Relations website lists ASE opportunities for Summer Sessions.
It is the hiring unit’s responsibility to ensure the graduate student to be hired qualifies for graduate student academic employment. Before making a formal job offer to the student, the hiring unit must confirm that the student meets academic eligibility requirements. Eligibility can be queried in Campus Solutions in the Reporting Center.
Minimum Requirements and Criteria for ASE or GSR Appointment Eligibility:
- Students must be registered for the entire semester for which they hold a graduate student academic appointment and must be registered by the end of the fifth week of classes. Current registration status can be confirmed on CalCentral. The definition of registration is:
- Enrolled in at least one class (separate from minimum 12 unit requirement to hold an appointment),
- Have paid a minimum of 20% of assessed fees/tuition,
- Have no registration blocks.
- Students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units by the end of the fifth week of classes and must maintain the minimum of 12 units for the entire semester. UC Hastings College of the Law students are not eligible to serve as ASEs/GSRs.
- New incoming students must fulfill the Violence Prevention Education Requirement or registration could be blocked. For more information and questions see PATH to Care Center.
- Students on filing fee status are not eligible to hold Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) or Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) appointments. These students are eligible to be appointed as Readers and Tutors.
- Students on “In Absentia” status are not eligible to hold Graduate Student Instructor (GSI), Reader or Tutor appointments but could hold a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) appointment and could be eligible for the fee remission program with a qualifying GSR appointment.
- Minimum GPA for holding an academic appointment is 3.0.
- Academic appointees may have no more than 2 incomplete grades in upper division or graduate courses.
- Students must be making satisfactory degree progress, which includes meeting program benchmarks, not being on academic probation or in lapsed candidacy, and meeting goals set by the faculty.
- Appointees must be clear of certain disciplinary probations based on the Code of Student Conduct.
- All first-time ASEs must attend the New ASE Orientation sponsored by the campus’ Labor Relations Office during the semester of their appointment. If the ASE fails to attend, he or she is ineligible for future appointments until this requirement is satisfied.
- GSIs who are required to complete the English oral proficiency test must take and pass the test before they can be appointed.
- New GSIs are required to fulfill the following requirements:
- attend the Teaching Conference for First-Time GSIs,
- complete the GSI Professional Standards and Ethics Online Course. Please note, every first-time GSI must successfully complete the online course Professional Standards and Ethics for GSIs before they interact with students (in person or online) in their role as an instructor.*
- and enroll in and complete a 300-level semester-long pedagogical seminar on teaching.
Readers and Tutors are not required to be registered and enrolled students. However, registered students who are appointed to these titles must still meet all minimum requirements by university deadlines.
* Please refer to the May 2, 2016 Graduate Council’s revised Policy on Appointments and Mentoring of Graduate Student Instructors.
Step Levels and Salary Scales for ASEs
Graduate Student Instructors (GSI) Appointments
The term Graduate Student Instructor (GSI) is synonymous with Teaching Assistant (TA) at other universities. A GSI serves as an apprentice under the active supervision of a faculty member who is the Instructor of Record for the course. GSI appointments are for one academic year or less, and reappointment is not automatic. GSIs appointed at 50% can be expected to work 16–20 hours per week during instructional and examination periods, including time spent in preparation, classroom and laboratory teaching, office consultation, and reading student papers. ASEs are obligated to inform their supervisor when they first perceive that their assignments might exceed the assigned workload maximum for their appointments. ASEs must obtain express advance written permission from their supervisors before working beyond the number of hours defined for their appointments. At no time should an ASE continue to work beyond eight hours in a day, or forty hours in a week.
GSI Step Levels equate with post-baccalaureate teaching experience (for early advancement guidelines, please see below under Exceptions to Policy). For more information on GSI Steps and GSI Step level duties, refer to the Graduate Council’s Policy on Appointments and Mentoring of Graduate Student Instructors.
Step I – No graduate level teaching experience, or has completed fewer than four semesters of teaching as a GSI at UCB. Duties include leading discussion sections or labs, instructing prescribed course content [e.g.,: foreign language courses or Reading & Composition courses where supervising faculty member is entirely responsible for prescribing course content, tests, readings, etc.]. GSIs may not be solely responsible for instructional content of the course, selection of assignments, planning of exams, or final determination of course grades, although the GSI may assist in above tasks in collaboration with the instructor of record who has final authority. GSIs cannot be compelled to deliver a lecture.
Step II – at least 4 semesters of GSI teaching; duties include those above, and/or additional responsibilities such as designing syllabi or exams under the supervision of faculty who has final approval authority.
Step III – at least 6 semesters of teaching as a GSI or as an AI-GS; duties include those above, and/or additional responsibilities such as designing syllabi or exams under the supervision of faculty who has final approval authority.
Early advancement to Step II or Step III in the GSI series
GSIs may be eligible for early advancement in the GSI series based on certain factors:
- Relevant post-baccalaureate teaching experience at another university or college. The teaching experience must have occurred after the student was awarded a bachelor’s degree, the courses taught should be in the same field as the GSI’s proposed appointment, and the teaching must have occurred at an institution comparable to UCB. A department may wish to make a case for counting experience in another field if the teaching skills acquired are transferable. Teaching during the summer, either at UCB or another institution, will not be counted in early advancement cases. Teaching at University Extension will not be counted. Departments may consider experience gained as a Reader for advancement in the GSI series if relevant to the proposed appointment although Reader experience is generally not given the same weight as teaching experience. When credit is granted for teaching experience at an institution that operates on the quarter system, it is counted as follows: two quarters of experience is equivalent to one semester of teaching and three quarters of teaching is equal to two semesters of teaching. If the Head Graduate Advisor of the student’s academic department approves the request for exception to appoint at a higher step, the department may then make the necessary changes in HCM. The hiring unit may use the Head Graduate Advisor Request for Exception Form (PDF). The request is not submitted to Graduate Division, but a copy should be kept on file in the hiring unit as well as the student’s academic department.
