Graduate research assistants (GRAs Masters, PhD) are considered “students” (not employees) of the University (i.e., no employee-employer relationship exists). GRAs receive a semi-monthly stipend payment through the accounts payable process based on the level of effort committed at the time the appointment is made. For U.S. Citizens and Permanent Residents, no taxes are withheld at the time the payment is made. However, students are encouraged to file estimated tax payments on a quarterly basis. For international students, taxes may be withheld depending on treaty exemptions. The GRA will receive a Form 1099 and/or 1042S annually and is required to report the amounts earned on his/her individual income tax return. The academic department should advise the GRA of his/her U.S. tax reporting responsibility when the appointment is offered.
Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) are considered primarily students and receive a stipend or subsistence allowance. This non-compensatory payment enables GRAs to devote themselves full time to the pursuit of a graduate degree. While the illustrations based on a full-time graduate assistantship appointment refer to 100% effort as approximately 20 hours per week, GRAs will likely devote significantly more time to their academic research. A more accurate description of expectations for a Graduate Research Assistants is that of 100% of their effort, at least 50% should be dedicated to the research activities associated with their full-time GRA appointment.