Changes to Graduate Assistantship Appointment Process

This webpage serves as a communication resource to keep UW-Madison students, faculty, and administrative staff up-to-date on changes related to the graduate assistantship appointment process. 

UW-Madison plans to implement changes in the administrative policy by which graduate assistantship stipends are set.  The primary change consists of using adjustments to the rate of pay, rather than to the percentage appointment, to set the stipend amount for research assistants (RAs).  Read more here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Is the intent to reduce pay for graduate assistants?

No.  These are administrative changes that will not lead to any reductions in pay for graduate assistants, including research (RAs), project (PAs) and teaching (TAs).  Stipend rates for 2017-18 (FY18) reflect a 3.5 percent increase for TA-standard and PA appointments. 

Will graduate students lose their jobs because of this change?

No. Graduate assistants will not lose their jobs, face increased teaching loads or have their stipends reduced because of this new administrative process.

How will benefits be impacted?

The changes will not affect health insurance or other benefits.

Does this make UW-Madison more like our peer institutions?

Yes.  The maximum appointment for research assistantships will be changed from 75 percent to 50 percent, which is comparable to peer institutions.  Additionally, the change helps UW-Madison departments and graduate programs remain competitive in attracting top graduate students.

Were campus stakeholders, including graduate students and faculty, involved in developing the new process?

Yes.  The changes were developed over the past two years by two committees that involved many stakeholders on campus, including faculty, staff, and graduate student committee representation.  Two listening sessions involving faculty and graduate students were held for broad input.

How has this been announced to campus?

August 15, 2016, email to graduate students

August 8, 2016, email to deans, chairs, directors of graduate study, and graduate program coordinators

January 24, 2017 email to deans, chairs, directors of graduate study, and graduate program coordinators

New minimum stipend levels for 2017-18 (FY18) are listed here.

How can I find out what the pay rate will be for my department?

Contact your program administrative office or school/college dean's office for more information.

Click here to read more about increases to the stipend rate and the process for setting minimum rates.

The following are MINIMUM stipend levels, for 50 percent appointments, beginning July 1 for annual appointments and August 21 for academic appointments:

Research assistantship
Annual: $22,081
Academic: $18,067

Teaching assistantship
Standard / academic: $16,196
Senior / academic: $18,067

Project assistantship
Annual: $19,795
Academic: $16,196

PA grader/reader
Hourly rate: $17.36

Who can I contact with questions?

Please contact the Graduate School Dean’s Office at

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