- Based on merit or a combination of experience and merit. Hiring units may cite extraordinary accomplishments of the student, such as the publication of research or the presentation of papers at meetings of learned societies, in making cases for accelerated advancement. Cases may also be made for early advancement based on a combination of relevant teaching experience and merit. The hiring unit should provide justification that outlines in detail the supporting arguments for such a request in addition to completing the Head Graduate Advisor Request for Exception Form (PDF). The Head Graduate Adviser in the student’s academic department must approve the request and a copy should be retained by the student’s academic department and by the hiring unit if different from the student’s academic department. Please do not submit a copy to Graduate Division.
IMPORTANT NOTE: The Department or hiring unit should exercise equitable and fair practices when reviewing an early advancement case to GSI Step II or III. Justification for early advancement to GSI Step II or III requires careful review of qualifying teaching experience and/or exceptional merit while ensuring equity with regard to other GSIs.
Advancement to GSI Step IV
Appointment at this step always requires advance approval of Associate Dean for Student Support. Minimum requirements include advancement to candidacy for the doctorate, completion of at least eight semesters of teaching at UCB, demonstrated exceptional promise as a teacher and scholar, and additional responsibilities beyond those typically assigned to a GSI at the lower steps. Requests are greatly strengthened if the student has succeeded in publishing research or has made presentations at meetings of learned societies. The hiring unit should submit a memo that supports the request for appointment at Step IV. The Head Graduate Adviser in the student’s academic department must approve the request. A current copy of the student’s curriculum vitae must be attached to the memo and submitted with the Request for Exception form.
- Students on Filing Fee status may not be appointed as GSIs.
- Students may not be appointed as GSIs during a period of in absentia registration status.
- Students may not be enrolled in the course for which they are appointed.
- Students may not simultaneously serve as a GSI and a Reader or a Tutor for the same course.
- During the academic year, graduate students with appointments may not exceed half time, nor may such appointments in combination with other University appointments, exceed half time without an exception.
- Students may normally be assigned to perform the duties of a GSI only for undergraduate courses. According to departmental need, a department may appoint a graduate student who has been advanced to candidacy at the doctoral level for a graduate course. However, for a graduate student who has not yet been advanced to doctoral candidacy, appointment as a GSI for a graduate course always requires advance approval by the Head Graduate Advisor of the student’s academic department. See Exceptions to Policy below for details.
- Graduate students are limited to eight semesters of service in any one teaching title or any combination of teaching titles (GSI, Acting Instructor-Graduate Student, TA, Associate, or Teaching Fellow titles). Requests for exception to this policy for a ninth or tenth semester of teaching may be approved by the Head Graduate Advisor in the student’s academic department. Requests for exception to the policy for an eleventh or twelfth semester of teaching must be approved in advance by the Associate Dean for Student Support. The maximum number of years of service is six (twelve semesters), which is established by UC’s Office of the President (UCOP) and cannot be exceeded for any reason per APM 410-17. See Exceptions to Policy below for details.
Go to the HR website for the ASE Salary Scales, including GSI, AI-GS, Readers and Tutors.
Reader and Tutor Appointments
Readers and Tutors will usually be graduate students, but qualified undergraduate students may be employed as Readers or Tutors when graduate students are not available. Professional readers, not enrolled as students, may be employed to meet special needs.
Duties are assigned by the hiring department and are included in the written notification of appointment provided to the appointee by the department. Appointees to the Reader title are employed to render diverse services as course assistants, which will normally include the grading of student papers and examinations. Subject to assignment by the department, duties might also include attendance at lectures, office hours, consultation with the instructor, and other course-related duties. Readers may not perform teaching duties. Appointees to the Tutor title are employed to render individual or group instructional activities in support of regular academic programs. Under supervision, a Tutor’s duties may include individual tutoring sessions, group tutoring sessions, presentation at workshops, and other duties as assigned. Tutors do not perform teaching duties assigned to the GSI series.
Reader and Tutor Qualifications
- Must have at least a 3.0 grade-point average; and
- May not have more than two Incomplete grades in upper division and graduate courses on the transcript; and
- Must be in good academic standing (i.e., may not be on academic probation or have had their degree candidacy lapse) and be clear of certain disciplinary probations based on the Code of Student Conduct; and
- Must have taken and received at least a B grade in the course or another course equivalent to the one in which they are serving; and
- Must be UC students enrolled in at least twelve units of course work during the semester in which they are serving as a Reader; and
- Must attend the New ASE Orientation sponsored by the Office of Labor Relations for the semester of the appointment, if this readership is the student’s first ASE assignment.
- Must have maintained at least a 3.0 grade-point average in their previous academic work; and
- Must have taken and received at least a B grade in the course or another course equivalent to the one in which they are serving; and
- Must attend the New ASE Orientation sponsored by the Office of Labor Relations for the semester of the appointment, if this readership is the student’s first ASE assignment.
Reader and Tutor Restrictions
- Students may not be appointed as Readers during a period of in absentia registration status.
- Students may not be enrolled in courses for which they are a Reader. Registered graduate students may normally be assigned to perform the duties of a Reader only for undergraduate courses. According to departmental need, a department may appoint a graduate student who has been advanced to candidacy at the doctoral level for a graduate course. However, for a graduate student who has not yet been advanced to doctoral candidacy, appointment as a Reader for a graduate course always requires advance approval by the Head Graduate Advisor of the student’s academic department. See Exceptions to Policy below for details.
- During the academic year, registered graduate students appointed as Readers may not exceed half time, nor may such appointments, in combination with other University appointments, exceed half time without an exception.
- Reader appointments for one academic year or less are self-terminating unless the appointee is otherwise notified.
