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Graduate School

O'Dowd Hall, Room 520
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2700

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Graduate School

O'Dowd Hall, Room 520
586 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4482
(location map)
(248) 370-2700

Office Hours:
Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Graduate Assistant Hiring

The Graduate School is working to improve the process for graduate assistants. Below you will find some important information and steps to follow regarding new and existing graduate assistants at Oakland University. 


At least two weeks prior to the semester, students who have not completed at least one of the following:

  1. paid their bills in full OR
  2. enrolled in a payment plan OR
  3. had fully processed financial aid

will be cancelled from their classes. Final bill due date and cancellation date will be announced on the Student Financial Services website. 

To have enough time to process GA agreements and have their tuition award sent to financial aid, the deadline for GA agreements to the Graduate School has been revised. 

Strict adherence to the deadlines is necessary to ensure all graduate assistants are able to take the classes that are needed and not cancelled. 


  • Summer GA agreements due to the Graduate School by 5 p.m. February 15, 2021

Fall 2021

  • GA re-appointments due to the Graduate School by 5 p.m. April 15, 2021
  • New GA appointments due to the Graduate School by 5 p.m. May 1, 2021
    • Exception to this deadline will be made for international students


  • GA re-appointments due to the Graduate School by 5 p.m. October 15, 2021
  • All new GA appointments due to the Graduate School by 5 p.m. November 1, 2021
Handshake Instructions and GA Hiring Process

The Graduate School and Career Services have been working together to improve the hiring of new graduate assistants (GA) through Handshake. The purpose is to provide opportunities for academic and non-academic units to attract the best students in a timely manner, to give opportunities for students to find GA position options, as well as to foster Equal Employment Opportunity. The hiring of returning GAs is done through renewal of the GA contract. 

This instruction sheet provides information about the process of hiring a new GA through Handshake and the completion of the GA contract: 

  • Part A: How to use Handshake 
  • Part B: The GA contract process 

Part A: The Handshake Hiring Process: 

This process is similar to posting hourly student positions in Handshake. 

  • Students can apply to these positions as soon as they're admitted into a graduate program, they do not have to wait until they are enrolled. 
  • All GA positions must be posted in Handshake for a minimum of 3 days starting with GAs hired for Fall 2018 

Using Handshake: steps for departments 

  1. Create a Handshake Account or Log In 
    Trouble creating an account? Contact Career Services at 248-370-3250 or
  2. Copy a Job Template to get started: Graduate School created three templates that resemble different types of GA positions – these templates are already in use by departments.

    Duplicate one of these templates to get started. If needed, edit the job details to meet your needs. Simply select Duplicate Job in Handshake. Do not remove the standard language in the job description!

    Graduate Assistant Templates:
    Postings will be reviewed and approved by Graduate School within two business days. For a posting to be approved, the posting must meet the following criteria:

    1. Posting Job Title must follow standard of “Graduate Assistant in [Academic Unit]”. For example, Graduate Assistant in Psychology or Graduate Assistant in School of Engineering and Computer Science.
    2. Details must be completed in Description. For example, define the tuition incentive and stipend details in the job description and add any additional job requirements or details you see fit. 


    • Because stipends and tuition incentives are complex, you should leave the Approximate Salary field blank.
    • You can hire multiple GAs with a single posting. For example, you may decide to create a single GA posting for an entire department and then let faculty or coordinators decide which applicants to hire for more specific assignments. 
    • Make sure to add Oakland University as a school to post at. Only post jobs to Oakland University.

  3. Review Applicants: either in the job posting itself or choose to receive application packets via email as an option when creating the job posting. 
  4. Select candidate and proceed to Part B. 
  5. Once GA agreement approved, Graduate School will mark the student as hired in Handshake. 

Career Services is responsible for helping faculty/coordinators/department staff get started using Handshake and answer any technical questions about using the system. They can be reached at 248-370-3250 or 

Helpful Links: 

Part B. The GA contract process – Graduate School 

After the faculty/program coordinator/department selects the candidate, the hiring process begins. The process is updated for the new EFORM. 

