Have a Question?
Ask the Graduate
College at our new
Graduate Appointment Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
FAQs for WMU Graduate Appointees (Doctoral Associates, Graduate Assistants)
How do I find out when I will be paid?
The Graduate College posts a pay schedule modified for graduate appointees at www.wmich.edu/grad/funding/assistantships.html.
What is a Form I-9, and how do I fill it out?
To verify that you are eligible to work in the United States, if you are a new appointee Form I-9 must be completed by no later than your third day of employment (appointment). Go to this link [www.wmich.edu/hr/form-i-9.html] for the latest information on Form I-9 and instructions for completing the form in the GoWMU portal. The first part of the form must be completed on or before your first day of employment; however, you will not be able to do this part until your hiring department has submitted your appointment form through the online system. If you are not able to complete the first part of the form, you must contact your hiring department for assistance.
What else do I need to do if I’m a new appointee?
If your first term of appointment is a Fall semester, you will be expected to attend new graduate appointee training provided by the Graduate College. See GA_Training for further information. If you have not been contacted about enrolling for training and it is a week or less before the training date, please contact the Graduate College directly at (269) 387-8212.
If your first term of appointment is not a Fall semester, you will find training materials posted online from the previous Fall’s training at the Graduate College home page (www.wmich.edu/grad). Please review these materials before your appointment begins.
How do I enroll for the graduate appointee health insurance benefit?
Graduate appointees are eligible to enroll for the regular student health insurance at a reduced cost. Open enrollment for insurance takes place for 3 weeks at the beginning of Fall semester, and for 3 weeks at the beginning of Spring semester (for coverage that extends through Summer II). If you are eligible to enroll for insurance, go to www.herodotus.walwood.wmich.edu/gahealth/ during an enrollment period. If the system does not recognize you, you will need to contact your hiring department to inquire when your appointment paperwork will be submitted online.
What is the Teaching Assistants Union?
All graduate appointees at WMU who have an appointment classified as teaching are subject to the Agreement between the University and the Teaching Assistants Union (TAU – AFL-CIO Local 1729). For further information, you may view the current TAU Agreement at WMU Academic Collective Bargaining (www.wmich.edu/acb/) or visit the TAU site at www.tauaft.org/.
What is my tuition award, and how is it paid?
Graduate appointees receive, as part of their appointment, a payment to their student account that is equivalent to a certain number of hours of either in-state or non-resident tuition (based on the student’s residency status) based on the current on-campus graduate tuition rate. Full-time doctoral appointees receive up to 9 hours tuition per semester, full-time master’s appointees receive up to 7 hours tuition per semester (going up to 8 hours in 2013-14), and all appointees receive up to 3 hours tuition for a full-time appointment in a summer term. Tuition awards are pro-rated based on the level of appointment; for example, a doctoral student on 2/3-time appointment would receive 6 hours tuition in a semester and a master’s student 4.67 hours. However, the usual enrollment requirement remains full-time for all appointees (6 hours Fall/Spring, 3 hours Summer I or II) even for partial appointments; if the tuition award does not meet the enrollment requirement, the student must pay the difference.
The tuition award amount is based on current on-campus tuition rates. Depending on your residency status, the tuition award may not cover all of, or automatically apply to, enrollments in off-campus or online courses or other alternative course modalities. In some cases, a department will agree to pay extra for such enrollments but this is not automatic.
If your tuition award is not showing on your account or has not paid for some reason, you should check first with your hiring department.
What is an “underenrollment”?
Whenever a graduate appointee is not enrolled full-time during the period of appointment, this is called an underenrollment. Since a condition of being on appointment is full-time enrollment, periods of underenrollment must be approved by the Graduate College and are allowed in only certain circumstances. These include:
a) Underenrollment for one term only is allowed when the appointee is in the final term for the degree, has applied for graduation, and does not need a full-time load to complete the program;
b) Underenrollment as needed is allowed for an appointee who is enrolled in thesis or dissertation hours. Under the “continuous enrollment” policy, graduate students may take as little as one hour of 7000 (thesis) or 7300 (dissertation) and still be considered full-time by the University. (Note, however, that any graduate student enrolled less than half-time, i.e., 3 hours per semester or 2 hours per summer term, is subject to payment of FICA taxes and would not qualify for financial aid or student loan deferments.)
Other circumstances of underenrollment are sometimes approved on a case-by-case basis. Do not wait until after drops and adds to find out if underenrollment situations not described above will be approved.
If you are underenrolled and have not received approval from the Graduate College for the underenrollment, your tuition award will not pay to your account. To remedy this, the underenrollment permission form (found at www.wmich.edu/grad/forms.html) must be approved in the Graduate College. This will release the payment of the tuition award to the underenrolled student.
Do I have to pay student fees if I am a graduate appointee?
Unless your hiring department has offered to pay your student fees (which is unusual), the appointee is required to pay regular student fees such as the enrollment fee, student assessment fee, sustainability fee, one-time records fee, and, for international students, the international student fee. For more information on student fees, see www.wmich.edu/registrar/tuition/index.html.
Can I set up a payment plan to make monthly payments on my account?
Yes, if the amount you owe for the current term is at least $500, you can enroll in the University’s payment plan. The usual $30 sign-up fee is waived for graduate appointees.
Account payment options for students are described at www.obf.wmich.edu/accounting-services/busfin_cashier_pymnt.html.
How do I change my residency status?
A non-resident graduate student who is a U.S. citizen and has lived continuously in Michigan for at least 12 months may qualify for Michigan residency. See the University’s residency policy at www.wmich.edu/businessandfinance/forms/docs/residency-application.pdf
Can I have more than one simultaneous appointment?
Yes, as long as you do not hold more than the equivalent of a full-time appointment. Presently the only possibility for combining two appointments is to hold two half-time appointments.