About GSI and GSSA Employment

In compliance with Article IX Section A.2: The University shall host a webpage containing information about GSI and GSSA employment.  Included on the webpage will be the prior academic year’s (fall and winter) percentage of master’s students who worked as GSI or GSSA by appointing units shall include a link to this webpage on their department or unit websites.

This website is the fulfillment of the University’s obligation under the contract.  

U-M and GEO share a nearly 50-year history of successful and collaborative negotiations. We recognize the value of the union representing the interests of graduate students and to collectively bargain. We also value the bargaining process and have a longstanding commitment to working toward the best outcomes, even when negotiations are contentious. There are approximately 2,300 university employees working as graduate student instructors (GSIs) and graduate student staff assistants (GSSAs). These employees play an important role in supporting the university’s teaching mission, while they also pursue their graduate or professional degrees. GSIs are employed to teach, grade and tutor. GSSAs are employees whose work fulfills a degree requirement or is otherwise academically relevant to a degree being pursued and who perform administrative, counseling, or education duties other than those of a GSI.

The relationship between University of Michigan and the Graduate Employees’ Organization (GEO) is one of the oldest among graduate employee unions in the U.S., and we are proud that contracts with GEO rank among the very best in the nation. The university’s bargaining team is guided in negotiations with GEO by core principles. These principles are instrumental in a long history of reaching successful agreements between U-M and the unions represented at the university.  

Guiding Principles

  • We recognize the essential contributions of graduate student instructors and graduate student staff assistants and honor the rights of workers to bargain collectively. 
  • We are committed to bargaining in good faith on all bargainable issues such as wages, hours and working conditions; on issues beyond the scope of contract, the university supports dialogue through other venues.
  • We commit to a collaborative negotiation process that supports creative problem solving and frank discussion, and that fosters dignity and respect for all parties.
  • We see continuity of instruction and support for students as a core university responsibility, one that requires us to consider impacts on our undergraduate students. 

U-M is grateful to have a positive relationship with graduate student instructors, who are valued and vital members of our community as partners to faculty, and teachers and mentors to undergraduates. Past contracts have provided graduate employees with many mutually beneficial agreements, and we are confident that current negotiations will lead to a strong, fair, and forward-looking contract agreement that builds on GEO’s current contract.

Features of the Current GEO Contract

  • Most GSIs are appointed at 50% effort, which is the equivalent of 16-20 hours per week
  • Total pay for two, four-month semesters at 50% effort: $25,980 (equivalent to $77,940 full-time annual pay)
  • Tuition waiver: Up to $13,596 per semester for in-state students, up to $27,360 per semester for out-of-state students
  • Childcare subsidy for student parents, per semester:
    • $3,567 for one child
    • $5,230 for two children
    • $6,896 for three or more children
  • Comprehensive health insurance: no monthly premium

Key Features of Past GEO Contracts


The most recent three-year contracts between U-M and GEO resulted in consistent wage increases for GSIs and GSSAs. 

  • For 2008-2011, the parties agreed to a 9% salary increase over the life of the contract.
  • For 2011-2014, the parties agreed to 8.5% increases. 
  • For 2013-2017, the parties agreed to an 8% increase at the Ann Arbor and Dearborn campuses. Flint gained a new minimum in the initial year of the contract followed by 6% increases over the following three years. 
  • For 2017-2020, the parties agreed to 10% increases for all three campuses.
  • For 2020-2023 the parties agreed to 10.1% over the following three years.
  • Under the 2023-2026 contract GEO received an 8% increase in 2023 and will receive a 6% increase in 2024 and a 6% increase in 2025.

International Graduate Student Instructors (IGSI)

  • 2005: The $350 fee for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVIS) was included in the contract as reimbursable for GSIs and GSSAs who requested it within the first four terms of employment. 
  • 2017: The parties agreed to language that prohibits the university from assigning more than 20 hours of work per week for IGSIs, in support of certain visa limitations. 
  • 2023: The $160 fee for the Machine Readable Immigration Visa fee or Nonimmigrant Visa Application Fee was included in the contract as reimbursable for GSis and GSSAs who requested it within the first four terms of employment.

Established the International Graduate Workers Assistance Fund that covers reimbursement of administrative fees, legal fees, travel, and accommodation expenses, only when necessary for obtaining or maintaining the appropriate immigration and/or legal working status, up to $1,000 an academic year. Click here for more information and to access the reimbursement form.