Reader and Tutor Salaries
Go to the HR website for the ASE Salary Scales, including GSI, AI-GS, Readers and Tutors.
Acting Instructor-Graduate Student (AI-GS) Appointments
Acting Instructor-Graduate Student appointees are employed to render services as the Instructor of Record for a particular upper division course, although they are still under faculty supervision. The AI-GS has independent responsibility for developing the course syllabus (which must be reviewed and approved in advance by a member of the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses and Instruction), setting reading assignments, assignment of grades, including response to grade appeals, and other duties as assigned by the hiring department.
More information on AI-GS duties and responsibilities can be found in the revised March 5, 2012 Policy on Appointments and Mentoring of Graduate Student Instructors.
- Appointees must be UC Berkeley graduate students.
- Students must be advanced to candidacy at the doctoral level before a department may nominate them for AI-GS positions.
- Nominees for AI-GS positions require demonstrated ability as a teacher whose expertise is appropriate to the course, with at least two years (4 semesters) of university- or college-level teaching experience and at minimum, meet the eligibility criteria of an appointment at the GSI Step II level.
- Candidates for AI-GS appointments must be in good academic standing (i.e., may not be on academic probation or have had their degree candidacy lapse), have a minimum 3.0 grade-point average, and have no more than two Incomplete grades in upper division and graduate courses on the transcript.
- Appointees must be clear of certain disciplinary probations based on the Code of Student Conduct.
- Appointees must be registered during the semester in which they are serving as an AI-GS.
- Appointments always require approval in advance by the Dean of the Graduate Division and by the Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI) of the Academic Senate.
- Students may be assigned to perform the duties of an AI-GS only for upper division courses numbered 100-199.
- Students on Filing Fee status may not be appointed as an AI-GS.
- Students may not be appointed as an AI-GS during a period of in absentia registration status.
- Students may not be enrolled in the course for which they are an AI-GS.
- Students may not simultaneously serve as an AI-GS and a Reader or a Tutor for the same course.
- During the academic year, graduate students appointed as an AI-GS may not exceed half time, nor may such appointments, in combination with other University appointments, exceed half time without exceptional approval.
- Graduate students are limited to eight semesters of service in any one teaching title, or any combination of teaching titles (GSI, Acting Instructor-Graduate Student, TA, Associate, or Teaching Fellow titles). Requests for exception to this policy for a ninth or tenth semester of teaching may be approved by the Head Graduate Advisor in the student’s academic department. Requests for exception to the policy for an eleventh or twelfth semester of teaching must be approved in advance by the Associate Dean for Student Support. The maximum number of years of service is six (twelve semesters), which is established by UC’s Office of the President (UCOP) and cannot be exceeded for any reason per APM 410-17. See Exceptions to Policy below for details.
Go to the HR website for the ASE Salary Scales, including GSI, AI-GS, Readers and Tutors.
Preparing Acting Instructor-Graduate Student (AI-GS) Case Submissions
Acting Instructor-Graduate Student (AI-GS) appointments must be approved by both the Graduate Division Associate Dean for Student Support and the Academic Senate’s Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI) before the appointment can be formally offered to the student and entered into HCM. COCI has final authority to approve these cases.
Qualifications for an AI-GS Appointee
(refer to ‘Conditions’ of COCI Handbook 3.1.2):
- Be a registered UCB graduate student during the semester of service as an AI-GS (does not apply to Summer Session appointees unless registration is required for filing purposes.)
- Be advanced to doctoral candidacy.
- Demonstrated ability as a teacher whose expertise is appropriate to the course, with a minimum of two years (4 semesters) of university- or college-level teaching experience, and at minimum, meet the eligibility criteria of an appointment at the GSI Step II level (Summer teaching experience does not count toward the 2 years or 4 semesters of teaching requirement)
- Be in good academic standing.
- Course to be taught must be an Upper Division course (100-199). Courses below or above 100-199 will absolutely not be considered by COCI. (See COCI Handbook 1.1 for guidelines on lower division courses 1-99).
Required materials to request an AI-GS appointment
- Memo or letter from the chair of the department or hiring unit addressed to both the Associate Dean of Student Support, Graduate Division and COCI. Include the following:
- An explanation of circumstances that require the need for a student to assume full responsibility.
- The name of the faculty supervisor who will oversee the appointee.
- The course number and course title.
- Sentence explaining the syllabus for the course has been reviewed and approved by an appropriate faculty member from the department making the request; include the faculty member’s name.
- Copy of the syllabus for the Upper Division course (courses numbered 100 – 199) to be taught by the student.
- Most recent Curriculum Vitae (CV).
- A summary page of the evaluation scores from the last two semesters the student taught or letters of recommendation that speaks to the student’s experience and ability as a college-level instructor. (COCI no longer requires each individual teaching evaluation and strongly prefers a summary of the evaluation scores.)
- Email the case along with PDF attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org by the deadlines below.
Graduate Division AI-GS Case Submission Deadlines
- Fall Appointments: July 15*
- Spring Appointments: November 15*
- Summer Appointments: April 15*
*Or the following business day if the 15th falls on a weekend or holiday.
ASE Letters of Appointment
Each student appointed as a GSI, AI-GS, Tutor, or Reader must receive from the hiring unit a written notice of appointment (which can be via email) and supplemental documentation as specified in Article 2 of the contract between the University and the UAW. Appointments are contingent upon budgetary decisions and the results of advance class enrollment, as well as on the approval of any pending requests for exceptions (including, but not limited to, appointments exceeding 50 percent time and early advancement to a higher step of the GSI series). Departments must not issue Letters of Appointment until necessary exceptions and other approvals are obtained. Hiring is not final until 1) a formal written offer is made by authorized departmental staff and 2) the ASE accepts the offer in writing.
