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Benefits Information

Section 9.5 of the Graduate School Handbook

Fee Authorization. Every graduate associate (GTA, GRA, and GAA) appointed for at least 50 percent of full time receives a full tuition and fee authorization. Students holding GA appointments receive fee authorizations that include Instructional and General fees and nonresident fees. Other fees, including parking and late penalties as well as the student activity fee and the mandatory COTA fee, must generally be paid by the student. GAs appointed on various grants and special projects also receive a fee authorization, although in their case the fees may be charged back to the grant or appointing unit through a complex formula that takes into account indirect costs to the university. Notice of fee authorizations appears on the student’s Statement of Account. A GA on a 50 percent appointment who holds a concurrent appointment at 25 percent or less receives the fee authorization from the unit supporting the 50 percent appointment. Fee authorizations for concurrent appointments of equal FTE (e.g., two 25 percent appointments) are split equally between appointing units. A GA may not be denied a fee authorization. This is an entitlement that accompanies the title of GA. By the same token, no graduate student may receive a fee authorization who is not on appointment as a GA (except for various fellows, trainees, and those receiving a summer fee authorization).

Summer Fee Authorization. Graduate students holding a 50 percent or greater GA appointment for two consecutive semesters are entitled to a full fee authorization during the immediately following summer term without being on appointment. Students holding a 25 percent GA appointment for two consecutive semesters are entitled to a summer fee authorization at half the full fee authorization rate. Students using the summer fee authorization must be registered for at least four hours of credit. Post-candidacy doctoral students must register for at least three hours of credit. A graduate student who elects not to enroll during the summer may not defer the use of the summer fee authorization.

Students on a summer fee authorization may hold a 25 percent or less GA appointment. They may also be appointed to various other appointment titles, including student associate, student assistant, lecturer, fellow, and clinical instructor in accordance with FTE guidelines stated in the applicable Human Resources policies.

Time Off. GAs do not accrue vacation or sick leave. Rules regarding time off during semester or term breaks or other times are determined by the GA’s appointing unit. GAs must check with their appointing units to determine when they are expected to be on duty. GAs are not required to work on legal holidays noted on the university calendar. When university offices are required to maintain services on certain holidays and GAs are scheduled to work on a holiday, they must be given an alternate day off.

Short-Term Absences and Leaves of Absence. The university has formalized a set of practices to be used by academic and administrative units at Ohio State to support GAs, fellows, and trainees during instances of personal and/or family illness, bereavement, childbirth, and adoption. Each situation will be individually addressed according to the specific research, teaching, or administrative context the student is in and the individual’s reason for requesting the leave.

All GAs, fellows, and trainees who are in good academic standing, making reasonable progress toward their degrees, and are paid through the Ohio State payroll system, regardless of appointment length, type or FTE, are eligible to request a short-term absence to recover from a personal illness or to bereave the death of an immediate family member. A “short-term” absence is generally considered to be a period of one to three days. In rare instances, it might be up to two weeks and should always be proportionate to the needs of the situation.

Eligible funded graduate and professional students may request a leave of absence up to six weeks to manage a serious illness, childbirth, or adoption. All requests must be proportionate to the needs of the individual situation. To be eligible for a leave of absence, a graduate student must have completed two consecutive semesters or a consecutive semester and summer term on fellowship, traineeship or associateship appointments of at least 50 percent FTE (or combined concurrent appointments of at least 50 percent FTE) paid through the Ohio State payroll system. A funded graduate or professional student must also hold a qualifying appointment as described above at the time of the leave, be in good academic standing, be making satisfactory progress toward the degree, and be registered full time.

In some cases it may be appropriate for a student to take an academic leave of absence (e.g., a leave from both appointment duties and academic enrollment). See Appendix E for the Guidelines for Short-Term Absences and Leaves of Absence for Graduate Students Appointed as GAs, Fellows, and Trainees.

Military Leave. GAs who are members of the Ohio National Guard or any other reserve component of the United States Armed Forces or who are ordered involuntarily to extended United States military service are granted leave without pay. The GA is required to submit to the supervisor a copy of military orders or other statement in writing from the appropriate military authority as evidence of the call for training or duty. Within 90 days from the date of honorable discharge or completion of training or active duty, the GA will be returned to the former position or its equivalent, without loss of seniority, upon application for such a position and reenrollment as a graduate student.

Parking Permits. Graduate associates and fellows are permitted to purchase “C” student or “B” staff parking permits, either for Central or West Campus. If the B permit is requested, written verification of the associateship or fellowship must be submitted to CampusParc at the time of purchase. Daytime garage permits are available. 

Change in Status. Whenever there is a change in the GA’s status that affects the tax deduction, name, or W-2 Tax mailing address, the GA must use the Employee Self Service site to update their W-4.

Health Insurance. Students who are enrolled at least half-time are required to carry health insurance as a condition of enrollment. The university provides a health subsidy for graduate and professional students with fellowship, traineeship, or with 50 percent or greater associateship appointments paid through the Ohio State payroll system. 

The university subsidy is 85 percent of the Student Health Insurance (SHI) premium for eligible funded graduate and professional students enrolled in single coverage. The university also provides a subsidy of 85 percent of the SHI premium for enrolled dependents of eligible funded graduate and professional students.

Workers’ Compensation. GAs are protected by the provisions of the Ohio Workers’ Compensation Law. The provisions cover expenses for medical care, as well as certain benefits for loss of salary, which are paid through the Bureau of Workers’ Compensation for injuries or diseases which arise out of or within the course of employment. The benefits for loss of salary are payable only after the disability and resulting loss of salary extends beyond seven days.

Retirement. All GAs are eligible to participate in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System (OPERS). GTAs who have established membership with the State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio (STRS), based on other Ohio teaching service, may elect either to continue contributions to that system or to request STRS membership exemption. Exemptions from either system must be made within 31 days of the first day of the appointment. All GAs are also eligible to contribute to voluntary 403(b) or 457 retirement accounts, which allow additional retirement dollars to be contributed on a pretax basis.

Unemployment Compensation. Because a graduate associateship is viewed as a student position by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, GAs are ineligible for unemployment benefits when their appointment ends (between academic terms or after leaving the university).