FAQs related to the RPTS Business Office
Business Office (Mrs. Tina Vega, Mrs. Clara Aguilar, Mrs. Kathy Junek)
Business Office Hours: 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. , 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Understanding Payroll and Benefits
Q: What are the salary and benefit amounts for different types of assistantships?
A: Base salary rates for assistantships are Masters–$1470.59 per month and Ph.D.–$1647.06 per month. In some cases students working on specific research projects may have an agreement with a faculty member to have a higher salary.
Benefits are provided for all graduate students who are salaried employees. Benefits are not automatically provided for students who work for an hourly wage.
If you are writing a graduate student into a grant please see https://www.rpts.tamu.edu/about/forms/documents/fringebenefits.pdf for the appropriate rate that you should charge for student benefits. At this time it is 2% of their salary (e.g., $28/mo for a PhD student).
Q: When do salary and benefits for assistantships start and stop during the calendar year?
A: Salaries for students on assistantships normally start on September 1 and end either January 15 or May 31, depending on the offer letter from the department or their agreement with a faculty member if on grant funding.
Graduate student employees are not eligible for the state contribution toward insurance until the first of the month following their first 90 days of employment by The A&M System. Graduate students employed by the Texas A&M University System for longer than 90 days will receive a state contribution towards their premium payment. Premium payment for the first 90 days of employment is the responsibility of the employee and can be automatically deducted from their paycheck. After the 90 day period the premium is no longer deducted.
Q: How do different types of employment and benefits work through the summer?
A: Students are more often paid on an hourly basis in the summer. If a student is paid on a hourly basis they are not necessarily eligible for insurance, but if the student has been on an assistantship for the Fall & Spring and continues (even on a hourly position) and will be back on an assistantship in the Fall, then their insurance is covered for the summer.
If the student will be paid on a hourly basis for the summer, then they do not have to be registered in school for the summer providing they were enrolled in the Spring and will be enrolled in the Fall. Students on salaried assistantships during the summer are required to take 3 hours per summer term or 6 hours over the 10 week term.
Q: How are pay rate and duration of employment set for someone being paid hourly?
A: Situations like this are normally being paid from grant funds so the rate and duration are set by the faculty member who has hired them to work on the project. The website below offers advice for faculty on current rates of pay on campus.
Q: What does it mean for benefits?
A: If paid hourly there are no benefits but in most cases insurance benefits carry through the summer for those paid as graduate assistants in the previous spring.
Q: What can the pro card be used for?
A: Examples of Acceptable Purchases:
Books, films & videos, registration fees, rental of tools & equipment, office supplies (encouraged to use HUB vendors) educational supplies, freight & delivery services (use contract providers for express mail services) rental of conference rooms and exhibit space, subscriptions (4025)
Computer consumables, computer equipment, computer software and hardware must be purchased through RPTS IT by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Examples of Restricted Purchases:
Animals, Food (if allowable on the account)-must indicate business purpose for food purchases on supporting document.
Business meals- need 5 w’s of who, what, where, when & why on the meal transaction form
Alcohol (if allowable on the account) only select professors have these kinds of funds.
Employee gifts (5240)-recipient’s name, address, and social security number (only if greater than $600)
Non-employee gifts (5241)-recipient’s name, address, social security number (only if greater than $600)
Q: When is a Purchase Order (PO) needed and what do I need to do?
A: Any time money is going to be spent, travel registration, supplies, etc, complete form AG 610 (see the link below), turn in to the business office and a purchase order will be issued.
http://agservices.tamu.edu/forms/AG-610.pdf or complete https://www.rpts.tamu.edu/about/forms/BusinessRequest.htm
Q: What if I pay for supplies out of pocket?
A: If you pay out of pocket you will need to have one of the above forms completed and turned in to the Business Office. Please remember that we cannot reimburse you for state taxes.
Q: Can I have a purchase direct billed?
A: Purchases can be direct billed if arrangements have been made with the vendor and the business office in advance.
Q: What’s a HUB vendor, what’s it mean to purchasing
A: HUB vendor—Historically Underutilized Business
http://aghr.tamu.edu/rules-a/250601a101HUB.htm Using You’re Accounts (Allocations, Grants and Contracts)
Q: What do different types of accounts mean in terms of spending?
A: There are different kinds of accounts in 02, 06 & 07
02—University Funds (for example it might look like this 02-130013)
State Funds beginning with the number 1 (like the example above) have to be spent by 8/31 of the current fiscal year.
Local funds- beginning with the numbers 2, 5 & 6 (for example 02-240913, 02-510017 or 02-635439) carry forward from year to year.
06-Texas AgriLife Research Funds
State Funds-beginning with the number 1 (for example 06-121220) must be spent by 8/31 of the current fiscal year.
Designated Funds beginning with the number 2 (for example 06-203093) carry forward to the next fiscal year.
Accounts beginning with a 4 or 5 (e.g., 06-412131; 06-512131) are Contract & Grants accounts and the ending dates are specified in each individual agreement/contract.
Q; How can I find out what accounts I have available to spend from?
A: Each person can request access to view their accounts from the Business Office.
For Contract & Grant accounts each individual faculty receives an email from Contract & Grants with their number assigned. They should then add this to their account list.
Q: Can I spend grant money for anything?
A: It usually depends on the stipulations (budgeted line items) of your grant.
Q: How does indirect cost (IDC) work on a grant?
A: IDC or Facilities & Administrative Cost Rate is charged to a grant by rate established by the Texas A&M System. The standard rate is 46.5% but there are situations in which it is lower. For example there are often agreed upon rates that are lower among state agencies.
IDC is earned first before it is distributed to the department. The department receives 25% of the IDC. The unit/department keeps 15% and 10% goes to the principal investigator. The department head can change the distribution percent or follow the allocation that is sent to him from AgriLife Research.
IDC can be used for travel, tuition payment & fees, but not for food.
Q: What’s bridge funding related to grants and how does it work?
A: Bridge funding is a loan to help pay for expenses/salaries while the grant is going through the channels of approval, these funds are made available when a principal investigator knows that a grant will be funded and the department head agrees to assist.