Departments are required to notify all ASEs of expectations and workload requirements at the beginning of the semester, and of any substantial changes that might occur during the semester in accordance with the UC–UAW agreement. Course assignments may be changed if enrollments are significantly higher or lower than expected. This notification may be by letter or electronic mail.
Academic Student Employee (ASE) Hiring Guidelines
Please remember all appointment offers must be made in writing by authorized departmental staff using only the approved appointment letter format. No e-mail or verbal promises of employment should be made. Hiring is not final until a formal written offer is made by authorized departmental staff and the candidate has accepted in writing. Adherence to these guidelines serves to ensure that:
- The department can review all hiring recommendations in light of course needs.
- The candidate has met all Graduate Division and departmental eligibility criteria for employment.
- The appointment letter(s) comply with the requirements set forth in the Academic Student Employee collective bargaining agreement.
Once it has been determined that a) the student meets the minimum academic requirements to hold a Graduate Student Academic Appointment and b) if necessary, a Request for Exception has been approved by either the Head Graduate Advisor of the student’s academic department or in some cases, submitted to and approved by both the student’s Head Graduate Advisor and the Graduate Division Associate Dean (please see Requests for Exception below), the hiring unit must issue a formal written notice of appointment (letter or electronic mail) to every student hired as an ASE (GSI, AI-GS, Reader or Tutor).
The Appointment Notification letters and Supplemental Notification letters for ASEs are outlined under Article 2 of the UC-UAW contract. The template for the Appointment Notification Letter can be found at the UCB Human Resources website. Any questions should be directed to Labor Relations. A copy of the student’s written acceptance of the ASE job offer as well a copy of the appointment notification letter to the student should be kept on file in the department or hiring unit.
Requirement for All First-Time ASEs
All first-time appointed Academic Student Employees or ASEs (GSI, AI-GS, Reader and Tutor) must attend the New ASE Orientation sponsored by the UCB Labor Relations Office. It is a one hour orientation that is absolutely mandatory for all first-time appointed ASEs. For more detailed information such as how students can enroll, when and where, please click on the link above which will take you directly to the UCB Labor Relations site.
Requirements for First-Time GSIs
- Attend the First-Time GSI Teaching & Resource Center Conference.
- Complete the GSI Professional Standards & Ethics Online Course. Please note, per the May 2, 2016 revised Graduate Council’s memo on Appointments and Mentoring of Graduate Student Instructors, every first-time GSI must successfully complete the online course Professional Standards and Ethics for GSIs before they interact with students (in person or online) in their role as an instructor.
- Either have completed or be enrolled in a 300-level semester-long pedagogy seminar on teaching in the discipline offered by the department.
Requirements for First-Time International GSIs
All first-time International GSIs must also satisfy the requirements of the English Language Proficiency Program before being appointed as a GSI. If the student does not speak English as a native language, has not passed the Test of Spoken English (TSE) or the speaking portion of the TOEFL iBT, or does not hold a bachelor’s degree from an institution in the United States, he/she must pass the SPEAK or OPT test BEFORE an appointment offer can be made. Students should complete the Language Proficiency Questionnaire if they are unsure whether they satisfy this requirement. Please contact the GSI Teaching & Research Center staff at email@example.com for more information on meeting the English Proficiency requirement at UCB.
Generally, undergraduate students may not be appointed as GSRs or GSIs, but they can be appointed as Readers or Tutors and are not eligible for the fee remission program (please refer to Article 11 of the UC-UAW contract). However, if a department is unable to recruit any qualified graduate students or hire a lecturer to fill an essential GSI position, the department may submit a written request of exception to Graduate Division. In such cases exceptions are allowed for undergraduate GSI appointees but under NO circumstances can undergraduate students be appointed as GSRs.
If the department or hiring unit is not in College of Letters & Science or College of Engineering, please complete the Request to Appoint Undergraduates as GSIs Form (XLS) and provide an explanation of why undergraduates must be hired to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requirements for Undergraduate GSIs:
- Registered in the semester in which they are teaching and remain registered through the end of the semester.
- Enrolled in no fewer than 15 units of course work.
- Summer Sessions UGSIs must be continuing students. (A continuing student during the summer was enrolled in the Spring semester and is enrolled for the Fall semester).
- If the Summer Sessions UGSI is graduating with his/her terminal degree in August, they may UGSI during that summer prior to their Summer graduation. (Please refer to Office of the Registrar’s section on Diplomas and Graduation).
- Upper Division status when undergraduate begins teaching.
- Overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Previously taken the course for which undergraduate is being appointed, its equivalent or a more advanced course, with a grade of A-or better. (If it is a course equivalent or more advanced course, please point that out on the form when submitting the request.)
- Adhere to the same criteria of eligibility required for graduate student GSIs. If the undergraduate appointee does not speak English as a native language, they must pass the English Proficiency requirement before they can teach (please refer to the GSI Teaching & Resource Center for more information). Departments/hiring units are responsible for making sure the student has passed the English Proficiency requirements prior to requesting approval for the UGSI appointment. Please contact email@example.com with questions about a student’s English language proficiency eligibility.
- If serving as a first-time GSI, departments/hiring units are responsible for ensuring that the UGSI fulfills the following requirements:
- Attend the New ASE Orientation.
- Attend the Teaching Conference for first-time GSIs.
- Complete the online Professional Standards and Ethics Course. Please note, per the May 2, 2016 revised Graduate Council’s memo on Appointments and Mentoring of Graduate Student Instructors [move from dashboard to web], every first-time GSI must successfully complete the online course Professional Standards and Ethics for GSIs before they interact with students (in person or online) in their role as an instructor.
- Complete the 300-level semester-long pedagogical seminar on teaching.
Undergraduate GSI appointees are eligible for fee remission per the UC UAW contract. Undergraduate GSI fee remissions are not processed by Graduate Division; departments are responsible for remissions associated with Undergraduate GSI Appointments. Please refer to EVCP Breslauer’s memo dated March 10, 2008 for information.
