Supporting Graduate Assistants with a Revised GSHI Award

One of the ways that the Graduate School supports graduate assistants (GAs) and fellows is through the Graduate Student Health Insurance (GSHI) Award, which covers part of the cost of the UC Student Health Insurance (SHI) premium. Over this academic year, the Graduate School has been working on a sustainable plan for providing these UC SHI subsidies in future years.

A view of Van Wormer Hall and its glass dome from McMicken Circle.

Van Wormer Hall, home of the Graduate School and the Office of the Provost

One possible plan proposed limiting students to receive 8 semesters of the GSHI award. However, we are now able to announce that the Graduate School will provide the GSHI award to support qualified full-time graduate assistants, regardless of how many previous semesters they have received the GSHI award. The Graduate School is able to provide this level of support due to collaboration with President Pinto, Provost Nelson, and the UC Colleges. All these groups are demonstrating a strong and enduring commitment to graduate students. The president and provost committed enough funds to almost double the budget underpinning the award, and the colleges have agreed to provide additional support should the GSHI award expenditures exceed the award’s funding.  

What’s changing about the GSHI award for Fall 2020?

The minimum stipend payment requirement has risen, in order to reflect the new minimum stipend rates for GAs. Right now (academic year 2019-20), students must receive a minimum of $2,400 through UC payroll for the semester, with the payroll status of a graduate assistant or fellow, to be eligible for the award. Effective Fall 2020, students must receive a minimum of $2,560 through UC payroll for the semester to be eligible for the award. This new minimum is calculated based on a 10 hour per week GA appointment at the minimum rate of $16/hour. (Please note that the minimum pay rate for PhD students effective Fall 2020 is $21/hour, but for the purposes of GSHI eligibility, we will only verify that students have been paid at least $2,560 for the semester.)

In addition, effective Fall 2020, only full-time students will be eligible for this award. Students must be enrolled in at least 10 graduate credit hours in order for the award to disburse to their bill. If a student drops or withdraws from courses during the semester and falls below 10 graduate credit hours, the award will automatically be removed from their student bill. The reason for 10 (rather than 12 or 15 or whatever the student’s program requires as a criteria of their tuition scholarship) is that for the purposes of billing, 10 credit hours is considered full-time status for graduate students

I’ve already received 4 or more years of the GSHI award. Am I eligible for the GSHI award for Fall 2020?

Yes, so long as you meet all other criteria, which includes the minimum stipend payment of $2,560 for the semester, minimum enrollment of 10 graduate credit hours, and enrollment in UC SHI. 

I work as an hourly graduate student worker. Am I eligible for this award? 

No. Even if you are informally called a TA, if you are paid as an hourly graduate student worker (i.e., required to clock in and out), you are not eligible. Only those who are paid through a graduate assistantship or fellowship are eligible. 

If I meet all criteria, what are my chances of receiving the award?

Students who meet all award criteria and who apply for the GSHI award by the award deadline are guaranteed to receive the GSHI award.