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Hiring academic student employees


This document describes the process for hiring Academic Student Employees (ASE), and includes the recruitment and selection processes, gathering information needed to enter appointments into the Workday, and understanding bargaining contract rules affecting this employee type. This document outlines processes specific to the College of Engineering Dean's Office. While these processes are similar for all departments, department personnel are encouraged to contact their department Administrator and Payroll Coordinator prior to taking any action to recruit new staff members.

Is an ASE the best match for your needs?

The Academic Student Employee is only one of the student employee types available. The ASE employee type is used when hiring any of the employees described in the UW/UAW Contract Article 14.

Note that undergraduate staff assistants are not covered by this contract, and are not considered Academic Student Employees. For more information on hiring an undergraduate staff assistant, please see your Administrator or Payroll Coordinator.

Review the ASE contract

Once a hiring manager determines that an ASE is the employee type they want to hire, they should familiarize themselves with the UW/UAW Contract. This contract includes a number of very specific rules affecting both the hiring manager and the employee and includes such topics as guidelines for recruitment; required elements of job postings, offer letters and position descriptions; benefits available to the employee; leave and holiday rules; elements of the work environment the hiring manager must provide,etc.


The UW/UAW Contract, Article 13 describes the conditions under which a hiring manager may fill a position without conducting a recruitment. If these conditions are not applicable and a recruitment is required, the employer may conduct the recruitment using one or both of the following strategies:

  • By announcing the position to all eligible applicants within a department or hiring unit, and/or
  • By posting the position on the University of Washington's employment web site using the UW Hires system. This is not recommended unless a previous recruitment attempt has been unsuccessful.

Note that the UW/UAW Contract, Article 13 stipulates timing restrictions and required features of position announcements. Hiring managers should familiarize themselves with these restrictions, and share them with any persons who assist them with the recruitment process.

A hiring manager can announce a position to all eligible applicants within a department (or pool of departments) by taking advantage of department email lists or job announcement bulletin boards. Addresses and locations for these items vary by department. Hiring managers within a specific department are urged to contact their department Administrator for assistance.

Posting a position on the UW's employment web site requires administrative access to the UW Hires system. Most departments have granted this access to a specific employee and will ask that the hiring manager work with this person to post a position. A department Administrator can direct the hiring manager to the appropriate contact.

Hiring managers within the College of Engineering Dean's office or programs (payroll unit code 0575), should contact Kate Johnson at for assistance with position postings.

Conducting interviews

Once several candidates have been identified, interviews should be conducted to locate the best candidate for the position. Interviewers should:

  • Review and observe the Guidelines to Fair Pre-Employment Inquiries at the University of Washington,
  • Carefully define the position and job expectations (such as schedule, work to be performed, deadlines, and metrics used to gauge quality of work),
  • Provide the candidate with a position description
  • Focus on the job skills and educational background required to perform the necessary duties,
  • Pose open-ended questions to the interviewee which offer an opportunity for them to discuss background, education, and area(s) of special interest
  • Offer candidates the opportunity to ask questions.

Making the job offer

Part 1: The informal offer and review of student status

Once the top candidate has been identified, the hiring manager will gather information from the candidate before a formal offer can be made. This is done because that elements of a formal offer, including salary and tuition benefits, are affected by the student's status and department of study. Hiring managers should discuss the hire with their Payroll Coordinator or department Administrator prior to making a formal offer; however, a tentative verbal offer may be made pending review of eligibility requirements. (Hiring managers within the Dean's Office and programs should contact Kate Johnson at for assistance.)

The Payroll Coordinator will need the following information to determine eligibility for employment, salary, and benefits eligibility:

Information Impact
  • Student's Name (exactly as it appears on the student's social security card or visa paperwork)
Wrong name can delay initial payment
  • Student's Visa Status (if international student)
Used to determine eligibility to work in the U.S.
  • Student Number
Used to ensure payment level and enrollment status
  • Student's Graduate School Classification (Undergraduate, Premaster, Intermediate or Candidate)
Used to determine salary level. If the student is unsure, he/she should contact his/her department adviser
  • Student's Department of Study
Affects salary rate
  • Number of Credit Hours for which student is enrolled
Affects eligibility for hire
  • Proposed Start Date (generally 9/16, 12/16, 3/16 or 6/16)
Affects eligibility for tuition exemption
  • Number of Quarters student will work
Affects payroll entry
  • Classification Description (e.g. Reader, Tutor, Lab Assistant, etc. - see below for details.)
Affects proper payroll classification and salary
  • Budget number to charge, and whether tuition benefits can be charged to this budget
Affects payroll entry, pay rate, and whether the student can expect to receive tuition payment as part of service

Hiring Managers within the College of Engineering Dean's Office and Programs must report the above data by completing the Academic Student Employee Appointment Request Form and the form will route to the College of Engineering's Payroll office.