Step Levels and Salary Scales for Graduate Student Researchers (GSR)
There are ten steps in the GSR series; each hiring unit on the campus should have written guidelines specifying the hiring criteria for the steps that it uses. Departments and hiring units are free to appoint students starting at any step level, but step assignments should be consistent and equitable according to departmental criteria. GSR notification should include the GSR Appointment Form and should be copied to the student and retained in department records.
GSR Salary scales
See the UCUP website for GSR salaries and steps.
LBNL GSRA Appointments
Sometimes a UCB graduate student will serve in a Graduate Student Researcher Assistant (GSRA) position at LBNL (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab). GSRA is equivalent to a UCB campus GSR appointment and is eligible for the fee remission program. However, LBNL fee remissions are considered by the Billing and Payment system as outside awards and take priority over a campus fee remission (please refer below to Priority List of Awards & Fee Remission).
A student may have both a campus and an LBNL appointment concurrently, however, per UCOP policy, only one location can pay a student. Such concurrent appointments should be set up through the use of a multi-location appointment form.
Payroll Processing and Administrative Logistics
GSI and GSR appointments are set up in HCM as monthly exempt employees and receive a fixed monthly salary based on a predetermined percentage of time spent on work-related activities such as instruction or research. A GSI or GSR’s salary is based on the percentage of total weekly effort performed during the given dates of the appointment rather than exact hours worked. Time sheets to record specific hours/minutes worked are not necessary for payment of salary; however, verified documentation of the weekly effort committed to the appointment should be kept for potential auditing or workload adjustments by the PI or hiring department. Monthly salaries are paid on the first for the prior month’s effort.
Hourly Time Reporting
Readers and Tutors are paid as variable positive time employees in HCM and must document the exact hours and minutes worked each day in order to be paid and considered ‘active’ in the payroll system. Time sheets are critical. If hours worked per day are not recorded and submitted to the payroll system in a timely manner, the student will not get paid. Hourly employees are paid bi-weekly.
DCP/Safe Harbor Deductions
Students aren’t typically* charged Defined Contribution Plan (DCP) –Casual/Safe Harbor deductions. The UCB Registrar’s Office transmits data of students who are registered and enrolled to the Central Payroll Office. If any of the following factors are revealed as inconsistent the student is flagged by Payroll as a Safe Harbor participant and DCP is deducted from salary:
- Student has an outstanding balance
- Middle Initial is included with the Registrar but might not be in the payroll system or visa/versa
- Incorrect Birth date
- Incorrect Social Security Number (SSN)
- Enrolled in less than ½ the minimum unit requirement
To be removed from DCP/Safe Harbor deductions students should contact Central Payroll at firstname.lastname@example.org and request to be removed from DCP/Safe Harbor participation. The student will also need to email proof of registration and enrollment along with the request. This process can take from 4 to 6 weeks before a refund is issued. Questions regarding DCP/Safe Harbor deductions should be directed to the Central Payroll Office.
*Please also note that if the student is working 80% time or more at any point in the year, DCP is always deducted from earnings.
Absences and Leaves
Employees are responsible for reporting absences from campus and any missed work assignments to the faculty member in charge or to the appropriate departmental assistant. If an absence is unexpected (i.e., due to a sudden illness or accident) or will be for an extended period the departmental administrator must be notified in a timely manner so that alternate arrangements can be made to limit impact.
ASEs may also be eligible for various paid and unpaid leaves, including military leave, short-term family-related leaves, long-term family-related leaves, bereavement, and jury duty. Please refer to the UC-UAW Agreement.
GSRs are eligible for Childbirth Accommodation Leave, which provides for six weeks of paid leave for pregnancy disability, childbirth, and related medical conditions; GSRs who give birth are eligible for an additional two weeks of unpaid leave for baby bonding provided such unpaid leave does not extend beyond the date of appointment.
GSRs are also eligible for four weeks of paid leave due to the GSR’s serious health condition, to care for a family member who has a serious health condition, or to care for and bond with a newborn child or an adopted/foster child; the GSR may be approved for an additional two weeks of unpaid leave provided such unpaid leave does not extend beyond the date of the appointment. For any questions regarding this policy, please contact the Academic Personnel Office at email@example.com.
Occasionally a graduate student may request a medical leave or a childbirth leave during their ASE or GSR appointment, and a variety of resources are available to assist the student parent and the department during and after the leave.
Resources for ASEs or GSRs going on parental leave:
- Article 17 Leaves Chart (Labor Relations site)
- Childcare Reimbursement Program for ASE appointees
- Childcare Reimbursement Program for GSRs appointees
- Graduate Council Policy on Accommodation of Research Doctoral Student Parents
- Graduate Division Support for Student Parents
Paid and Unpaid Leaves of Absence for Fee Remission Eligible Appointments
A period of unpaid leave of absence in HCM for a graduate student academic appointment will trigger a reversal of the fee remission because the student is no longer eligible. For extended unpaid leaves of absence, under certain circumstances, a department or hiring unit may use the Award Entry system to pay the student’s fees as ‘student aid’ and may pay the salary as a stipend.
ASEs may be eligible for up to $1,350 per semester in reimbursements for certain childcare expenses. Details can be found on the Human Resources web page. The hiring department processes reimbursement requests for GSIs. GSRs may also be eligible for up to $1,350 per semester in reimbursements for certain childcare expenses. For GSR reimbursement details, see the Graduate Division’s Financial Support for Student Parents page. Graduate Division is responsible for processing GSR childcare reimbursements.
Late Start Appointments
There are rare circumstances when a graduate student starts an appointment late for legitimate reasons and needs a commensurate increase in appointment percentage to generate the fee remission that they are entitled to receive. Download the PDF of appointment dates for fee remission eligibility (PDF).
