Negotiating with External Agencies
Procedures for EIU Departments Negotiating with External Agencies
Department representatives are encouraged to expand resource support for their graduate programs by initiating and negotiating graduate assistantship agreements with external agencies. A negotiated agreement must follow the format approved by the University Counsel titled Graduate Assistantship Agreement with an External Agency. Students are prohibited from negotiating their own external agreements without departmental oversight.
The steps outlined in the Contract Information for a Graduate Assistantship Agreement with an External Agency section below match the information blanks located on the contract form and are provided to insure that all of the required contract information is obtained.
Before initiating negotiations, departments must contact the assistantships manager in The Graduate School with information on the number of contracts being negotiated to ensure that the correct number of matching tuition waivers are approved and budgeted prior to reaching the signature stage of negotiations. Graduate coordinators serve as the department contact for externally negotiated contracts.
Contract Information for a Graduate Assistantship Agreement with An External Agency
- Obtain the legal name of the agency to be used in the contract.
- Obtain the total number of assistantships the agency will sponsor.
- Obtain the specific degree granting programs that are eligible for support from this agency and any restriction on the number of nominees that the agency will consider. Examples include:
- All candidates in the Department of History may be nominated.
- Ten candidates, five from the School of Technology and five from the School of Family and Consumer Sciences, may be nominated.
- One candidate from each graduate program in the College of Sciences may be nominated.
- All university graduate candidates are eligible for nomination.
- Obtain the total stipend amount to be deposited into the appropriate university account and the date this amount is to be deposited each year. The preferred negotiation is to have the agency deposit the total amount for all assistantships into the university account established by The Graduate School for external assistantships by Aug. 1 if a contract is to be offered in the fall.
The agency may select to deposit the total amount in installments rather than one payment. The installment amounts and dates should be specified so the agency will be aware of its responsibility to ensure that stipend payments are not delayed for the assistants who will be paid from the account.
- Obtain the specific stipend per month and number of months that the contract will support. Agents may not offer less than the minimum monthly stipend established by the Graduate School. Agents should be informed of the Graduate School's current payment level and schedule. Agents may also wish to match or exceed the discipline's current median stipend rate. These figures are available from the assistantship manager.
The desired number of payments for an academic year is nine; however, it may be advantageous to negotiate 10-, 11- or 12-month contracts depending on the nature of the assistantship and the duties required. Contracts for less than nine months may be negotiated as long as agents and potential assistants understand that a tuition waiver for less than nine months will only cover one semester.
Review of Minimum Candidate Qualifications and Protections
- Inform the agent that the Graduate School has established the minimum qualifications required of candidates who are nominated for assistantships. These include that the candidate is a degree seeking student, has earned a 2.75 undergraduate grade point average, and agrees to enroll in minimally 9 semester hours each fall/spring and (3) three semester hours each summer. The grade point average and minimum enrollment requirements are not negotiable.
The Graduate School also applies limits to the maximum number of hours that assistants may enroll; however, assistants may request that the maximum level be waived. Details related to the assistant's responsibilities, the location or place where the assistantship duties will be performed and the person who will serve as the assistant's supervisor should be carefully detailed as well so that assistants who receive the assistantship understand their responsibilities and place of employment and to ensure that appropriate supervision is provided.
- Negotiators should also review the basic tenets of the agreement including that either party may terminate the agreement by giving written notice 30 days prior to the date of termination and that the contract is governed by the laws of the State of Illinois.
Agency and Department Signatures
- Agency Signatures: Usually one agency contact signature is sufficient; however, if additional agency signatures are requested, add these as additional contract pages.
- Department signatures: Signatures of a department representative (Department Chair or Graduate Coordinator) are only required if a department/unit is providing additional resources to support the assistant or if the department has any special stipulations related to the qualifications of the applicants. If resources and special qualifications are not required, a department signature is not required. The blank space in the lower right corner of the contract form has been provided to add a department signature line if it is needed.
Signed Originals and IBHE Selection Guidelines:
- TWO signed original copies of the contract should be forwarded to the Graduate School along with the mail and e-mail addresses of the agency.
- For each external agreement that a department negotiates, it will need to provide the Graduate School with a standard form outlining how the assistantship meets the requirements for access and institutional mission as required by the Illinois Board of Higher Education for the administration of tuition waivers provided as part of an assistantship. Selection procedures may be exactly the same as department sponsored assistantships; therefore, the same document may be submitted.
The Graduate School Procedures
Following the completion of negotiations, TWO original copies of the contract, with required signatures, are forwarded to the Graduate School.
- The Graduate School will secure the Graduate School and Board of Trustees representative signatures and forward one original copy to the agency and one original copy to the Vice President for Business Affairs. Photocopies will be forwarded to the Department and Graduate School and to any other unit identified during the negotiations.
- Once the contract is signed by all parties and is on file with the agency and the Vice President for Business Affairs, and the tuition waiver has been approved and budgeted, nominations may be accepted for the assistantship. Standard nomination forms available from the Assistantship Manager will be used and should stipulate the name of the external agent as the sponsoring office.
- The Graduate School will ensure that candidates selected for the assistantships sponsored by external agents receive a contract and meet the requirements for assistants at Eastern Illinois University.