For more information on eligibility requirements and salary rates, see the following on-line resources:

Once the Payroll Coordinator has confirmed the candidate's eligibility for employment, salary rate, and tuition benefits, the supervisor may formally offer the position to the candidate. If tuition cannot be paid due to circumstances of the position or paying budget, the student should be notified of this in the offer letter. The section on entering information into Workday (below) also contains more detailed information pertaining to ASE pay rates and benefits.

Part 2: The offer letter

The UW/UAW specifies required inclusions and attachments of all offer letters to ASEs. The contract also specifies deadlines by which ASEs must receive offer letters, barring exceptional situations. These guidelines are provided in Article 4 of the contract.

Offer letters templates and instructions are available on the UW/UAW website. A copy of the offer letter should be placed in the employee's personnel file. Hiring managers within the College of Engineering Dean's office and Programs should maintain personnel files for their ASEs, according to the guidelines set forth in the UW/UAW Contract Article 21.

New hire paperwork

After the offer is made, the ASE may need to complete payroll-related (e.g. I-9, W-4, Direct Deposit Authorization, etc) via Workday. Hiring managers should contact their department's Payroll Coordinator for assistance in determining which forms (if any) are required. The College of Engineering recommends that new employees meet with their Payroll Coordinators as soon as possible after a formal offer is made.

Understanding pay rates and benefits eligibility

GSSA pay periods are generally recognized to follow quarterly pay cycles similar to those of faculty members. These pay periods do not precisely match a quarter's begin and end dates, which vary from year to year. These pay periods are described in the table below.

Quarter Pay Period
Autumn 9/16 - 12/15
Winter 12/16 - 3/15
Spring 3/16 - 6/15
Summer 6/16 - 9/15

If a student is to be paid for less than 5 of the 6 pay periods in that quarter, or at an FTE of less than 50%, he or she is ineligible to take advantage of the tuition waiver or insurance benefits normally associated with ASE positions. In such cases, the student should be assigned a job class code from schedule #2 on the graduate School's web page on salary schedules. Schedule 2 salaries pay higher amounts to help defray the student's tuition costs. Hiring managers should notify students immediately if the student will not receive a tuition waiver or health benefits.

If a student is to be paid on a research or contract budget that does not allow tuition expenditures as a separate category, that student will not be able to take advantage of the tuition waiver normally associated with ASE positions, but may be eligible for insurance benefits. In these cases, the student should be assigned a job class code from Schedule #3 on the graduate School's web page on salary schedules. Schedule 3 salaries pay higher amounts to help defray the student's tuition costs. Supervisors should notify students immediately if the student will not receive a tuition waiver.

Rules affecting ASE eligibility change during the Summer Quarter. For more information, consult the Graduate School's web page on Administering Teaching Assistantships, Research Assistantships, and Staff Assistantships.

When the student can expect to see tuition payment

Once the appointment is entered into OPUS, if a student is to be paid

  • for at least 5 of the 6 pay periods of the quarter
  • at 50% FTE or greater, and
  • from a grant or contract budget that allows tuition expenditures,

tuition payment will normally happen within 48 hours. Students should monitor their tuition statements to ensure that this automatic process takes place, as the student is responsible for any late or remaining fees not covered by the tuition waiver.

Tuition payment may not happen automatically if the student's Social Security Number in the Student DataBase (SDB) and the HEPPS systems do not match. This is most likely to occur to new international students, who may be assigned non-matching "dummy" numbers by both systems, or as a result of data-entry error in new appointments of students for whom this will be their first paid position at the University.

Payroll coordinators should contact the Graduate School for assistance if tuition payments do not occur as planned.

The Graduate Appointee Insurance Program

The Graduate Appointee Insurance Program (GAIP) is governed by the UW Benefits Office. Students with questions about eligibility, enrollment, domestic partner/dependent coverage, or claims should be directed to the benefits office. More information on the GAIP is available on the web here.