ASEs: For ASE appointees, there are two charts available from Labor Relations for late start ASE appointments (please refer to the 2002 memo from Labor Relations).
Note: Count the weeks of the semester from the begin date of the Fall or Spring semesters, not start of instruction (refer to the Academic Calendar for semester begin dates).
GSRs: Beginning with the Spring 2014 semester, the ASE late start date charts above may now be used for hiring late start GSR appointments. Please refer to the October 10, 2013 Memo; Policy Change re Late GSR Appointments.
International Students on F-1 or J-1 Visas
Students on F-1 visas do not require permission to hold University employment or academic appointments for 20 hours per week or less if they are registered during the semester. They may also work full-time on campus during the summer break if they will be registered the following semester. All J-1 students, however, must have permission from their program sponsors to hold any employment or academic appointment. Students on F-1 and J-1 visas may not work more than 20 hours per week during the academic year; there are no exceptions to this federal regulation. Questions about employment for holders of F-1, J-1, or other non-immigrant visas should directed to the Berkeley International Office.
Undocumented Students/Qualifying for Employment:
Only undocumented students who have been granted status by the Department of Homeland Security in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and have received an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) may legally be employed.
If the undocumented graduate student does not have DACA status and does not have an EAD, the Graduate Division encourages departments to consider other forms of teaching opportunities outside of GSI employment. Please refer to the Fall 2014 memo for guidance.
Please also note that some undocumented students may have DACA status and an EAD but might not qualify for AB 540 status. If that is the case, those students may still be eligible for employment & benefits but may not be eligible for NRST exemption or AB 540 funding sources.
DACA: To apply for and learn about DACA, visit the Department of Homeland Security web page:
AB 540: And to learn more about AB 540 status and how to apply, visit these links below:
If a student holding a GSR or GSI position has to withdraw due to a sudden medical or family emergency, the Registrar will prorate the fees according to their withdrawal schedule.
GSRs who withdraw for medical or family emergencies: Withdrawal status will reverse a fee remission regardless of withdrawal reason. Departments may consider paying the student’s fees and/or salary using the Award Entry system when a GSR goes on a leave and cannot be paid on the PI’s grant.
ASEs (especially GSIs) who withdraw for medical or family emergencies: Departments in these circumstances should contact Labor Relations. Withdrawal status will reverse the fee remission regardless of withdrawal reason. Hiring units are advised to provide as much support as they are able, even if beyond contract requirements. Departments may consider paying the student’s fees and/or salary using the Award Entry system when an ASE goes on a leave. GSIs and other ASEs are usually hired on state funding; hiring units may use the salary source of the GSI appointment to pay fees/salary through Award Entry in such situations.
The grievance procedures for ASEs are found in the UC-UAW Agreement.
For grievances relating to GSR appointments refer to the Academic Personnel Manual (APM), Section 140, which contains the grievance procedure for non-Senate academic appointees.
Fee remission is a benefit of eligible employment for graduate student academic appointments (GSI, GSR, AI-GS, Reader or Tutor employment). Fee remission is charged to the fund source(s) of the eligible employment. When a graduate student holds a fee remission eligible appointment, or combines GSI, GSR, AI-GS, Reader or Tutor appointments that then create the minimum fee remission eligibility criteria of a 25% appointment, a fee remission is generated; the appointments’ chart strings will be charged for the cost of fee remission divided proportionately according to the appointment percentages.
Fee Remissions cover different fees, based on the type of appointment and percentage of time worked in a semester. See the eligibility criteria and remission types.
Fee remission is generated from eligible employment entered into the HCM (Human Capital Management) system and serves as an offset (a credit) in the Billing and Payment system to reduce the amount the student owes the University for his or her assessed fees and tuition in the semester the student is holding a fee remission eligible appointment. Fee remission generated from an appointment in a specific semester can be applied only to fees & tuition assessed in the semester of appointment.
Not all graduate student academic appointments qualify for remissions. Certain factors, including appointment type and percentage, determine whether a student receives a remission on specific fees. There are three types of remissions:
- Partial Fee Remission (Tuition, Student Services Fee, Health Insurance Fee)
- Full Fee Remission (Tuition, Student Services Fee, Health Insurance Fee, Campus Fee & Class Pass)
- Full Fee Remission + Non-Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST) Remission (All above, plus NRST)
Fee Assessment and Remission
Each semester, the Office of the Registrar assesses fees and tuition for enrolled UCB students. Fee remission only generates for those specific fees and tuition that the Office of the Registrar has assessed in the student’s CalCentral account.
If the GSI decides to waive the health insurance (through University Health Services), no SHIP fee will be assessed and no SHIP remission will be applied. The funds for that unused remission return to the funding source and are never refunded to the student.
- The Office of the Registrar assesses fees/tuition according to the student’s particular degree program and plan.
- Students must enroll in units each semester to be assessed fees of any sort in CalCentral.
- If an eligible appointment is entered into the HCM HR system, a fee remission generates to offset the cost of specific fee assessments in a student’s account.
- Fee remission is never awarded in any form of cash and any unused remissions are returned to the funding source.
- Fee remission offsets are only generated for the semester in which the student is employed in a fee remission eligible appointment.
- Fee Remissions are generated only for Fall and Spring semester graduate student academic employment. Fee remission never generates for summer appointments.
Registration and Enrollment Requirements
Registration and enrollment requirements vary according to the type of appointment. Readers and Tutors do not need to be registered students but since they will not be assessed fees, they are ineligible to receive a fee remission. GSI, AI-GS and GSR positions require enrollment of at least 12 units.
Summer GSI, GSR or AI-GS appointments do not require enrollment and do not pay fee remissions. Only continuing students may hold GSI, AI-GS, or GSR positions in the summer. A continuing student is a student who was registered and enrolled in the spring semester and will be registered and enrolled for the Fall semester.
Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) Fee Remission
Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) premiums are automatically remitted as part of the fee remission program for graduate students unless the student has a waiver of health insurance coverage on record at the University Health Services.
If a student has a SHIP waiver, the Office of the Registrar will not assess the SHIP fee and there will be no SHIP remission awarded. For more information on SHIP waiver, please refer to the University Health Services website.
Undergraduate Fee Remission (GSI Appointments Only)
Undergraduate GSI (UGSI) appointees must be approved in advance by the Graduate Division or by a delegated School or College Dean.
Per the UAW Contract, UGSIs are eligible for a fee remission, however, fee remissions for undergraduate GSIs are not generated through Graduate Division. Departments are responsible for remissions associated with Undergraduate GSI appointments in accordance with EVCP George Breslauer’s memo of March, 2008.
For detailed instructions on UGSI eligibility requirements and the approval process, see Undergraduate GSIs above.
Combining Academic Student Appointments
When a student has multiple GSI, GSR, AI-GS, Reader or Tutor appointments totaling 25% time or more (i.e., reaches the required number of possible working hours in a semester), then a fee remission will generate and all the appointments’ chart strings will be charged for the cost of fee remission divided proportionately according to the appointment percentages.
Multiple GSI, GSR, AI-GS, Reader or Tutor appointments may combine to create a fee remission regardless of each individual appointment’s percent time being below the 25% requirement. This is due to two factors:
- The student could take on additional academic graduate student appointments unbeknownst to the other department(s) during a current semester, thus creating fee remission eligibility.
- The combination of multiple GSI, GSR, AI-GS, Reader & Tutor appointments total 170 hours of workload, the minimum requirement for generation of fee remission and the equivalent of a 25% time semester long appointment. Please refer to the UC UAW 170 hour rule explained below.
It is the hiring unit’s responsibility to factor potential benefits/fee remission costs into an appointment’s salary source even if, on its own, the appointment percent time and or dates are not fee remission eligible.
170 Hour Rule: Workload versus Fee Remission Eligibility
In accordance with Article 11 of the UC-UAW contract and the February 2002 Labor Relations memo on late Academic Student Employee (ASE) appointments (GSIs, AI-GSs, Readers, and Tutors), any ASE appointment, combination of ASE appointments, or combination of ASE appointment(s) and GSR appointment(s) with eligible title codes* that equal approximately 170 possible working hours (not including weekends) can generate a partial fee remission, irrespective of appointment dates and percentage. The UC UAW contract stipulates that the workload of a 25% appointment equals 170 hours, while the calculation for fee remission will be dependent on the semester’s calendar of working days.
Decoupling Fee Remission from Salary Fund Source
In most cases, benefits (fee remission) cannot be decoupled (separated) from the salary source(s) of a qualifying graduate student academic appointment or a qualifying combination of these appointments (GSI, GSR, AI-GS, Reader or Tutor). The cost of benefits (fee remission) is charged to the fund source(s) that pay the salary of the qualifying appointment(s).
GSR Title Code 3266
Beginning with the Fall 2014 semester, GSR title code 3266 now allows benefit (fee remission) costs to be charged to separate funds from those funds used to pay salary. This gives departments and hiring units the option to pay salary and benefits separately to accommodate grants where the expenditure of funds on tuition and fees (benefits) is disallowed. Please refer to the April 28, 2014 memo from Dean Susan J. Muller for more information.
GSR title code 3266 criteria include:
- Used specifically for GSR appointments > 25% where separation of benefits (fee remission) from the salary source is necessary.
- Departments/hiring units must provide a student aid award equivalent to a Partial fee remission (25%-44%) or a Full fee remission (45% or greater) to be paid to the student’s account.
- Does not combine with other GSI, GSR, AI-GS, Reader or Tutor appointments to generate or share cost of fee remission.
- Appointment eligibility, registration & enrollment requirements same as all other GSR appointments.
Non Resident Supplemental Tuition (NRST)
- NRST remission can only be charged to state general funds (such as 19900) if the earnings are on the same fund source. This is allowable because it is a benefit of employment. State general funds cannot be used to pay NRST in other forms (such as fellowship, which is a student benefit not an employee benefit).
- How to Decouple NRST from the salary source: To decouple or separate the cost of NRST from the salary source, use GSR title code 3282 (generates full fee remission ONLY) rather than GSR title code 3284 (full fee remission + NRST remission) and then pay the NRST separately using eligible fellowships, block grants, etc.
Priority List of Awards & Fee Remission
Graduate students may receive more than one type of award that is intended to pay fees or fees and tuition for a particular semester. Fee remissions for students with eligible appointments will generally take precedence over concurrent fellowships, departmental awards, and loans. If more than one type of award appears as a credit against fees or tuition in a student’s CalCentral account, a set of established rules governs which award is used to pay the assessments. The sequence in which CalCentral is programmed to accept award credits to offset fees and tuition is generally as follows:
- Outside agency awards
- LBNL remissions from GSRA appointments
- Fee and tuition remissions from UCB campus appointments
- Department awards made through the Award Entry system
- Fellowship or Block Grant awards
- Student Loans
- Student payments
Collections Process for Fee Remissions
The collections process for fee remission is handled by the campus Payroll unit and is reconciled by the Graduate Division. Fee remissions are charged to the chart string(s) entered into HCM as the salary source(s) for an appointment.
During the course of a current semester, Payroll collects the appropriate amount of fee remission from the chart string(s) in the distribution line(s) of the student’s appointment. Fee remissions charged to the chart string(s) are collected 3 times during the semester by Payroll:
- Fall semester: equal one-third increments in September, October and November
- Spring semester: equal one-third increments in February, March and April.
