Graduate Student Recruitment & Retention Plan

Graduate students are essential to the University of North Texas's research and teaching missions. To support them, UNT offers competitive recruitment and retention packages, including financial aid, benefits, and tuition support for qualified full-time graduate students in good academic standing.

Graduate Employment

Graduate students as defined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board can be offered an Assistantship which provide financial support to a student who is pursuing graduate studies and who agrees to enter an employment relationship with the university. The salary received is considered employment income and is subject to employment-related taxes. Colleges and schools receive centrally funded assistantship positions to allocate. Positions can be split for part-time work.

Students must maintain good academic standing while on an assistantship in order to continue receiving university support. 

Allocation of Graduate Lines/Positions  

Each College and school receive an allocation of centrally-funded, graduate student assistantship lines/positions.  Colleges and schools shall allocate positions to the departments.  A position can only be split in half for a .25 FTE.  Each year the colleges and schools will have an opportunity to request changes to the positions allocated based on changed qualifications of the students, changing needs of their departments, and/or other relevant reasons. 

Graduate students paid from local/grants funds (not centrally-funded) will not be placed in lines/positions.   However, students supported from local/grants funds must be paid at the rates specified in the UNT Graduate Student Pay Schedule. International students should visit the Toulouse Graduate School Course Load Exception Request information page for additional relevant information.

Related Forms & Information

Types of Assistantships and Descriptions

  • Teaching Fellow (TF) (Job Codes 0802, 0803) - Teaching fellows have direct student contact in a formal instructional setting and are charged with primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit under the direct supervision of a faculty member or chair, receiving regular in-service training and planned and periodic evaluations. Teaching fellows are listed as the instructor of record.
  • Teaching Assistant (TA) (Job Codes  0812, 0813) - - Teaching assistants are graduate students who do not have primary responsibility for teaching a course for credit; they perform under the instructor’s direct supervision and provide general assistance to the instructional process, such as grading, tutoring, etc. Teaching assistants may not be listed as instructor of record and duties must be part of the graduate students overall educational program.
  • Research Assistant (RA) - (Job Codes 0822, 0823) - Research assistants are graduate students who are engaged in research activities under the direction and supervision of a principal investigator or faculty working on research. Duties assigned must be part of the graduate students overall educational program.
  • Graduate Services Assistant (GSA) (Job Codes 0832, 0833) - Graduate assistants are graduate students whose responsibilities are administrative in nature or consist of other activities that do not generally fit within the TF, TA, or RA job responsibilities, but contribute to the overall academic progress or professional development of the student. Duties assigned must be part of the graduate students overall educational program.

New job codes based on the new two level system of academic progression effective 9/1/2024 will be posted in Summer 2024. Click here to view Salaried Graduate Student Job Codes.

  ​Compensation Plan

All salaries must be funded by the college, school, or division. A College, School or Division may elect to hire above the minimum salary based on internally developed criteria. Hires at or above midpoint require the submission of a justification statement explaining why the higher rate is being requested, this can be noted on the ePAR. 

The default department rate that will be used for non-academic departments will be the Non-Academic Area rate unless justification is provided to use a different rate.

Summer monthly rates are equivalent to the monthly rates provided during the regular academic year.

Graduate students may receive pay increases if warranted and recommended by the department head or the department chair and dean if financial resources are available. However, under no circumstances should a graduate student exceed the maximum salary at the level in which they are situated.

Salaried Graduate Students will be moving to Semi-Monthly Payroll effective Fall 2024.

Length of Appointment

Doctoral students can receive funding for up to 12 semesters, and master’s students for up to 6 semesters. Approved leave does not count against these limits.

Master’s students on UNT assistantships are eligible for funding for no more than 6 long, academic semesters, regardless of whether students work at any time at .5 or .25 FTE.  For MFA students, semester time limits will be determined by the number of required SCH in the degree program divided by 6. For example, students in a 48 hour MFA program would be eligible for 8 semesters of funding (48 ÷ 6).

Students who file an approved request for a leave of absence will not have months spent on leave counted against these limits.

Criminal History Check Process

To ensure compliance with university policy criminal history checks will be conducted on all salaried graduate students.

Upon receipt of the dynamic form and the offer letter, the Office of Academic Resources will initiate the criminal history check through Accurate. The student should timely respond to the request in order to ensure timely onboarding. The Office of Academic Resources will sign the dynamic form once the final results are received and found compliant. Upon completion, the department will then be able to complete the hiring process for the student. A break in service for one long semester requires a new background check.

Salaried Graduate Student CHC Department Process step-by-step

Insurance Benefits 

UNT offers two benefit plans for which they may elect to enroll. Enrollment in benefits is not required. Student insurance costs will vary depending on the plan and the level of coverage selected in either plan.

  1. Group Benefit Program (GBP): For students employed at least 0.5 FTE which is administered by the Employee Retirement System (ERS) of Texas. Students receiving centrally-funded support via assistantship will receive centrally-funded contributions to this plan similar to that which is provided under the GBP. Details regarding the program can be found at UNT Group Insurance.  Any questions regarding the Group Benefit Program can be answered by HR benefits located here:
  2. Student Insurance Plan: Any salaried graduate student, domestic or international students, can enroll in the Student Insurance Plan regardless of FTE. Details regarding the plan can be found at UNT’s Health & Wellness Center or at UnitedHealthcare Student Resources.

International Student Insurance Requirements

All international students and scholars holding non-immigrant visas must carry UNT-approved health insurance coverage during the entire period of their UNT residence. Residence is defined as that continuous period from initial orientation and enrollment or employment, including holidays, through graduation or final separation from the university. International students are automatically charged for the UNT-offered policy each semester at registration, and must provide proof of comparable insurance by the established deadline at International Advising to avoid purchasing the UNT-offered policy. International scholars must demonstrate acceptable insurance coverage at International Advising during their initial orientation session. The University has contracted with UnitedHealthcare Student Resources to offer a Student Insurance Plan to international students.  Details regarding the plan can be found at the UNT's Health and Wellness Center or UnitedHealthcare Student Resources.

Tuition and Fees

Evidence of the University’s commitment to recruiting and retaining high quality and full-time graduate students is the payment of tuition and mandatory fees on behalf of selected students. These payments will be processed in the form of a tuition benefits plan and will be allocated to each college for distribution to their departments and/or students. Additional funding will also be held centrally in the Toulouse School of Graduate Studies for strategic distribution to colleges, departments, and/or students. Students must maintain good academic standing to continue to receive support.

For information regarding the CLE (Course Load Exception) form and process please review the information provided here.


Graduate Fellowship/Research Assistantship Load Specifications

Recruitment and Selection of Teaching Fellows and Teaching Assistants

Contact Information

Questions regarding the graduate student compensation plan and graduate student lines should be addressed to Nicole McAlister at 940-565-3512 or email

For graduate award inquiries please email

For information regarding the TBP (Tuition Benefit Program), please review the information here.

*Revised 07/11/2024