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To establish Summer Graduate Assistant appointments for graduate students who will be teaching or undertaking research. Graduate students teaching or undertaking research who are eligible to have tuition for summer courses paid by the Summer Tuition Assistance Program (STAP) may also be appointed as a Summer Graduate Assistant. The title for these positions is “Summer Graduate Lecturer/Researcher.”

Policy Statement

Graduate students teaching in the Summer Session and graduate students conducting research toward completion of their degree programs in the Summer Session should be appointed to Summer Graduate Assistant appointments in Workday if they are expected to perform a teaching function or a research function equivalent to the teaching or research function of a Graduate Assistant during Fall and Spring Semesters.

  1. Graduate students conducting research in the summer not related to their degree program should more appropriately be appointed to a part-time, wage payroll position.
  2. In general, graduate students performing activities in the summer that are not related to their degree program (as opposed to activities required for their degree, or for academic credit or for professional development), and are not similar to the assistantship activities conducted during the preceding fall/spring GA appointments, should more appropriately be appointed to a part time, wage payroll position.
  3. Graduate students appointed to Summer Graduate Lecturer/Researcher appointments will have the title of “Summer Graduate Lecturer/Researcher.”
  4. Summer Graduate Lecturers/Researchers can be appointed only during Summer Sessions.


  1. A graduate student appointed to a Summer Graduate Lecturer/Researcher appointment must be formally admitted as a degree-seeking student in a graduate program under the Graduate School.
  2. Graduate students appointed to Summer Graduate Lecturer/Researcher appointments must have completed at least one year of graduate training.
    1. Graduate students appointed as Summer Graduate Lecturers should have some prior teaching experience as a Graduate Assistant.
  3. International graduate students appointed to Summer Graduate Lecturer/Researcher appointments have additional requirements and their appointing unit must check with the Directorate of International Student and Scholar Advising (DISSA) in Global Programs.
  4. Graduate Students in their first semester, beginning a summer appointment in June, must be appointed to a traditional Graduate Assistantship, and do not qualify for a Summer Graduate Lecturer/Researcher appointment.


  1. Summer Graduate Lecturers/Researchers are not required to enroll for any credits over the summer unless they are required to be enrolled by their graduate program.
  2. Summer Graduate Lecturers/Researchers may be eligible to receive STAP funding for course work required for their degree program under the Graduate School provided they meet the requirements outlined on the STAP application. Standard STAP limits and deadlines apply.
  3. Requests for summer tuition assistance for Summer Graduate Lecturers/Researchers must be submitted through the graduate student’s college using the online STAP application.
  4. STAP is approved to cover only resident instruction and World Campus course work. Continuing Education and Conference and Institute courses are not STAP eligible.


  1. The stipend tables for graduate assistants must be used to assign a grade for summer stipend levels paid to all Summer Graduate Lecturers/Researchers in Workday.
  2. It is recommended that summer stipend grade levels be commensurate with grade levels students received if appointed to a graduate assistantship the previous fall and/or spring semester and engaging in similar teaching or research activities.1
  3. Units should seek to provide total funding packages for graduate degree-seeking, full-time students that meet or exceed the annual cost of living amount for the region/municipality of their graduate campus. For example, for University Park, this would be for Centre County, Pennsylvania per the MIT Living Wage Calculator.
  4. 1 Grade 12 is the current Required Minimum Stipend Grade for Fall/Spring appointments, and for students to be supported on an annual basis, units should seek to provide additional support during the summer to meet or exceed the annual cost of living (COL) in the area of the campus. Grades below 12 (i.e., 9, 10 and 11), Grade 27, and Quarter-Time and Three-Quarter Time appointments may only be used with prior approval of the Graduate School, Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration.
  5. Where support beyond the Fall/Spring appointment is not fully annualized, partial summer support should still maintain proportionate equity for the same/similar activities (i.e., over the AY and summer appointments).

Further Information

Policy Steward: Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Subject Matter Expert: Director of the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards Administration, 814-865-2514,

Revision History

Approved by Regina Vasilatos-Younken, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Dean of the Graduate School, April 8, 2019. Effective immediately.

  • April 8, 2019 – Revised Policy Statement and Compensation sections for clarification of expected practices.
  • May 9, 2018 – Revisions of full document including some policy changes. Change from IBIS to WorkDay terminology. Change of policy stewardship from Payroll (PR17) to Graduate School (GS17) and contact information.
  • October 24, 2013 - Editorial changes. Addition of policy steward information, in the event that there are questions or requests for changes to the policy.
  • August 4, 2010 - Revised the “TUITION REMISSION” section to clarify current policy for Graduate Lecturers/Researchers and Summer Tuition Assistance eligibility.
  • August 12, 2005 - Editorial changes in sections labeled “COMPENSATION” to add the correct links for the document referenced in the policy.
  • September 17, 1996 - Expanded references to a “Graduate Lecturer” to include “Graduate Researcher.”