- December/January and May/June are considered ‘clean up’ months. Payroll will attempt to collect on any fee remissions that were missed during earlier collections cycles in the semester.
Payroll makes adjustments for over- or under-collections throughout the semester as eligibility changes. These adjustments are made via financial journals and are done outside the payroll system; a BAIRS Customer Report will provide data not on the PPS report. At the end of each term, the Graduate Division performs a final reconciliation and notifies payroll of any final adjustments needed to the amounts collected.
UC Intercampus Fee Remission Transfers
Graduate students who are registered and enrolled in at least 12 units on another UC campus — even if they are not participating in the UC Intercampus Exchange Program — may hold graduate student academic appointments on the Berkeley campus, and receive fee remission if holding an eligible appointment.
If a UCB department or hiring unit is unable to hire a Berkeley graduate student and needs to hire a graduate student from another UC campus in a fee remission eligible graduate student academic appointment, the following policies and procedures apply:
- The UC student is registered and enrolled in at least 12 units either at their home campus (see below) or through the UC Intercampus Exchange Program here at UCB.
- If Home Campus is on Quarter System: To hold a Fall semester appointment at UCB, a student must be registered and enrolled in the Fall and Winter quarters on the other UC campus, and to hold a UCB Spring semester appointment, a student must be registered and enrolled in the Winter and Spring quarters.
- If Home Campus is Merced (on semester system): To hold a UCB Fall semester appointment, the student must be registered and enrolled in the Fall semester at UC Merced and to hold a UCB Spring semester appointment, the student must be registered and enrolled in the Spring semester at UC Merced.
- UCB hiring unit must confirm student’s eligibility to hold the appointment and all first-time GSI requirements must be met. Eligibility requirements are the same as for a UCB graduate student.
- The appointment must be entered into HCM before a hiring unit can request an intercampus remission transfer.
- Intercampus fee remission transfer cannot take place in advance of the semester for which the student will be working at UCB.
- The fee remission dollar amount offsets will correspond to the student’s home UC campus fee assessments.
- For a Fall semester UCB appointment, UCB will send the cost of Fall quarter + 1/2 of the Winter quarter fee remission to the home campus.
- For a Spring semester UCB appointment, UCB will send the cost of 1/2 of the Winter quarter + the Spring quarter fee remission to the home campus.
- Merced and Berkeley are both on semesters; fee remissions will be transferred accordingly.
- Complete and submit an Intercampus Remission Data sheet.
- Graduate Division works with UCB General Accounting to create a Journal ID and Date.
- The student’s home campus then contacts UCB General Accounting’s Reconciliation group to have the UCB fee remission transferred to the student’s billing account at the home campus.
When UCB graduate students work on another UC campus, that UC campus should contact UCB Billing & Payments Services Unit to have the other UC campus fee remission transferred to the UCB student’s CARS account.
Retroactive Fee Remission Processing
Occasionally departments and hiring units find they need to make a correction to a graduate student academic appointment in HCM very late in or after the semester of the appointment has ended. Changes for a current semester appointment in HCM after November 30th (for Fall) or April 30th (for Spring) will require manual adjustment as will fee remission adjustments for prior semesters.
To request a late or retroactive fee remission adjustment, complete and submit the Retroactive Send or Invoice Fee Remission Form after the changes have been made in HCM.
Graduate Division staff will review the updated appointment in HCM so that the adjusted appointment is eligible for fee remission. Once verified, Graduate Division staff will manually revise the fee remission.
Exceptions to Policy
Some exceptions to policy can be approved by the Head Graduate Advisor (HGA) of the student’s academic department without oversight by the Graduate Division, and other exceptions to policy require approval from the Associate Dean for Student Support.
Requests for Exception Requiring Head Graduate Advisor Approval (Do not send this exception form to the Appointments Office). The exceptions listed below only require documented approval from the student’s Head Graduate Advisor. These approvals are to be kept on file in the student’s home department.
- GSI/Reader/Tutor in a graduate-level course who is not advanced to candidacy,
- Appointments of 51-75%,
- GSI appointed for the 9th or 10th semester,
- Early advancement to Step II because student has relevant post-baccalaureate teaching experience at another qualifying university/college (see GSI Appointments above for details).
- Requests for Exception Requiring Graduate Division Dean’s Approval: The exceptions listed below need approval from the student’s Head Graduate Advisor and the Graduate Division.
- GPA below 3.0,
- More than two incompletes in upper division or graduate courses,
- Student taking less than required 12 units for appointment eligibility,
- GSI appointed for 11th or 12th semester,
- ASE Appointments of 24% or less,
- ASE Appointments of 76% or higher,
- Advancement to Step IV (see below for details).
If a supplemental memo is needed, address it to the Associate Dean for Student Support, attach it to the form, and send to firstname.lastname@example.org. If the exception is approved, the Graduate Division will notify the department, and the hiring unit can proceed with appointing the student.
‘Academic Overlap’ and GSI Appointment Dates
GSI appointment dates are August 1 to December 31 for the Fall semester and January 1 to May 31 for the Spring semester. These dates allow students to receive their first check in September rather than October and receive a full five months of salary. Students who work up to 100% time during summer session or winter break and also begin a GSI appointment on January 1 or August 1 could potentially work over 100% for several weeks early in those months.
To resolve this potential conflict of working beyond 100% time, Graduate Division and Central Payroll allow for what is known as Academic Overlap. Academic Overlap is only acceptable when the student has a Fall or Spring GSI or AI-GS appointment. For example, if a student decides to work on campus at 100% time during Summer Sessions from May 18 (after the Spring semester ends) to August 21 (the day before start of Fall semester), and is also appointed 50% time GSI for the Fall semester from August 1 to December 31, the resulting overage in appointment percentage is referred to as an acceptable Academic Overlap.
*Please refer to the Academic Calendar for begin/end dates of Fall, Spring & Summer terms.