Faculty & Staff


Enrollment and Employment for Graduate Students


  1. Students on externally-funded fellowships are always obligated to adhere to the requirements of their fellowship award.
  2. International students are obligated to adhere to the requirements of US immigration regulations regarding enrollment and employment. Bechtel staff are the right people to advise international students with questions.


  1. Any graduate student who is continuing their academic program, with the expectation of:
    • regular interactions with faculty,
    • use of University resources,
    • submission of academic work, or
    • accomplishment of degree-related milestones should be enrolled for a minimum of one unit.

    The activities a) – d) above are all indicators of academic progress, for which we would normally expect students to be enrolled and receive credit, and for which tuition would be charged. Note that, in the case of d) above, this is required by university policy (GAP 3.1, Section 1.1).

    Stanford requires full-time enrollment during the academic year; the university does not require enrollment in Summer Quarter, but if a student is going to be progressing along the lines of a) – d) above, then they should be enrolled for the appropriate number of units (a minimum of one). This also permits the disbursement of financial support to the student, and makes it possible for the student to have an assistantship appointment.

    Note that, if a student has left the campus area to work independently, with no expectation of the activities listed above, then enrollment may not be needed. Stipend support from unrestricted funds for these students is possible only with an approved “disbursement override” in GFS.

  2. During the period of time after the last day of final exams for a quarter and before the first day of classes for the next quarter), students are free to work on a full-time basis.

    This has always been the case. However, it is important to note that students being paid on assistantships are appointed for a three-month period, including any breaks between quarters. A student on a 50% assistantship is therefore free to work another 20 hours per week during a period of non-enrollment. (This does not apply to the week of Thanksgiving, during which students remain enrolled.) Since the Summer Quarter ends in August, and Fall Quarter does not start until near the end of September, this means that students are free to work additional hours during most of the month of September.

  3. In the Summer Quarter, an assistantship appointment (either research or teaching) can be as short as two months, if the student is not going to work in the month of September.

    RATIONALE: Because Summer Quarter classes are shorter than courses during the academic year, the salary for summer TA appointments is typically ended before the end of the three-month quarter defined by GFS. This acknowledges that, according to Stanford’s Academic Calendar, Summer Quarter ends in August.

    Regarding Research Assistantships: In many areas, the normal expectation is that research work proceeds year-round. Summer RA appointments are therefore typically full three-month appointments, and are not terminated in August. However, it is possible for the student and the Principal Investigator to come to a specific agreement for a two-month summer RA if the student’s work commitment will clearly end in August, and if the effort expected is clearly less than for an Academic Year quarter. In this case, the RA payline may be terminated at the end of August. In this case, the RA will be uncompensated and without work obligations during the month of September, in the same way that a TA can, if that is the understanding between the student and the Principal Investigator.

    In any case, the full TAL is paid at the start of the quarter, and is not affected if the salary line is terminated early for the reasons described here.

  4. On-campus employment for any enrolled student may not exceed a total of 36 hour per week.

    Because students can reduce their enrollment in Summer Quarter, it is possible for them to increase their hours of employment. However, as long as a student is going to be enrolled, if only for one unit, they may not work more than 36 hours per week. This permits the student employee to remain exempt from FICA (Social Security withholding).

    If a student wishes to work full-time (40 hours per week), all jobs are processed through HR as temporary employment, and there is no expectation that the student will also enroll.

  5. If a student has a 50% assistantship, their enrollment should be capped at 8 – 10 units (or TGR enrollment).

    Because students can reduce their enrollment in Summer Quarter, it is possible for a student to be appointed on a 50% assistantship, and to take LESS THAN the 8 – 10 units that their TAL will cover. However, it is NOT appropriate to use the flexibility of Summer Quarter to permit MORE than 10 units of enrollment in the summer, along with a 50% assistantship.

  6. If a student has an assistantship of between 50% FTE (20 hours per week) and 90% FTE (36 hours per week), enrollment should be correspondingly reduced, as described on the TAL table for summer assistantship appointments greater than 50%.

    TAL for summer assistantships greater than 50% FTE presume a reduced enrollment, i.e., as the number of hours worked increases, the number of units provided by TAL decreases. While it is possible in the summer for a student to reduce his or her enrollment below the number of units that TAL will provide, it should NOT be the case that students can enroll in MORE units than TAL will pay for. In the case that a student wants to have an assistantship of more than 50% FTE, and also enroll in more than the number of units provided by the associated TAL, this should be agreed to by both the student and advisor.

  7. If a student has an assistantship of less that 50% FTE, enrollment can be increased to more than 10 units.

    No assistantship provides TAL for more than 8 – 10 units of tuition. However, in a quarter in which the student will work less than 50% FTE, i.e., less than 20 hours per week, the student may enroll for more than 10 units. The student will then incur the full tuition charge.

Contact: Assistant Dean of Research and Graduate Policy
Last updated: April 4, 2012

Updated on December 17, 2014 1:12 PM