Healthcare Benefits

  • 2005: With the passage of Michigan Proposal 02-04, the Board of Regents passed the 2005 Same Sex Domestic Partner policies. The health care benefits package expanded to  include benefits for same-sex partners. 
  • 2005: Implemented dental benefits at no cost to all employees, which included all appointment fractions. When national dental premiums averaged $300 a year, this benefit  had a significant impact for GEO’s membership.  
  • 2012: All employees, regardless of appointment fraction, were made eligible to enroll in health insurance.
  • 2017: Language was added to cap mental health co-payments to $700, which cut copays in half for those receiving weekly mental health treatment.  
  • 2020: The mental health co-payment cap requirement decreased from $700 to $500. Additionally, language was added to provide GSIs and GSSAs with six weeks of paid medical leave.
  • 2023:  Language was added to cap physical therapy co-payments at $500 and $1,000.  

Childcare Subsidy and Parental Leave

  • 2002: Participation in the childcare subsidy was added for all bargaining unit members, helping to make childcare more affordable. 
  • 2008: Paid parental leave was added, providing bargaining unit members three weeks of paid leave.
  • 2017: Paid parental leave was expanded to a total of eight weeks, giving bargaining unit members the benefit of three weeks paid parental leave and five weeks of paid medical.
  • 2020: Paid parental leave increased from the previous year’s contract. Bargaining unit members received six weeks of paid parental leave.
  • 2023: Birthing parents receive six weeks of paid maternity leave and six weeks of paid parental leave. Non-birthing parents receive six weeks of paid parental leave.

Transgender Healthcare Benefits

  • Early 2000s: Transgender healthcare is included in the agreement for the first time. Making progress with LGBT rights and in an effort to attract the best talent, the university and the union agreed upon health care benefits for gender affirming care.  
  • 2017: The parties meet in “Special Conferences” for any number of issues that concern the union and the agreement. Dedicating Special Conferences for gender-affirming care is another way to help address concerns.  
  • 2019: In a special conference, coverage for facial feminization, Adam's apple reduction, and facial hair removal were added to health benefits coverage for transgender health care. Surgeries addressing gender dysphoria were relabeled as medically necessary.  
  • 2020: 15 sessions of speech-language therapy are covered annually for transgender care.
  • 2023:  Up to 60 sessions of speech-language therapy are covered annually for transgender care. There is no requirement for prior authorization for in-network laser hair removal. GradCare will cover breast augmentation and reduction and facial masculinization. GradCare’s gender-affirming coverage extends to BCN in-network providers in the state of Michigan.

Appointment Procedures

The nature and definitions of GSI and GSSA positions, as well as other information about the terms and conditions of employment in such positions, are described in the University’s collective bargaining agreement between the University and the Graduate Employees Organization.

When to Process Appointments

All appointments should be prepared and submitted prior to the beginning of the term or other period of appointment.

Late appointments: In this context, a ‘late appointment’ is one that is sent to Human Resources subsequent to the first pay date of the appointment period involved. Because the specific period of appointment for GSI’s and GSSA’s has numerous implications for the employee contractual rights and benefits, a written statement affirming that the activities involved in the appointment are, in fact, taking place throughout the designated period should accompany any late appointments. Even with proper documentation, the late processing of a GSI/GSSA appointment could have adverse impacts, such as:

  • Wage payments can be delayed
  • Insurance coverage, tuition waivers, and other benefits afforded to GSI’s / GSSA’s can be affected.
  • The University could be subject to penalties if the Employment Eligibility Verification Form (I-9) is not processed on a timely basis.

Forms and Procedures for Appointment/Reappointment/Termination of GSI or GSSA

Process hires, rehires and additional appointments, including fraction calculation, using the online eRecruit system.

Access by going to Wolverine Access, click on the "Faculty & Staff" tab and select ”M-Pathways Student Administration & Human Resource Management System" under "University Business", then select “Recruiting” from the “Main Menu”.

For more information, reference materials are found in the eRecruit section of My LINC

Alternate path: Go to Wolverine Access, click on the "Faculty & Staff" tab and select "My LINC (Learning & Information Center)" under "University Business." On My LINC, search "eRecruit" and select the document "eRecruit: User Resources."

The following forms must be completed:

All forms, with appropriate authorizing signatures, should be submitted directly to:

Shared Services Center

[email protected]

Phone:  (734) 615-2000

For questions about the University’s collective bargaining agreement with GEO, contact Academic HR.

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