Fill out Graduate Assistant EFORM for selected students: 

  • The agreement was drafted by the University Legal department, changes to any language are not allowed. If you need different tuition credits or dates, contact Graduate School for an amendment to the contract.
  • The graduate assistant agreement is available below under the Forms section. 
  1. Fill in the student G# along with the additional information that pertains to the terms of the GA agreement. If your student will be a TA, a course will need to be entered in the “Course” box under “Stipend and Assignment.” If you are not sure what the course will be, put N/A in the box. 
  1. Follow the procedure in your School or College for getting signatures by filling in the supervisor, academic advisor, chairperson and Dean or Representative email address. If any of these do not apply, simply click the N/A box. 
  1. Funding or Other Information- this section is editable by anyone along the way that needs to update the information. All other fields are not editable. Contact Michelle Smith for assistance. 
  1. Click “Next Page”, you can cc up to 3 additional staff that may be interested in seeing the EFORM. This is not for staff that would need to approve. 
  1. Once all staff on the first page have clicked the approve button on the line by their name, the last person should either click “Send to Grants” if the form contains a grant or GReAT fund number or, if not grant funded, click the “Return to Grad” button. 

  2. The EFORM will then be sent to Grants for approval or returned to Graduate School for review. If sent to Grants, they will forward to Grad School once approved or send back if denied. Once reviewed by Graduate School, the form will be locked. At that point, the originator of the form will receive an email that the EFORM is completed. They should open the form and on the second page, click “Download Merged Agreement for Student to Sign.” Only the originator will be notified that this is ready, however, anyone who has access to the EFORM is able to print out the agreement once it is complete. 
  1. When the student signature on the printed copy has been obtained, send the original agreement to Graduate School at 520 O’Dowd Hall, attention: Michelle Smith.

Graduate School checks in the agreement

  1. Students are then notified via email that employment paperwork needs to be completed in our office before they can begin working. Students, their supervisors, and the main contact in the business office will be included on the email.

  2. All students, international or domestic, are required to bring their original social security card to Graduate School. If the student does not have a card, they will need to go to the Social Security Administration to apply. They will be given a letter stating that they have applied and that can be used in place of the social security card until it is received in the mail. At that time, the student will need to bring in their original social security card to Graduate School.

    Important International Student Information
    1. New International students have a 10 day waiting period as an advisory period with Social Security Administration. It sometimes takes the Department of Homeland Security 10 days to enter the student’s arrival date into SEVIS and SAVE, which is required to receive a social security number.
    2. Before the student can apply for a Social Security number ISSO must register them in SEVIS which happens on the first day of Orientation. The Social Security Administration requires a letter from ISSO that certifies the student has an F-1 visa. ISSO provides this letter immediately after orientation upon request.
    3. During international student orientation, ISSO reviews all of this and also tells international students that when they go to the Social Security office they are to bring their GA/TA contract, their I-10, passport with visa, and the ISSO letter.

    When filling out the I-9, the student will need to bring the necessary unexpired documents from the list provided in the email.

  3. Graduate School audits the student’s records to ensure they meet the necessary requirements as stated in the GA agreement. If basic eligibility requirements (e.g. agreement is filled out correctly, student has at least a 3.0 GPA, is eligible for employment in the U.S., and is enrolled in a degree seeking program) are met then Grad School staff will mark the student as hired in Handshake. 

  4. Graduate School sends the student’s tuition award to the financial aid office.

    If there is an issue affecting the students eligibility (i.e. under enrollment, satisfactory academic progress, etc.) the student, supervisor, and business office staff are notified the student is not eligible for the assistantship and would have to stop working until the issue is resolved.
  5. Graduate School enters the student into the Banner payroll system.

    GA agreements that are not fully completed by the 15th of the month, will be pro- rated. Prior to the 15th, it will be expected that the grad assistant will make up time missed & will fulfill all requirements.

  6. By the fifth week of class for that semester a final package and non-package report with all approved agreements is sent to the business office staff in the academic unit. 

Please contact Michelle Smith at or by phone 248-370-4048 at Graduate School for any questions concerning GA agreements.


Additional documents that can be printed and filled out can be found at our newly created google drive folder for faculty and staff. Select the graduate assistant hiring folder to view documents like: 

  • Supplemental detail form
  • Agreement checklist
  • Guidelines
  • Direct deposit authorization 
  • Confidential payroll information 
  • Oath Card