Graduate Assistant Program


Jayhawk Academic Advising Graduate Assistants work with the staff in JAA to provide comprehensive academic advising services for new, prospective, transfer, deciding, and pre-professional undergraduate students, participates as professional staff in office programs and functions including student orientation, advising presentations, individual advising appointments, and serves on internal committees and work groups when applicable. Jayhawk Academic Advising coordinates various academic success programs and serves as a general resource for students interested in any undergraduate major or program at KU. We staff three graduate assistants each year.  

Download a printable version of the Graduate Assistant position description (.docx).

Office Duties

Our Graduate Assistants perform a wide variety of duties and tasks for the office. Below are expected duties of a Graduate Assistant in JAA:

  • Advise approximately 150 assigned undergraduate students.
  • Assist with orientations for all incoming students through individual advising and enrollment appointments.
  • Utilize several types of software and technology systems to perform daily work tasks and to help with strategic office initiatives.
  • Learn and utilize the Appreciative Advising and Strengths Based advising philosophies and models.
  • Practice personal and academic wellness through calendar management and supervisor support.
  • Apply what you are learning in the classroom to day to day work (theory to practice).
  • Complete a six-week training program.
  • Participate in continual professional development opportunities on and off campus.
  • Participate in a wide variety of office committees.
  • Collaborate with several offices on campus and liaise with one or more academic units.
  • Participate in social justice discussions, trainings, and development opportunities.
  • Understand and implement federal, state, and university laws and policies (i.e. FERPA).
  • Collaborate with a student’s support system to help provide a holistic experience (i.e. Family, Student Housing, Instructors, etc.).
  • Other duties as assigned


Higher Education Competencies Graduate Assistant program is centered on KU’s adaptation of American College Personnel Association (ACPA) and National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Professional Competency Areas for Higher Education professionals. We use the competency areas as the foundation for the program to help guide our creation of opportunities and experiences that allow the Graduate Assistants to grow and develop as higher education professionals. Below is a document that has the description of the 10 competencies and how Graduate Assistants will demonstrate and further develop in these areas during their time in JAA. At the beginning of the assistantship the Graduate Assistant will go over this document with their supervisor and will continue to refer to this document throughout the assistantship. 

Hiring Process

The majority of our graduate assistants are hired through the Student Affairs Higher Education Graduate Assistantship Program. To be considered an applicant for that program you must apply to the Master’s Higher Education Administration Program, and then apply to the Higher Education Graduate Assistantship Program housed in the Office of Student Affairs. Our office follows the application, interview and hiring timeline set by the Graduate Assistantship Coordinator and you will be in direct contact with them throughout the entire process. To know more information about the academic and assistantship programs please click on the links above. Below are some links to help you get started in the applications. 

Step 1: Apply to the graduate program - Master’s in Higher Education Administration Program Admission Application
Step 2: Apply to the Assistantship program - Student Affairs Graduate Assistantship Program Application
Step 3: Wait to hear from the Assistantship Coordinator, Lindsay Orion about the interview process for the assistantship. You can contact her with any questions through email at

Pursuing another graduate degree?

Our Graduate Assistantship positions are also open for those who are not pursuing the Master’s in Higher Education Administration program. If you are interested please contact Patrick Koerner at for more information. Availability varies each year.

Salary and Hours

Graduate Assistants are salary employees, working 20 hours a week, and will receive a paycheck biweekly. 

Benefits and Affordable Care Act

Even though Graduate Assistants are considered salary employees they still have to report their time worked each day due to the Affordable Care Act. Reporting time has no effect on pay, but it is a federal mandate that they must report time worked in a calendar year. In our office Graduate Assistants are not eligible to receive benefits so a they cannot work more than 1560 total hours in a calendar year. Graduate Assistants that need to be gone for vacation days or are sick work with their supervisors to make up any hours that are missed due to being out of the office.

Federal Work Study

Federal Work Study (FWS) is offered for Graduate Assistants if they have filed their FASFA and is accepting Financial Aid. The department pays for 25% and the FWS pays for 75%.  They must accept the award through Financial Aid and it typically will not affect other aid.  All fringe costs must come out of the department’s budget and cannot be charged through FWS.  Hours that are paid through FWS funds do not count towards the ACA hour calculations. To find out of you qualify, complete the Federal Work-Study Open Request form.