L&S Student Assistant Appointment Letters

This KB provides important information about appointment letters for Student Assistants (also called “Graduate Assistants”) at the College of Letters and Science, with links to frequently used documents and policies. Contact your STS/SA HR Business Partner or HR Associate Director Laura Fisk with questions. For campus policies related to graduate assistants, please visit Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures (GAPP) at https://hr.wisc.edu/policies/gapp/. If you have questions, please contact your STS/SA HR Rep or HR Manager Laura Fisk. For campus policies related to graduate assistants, please visit GAPP-Graduate Assistant Policies and Procedures at https://hr.wisc.edu/policies/gapp/.

**Letters were revised 4/1/2022 to remove the COVID-19 language and attachment; if you’ve already sent out your letters with the old language, there’s no need to revise and resend them**

Instructions for Appointment Letters

Student Assistant appointment letters do not need to be reviewed or approved by your STS/SA HR Business Partner unless they differ in a material way from the template. Small modifications in tone and small additions to the language do not require review/approval unless they contradict the terms of the appointment letter. 

Best practice is to download and use a new template appointment letter from the links below with each hire or group of hires, since appointment letters are revised periodically throughout the year.  At a minimum, departments should download new template appointment letters just prior to each new semester’s hiring.   

Per GAPP, these are guidelines for appointment letters for all student assistants:

  • The employing department is required to send a copy of the appointment letter to the student’s department of graduate study, if different from the employing unit. 
  • The department is required to provide the appointment letter to the student before the start of employment.
    • If some appointment information is not yet available by then, the department must still provide a formal appointment letter with the most accurate tentative information available. The department should note which information is tentative. When information can be confirmed, the department should provide a follow-up email to the student as soon as possible, but the department is not required to send a revised or updated appointment letter.
    • Note- TAs only:  Per GAPP, departments must notify TAs of their tentative course assignment, if known, no later than the following:
      • August 1 for fall semester courses; and 
      • December 1 for spring semester courses
    • Notification to TAs can be via email and does not require a formal appointment letter.  

Appointment Letter Templates




Project Assistant (PA)

Project Assistants may be exempt or nonexempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  Most PA’s are nonexempt from FLSA.

Research Assistant (RA)

Teaching Assistant (TA)

Undergraduate Assistant

  • These positions require special approval.
    • Undergraduate Assistant–TA – see “Teaching Assistant” above
    • Undergraduate Assistant-Grader/Reader – see “Grader/Reader” above  

Information for Appointment Letters 

Semester Instructional Dates 


  • Fall 2022:
    • Payroll Start Date: August 22, 2022
    • Payroll End Date: January 4, 2023
  • Spring 2023:
    • Payroll Start Date: January 5, 2023 
    • Payroll End Date: May 21, 2023
  • Summer 2023: Coming soon to Summer Course Guidance in L&S

Calculating Gross Salary & Biweekly Salary 

Use the “Funding Layout Assistance Tool” (FLOAT), available on OHR Payroll Toolkit, to calculate the semester gross and biweekly salaries.

Alternatively, calculate the biweekly salary manually using the following formula:

  • Comp rate divided by the number of biweekly pay periods in an academic or calendar year (19.5 for C-basis, 26 for A-basis) multiplied by the appointment FTE.
  • Example #1:  33.4% Lecturer (SA) with a C-basis comp rate of $45,000:
    • ($ 45,000 / 19.5)  * 0.334  =   $ 770.77
  • Example #2:  50% Research Assistant with an A-basis comp rate of $60,000:
    • ($ 60,000 / 26) * 0.500 = $1,153.85

Maximum Level Appointment Information: 

When are students limited in when they can work? Students are limited in the number of hours per week that they can work during any week in which classes are in session. Domestic Students are limited to 75%-time (30 hours per week) and foreign national students are limited to 50%-time (20 hours per week) during the following periods: 


  • Sunday, August 30, 2020 through Saturday, December 12, 2020
  • Sunday, January 24, 2021 through Saturday, May 1, 2021 
  • Sunday, September 5, 2021 through Saturday, December 18, 2021 
  • Sunday, January 23, 2022 through Saturday, March 12, 2022 
  • Sunday, March 20, 2022 through Saturday, May 7, 2022

Additional information regarding limitations to appointments is found in these Graduate School policies: 

See Also:

Keywords:TA, PA, appointment letter, graduate student employment, graduate student employment ls, Project Assistant, Program Assistant, Teaching Assistant, template letters, template, letters, student assistant, SA, SA letter, SA letter template, RA, Research Assistant, grader/reader, grader, reader, undergrad, undergraduate, grad student, templates, max, max level, max level appointment, semester dates and   Doc ID:22288
Owner:Cassandra K.Group:L&S Administrative Gateway
Created:2012-01-18 10:15 CDTUpdated:2022-05-09 14:50 CDT
Sites:L&S Administrative Gateway
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