Systems and Procedures
A Division of The Corporate Controller's Office
Last Revision: 03/27/2019

Terms of Offer and General Conditions of a Graduate Assistantship

Table of Contents:

Use of Google Chrome Required:

NOTE: Google Chrome must be used to access the GURU website and for completing and/or downloading fill-and-print forms. Firefox, Internet Explorer, and/or Microsoft Edge browsers do not support all features required for PDF fill-and-print form functionality. substitutes for an approved University official form (created using a different browser or scanned copies) will be returned along with the request to use the Chrome version of the form.


The Terms of Offer and General Conditions of a Graduate Assistantship form is used by a University department to offer assistantships to graduate students*. This form is also used by the student in accepting or rejecting the offer. This form should not be used for students on fellowship appointments.

General Information:

*Graduate Assistantship appointments are for graduate students registered for the appropriate number of credits applicable to a graduate degree offered under the Graduate School and commensurate with their level of assistantship and semester of appointment.

Exhibit and Instructions:

This form has fill-and-print form fields and digital ID (signature) fields enabled. The PDF version has instructions provided for the type and/or format of information to be included within the fill-and-print form fields. Hovering the computer mouse over any form field within the PDF will display these instructions. See Converting Web-based Documents to PDF Documents for details. See Applying Digital IDs on PDFs for instructions on adding signatures.

For step-by-step instructions for completing the Terms of Offer of a Graduate Assistantship form, click on link below:

Terms of Offer and General Conditions of a Graduate Assistantship Appointment Exhibit

Form Requirements:

No form may be used that substitutes for an approved official University form without prior review and approval by the steward of the form/central office, as facilitated by the Office of Systems and Procedures (designated representative of the Corporate Controller). See Policy FN17 Required Use of Approved University Forms Appearing in the General University Reference Utility (GURU) for full details.

Accessing GURU Forms:

GURU PDF forms are designed for use with Adobe Acrobat Reader or Adobe Acrobat Pro. Each browser (Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc) has a built-in PDF viewer making it the default PDF viewer without asking users. These built-in viewers do not necessarily support all features required for PDF Forms. Similarly, many calculations are not supported by other stand-alone PDF readers (for example, Nuance). If you experience problems downloading or opening documents, right click on the link on the Forms Locator Screen, select 'Save Link As' (or similar language) and save the file. The document can then be opened in either Adobe Acrobat Reader or Adobe Acrobat Pro from the saved location.

The latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader is available for free. Contact your IT support staff person for downloading assistance, if/as needed. An Adobe Creative Cloud (CC) account is also available to all Penn State students, faculty, and staff members, at no cost. Sign up for an Adobe Creative Cloud account at adobe.psu.edu. If Adobe Acrobat Pro better suits your needs, contact your IT support staff person for purchasing and installation assistance.

Web-based Documents:

Clicking the form download icon on any of the form instruction pages on GURU will open a web-based version of the form. While it appears to have fill-and-print fields available, not all functionality may be available for use (i.e., digital ID fields). With some exceptions (see below), it will be necessary to convert these web-based documents to PDF document (see Converting Web-based Documents to PDF Documents section).

Converting Web-based Documents to PDF Documents:

There are two (2) options available to download forms:

Option 1 - To create a PDF for this document:

Option 2 - To change system settings to always open documents with Adobe:


Combining PDF Documents:

There may be times when it is necessary to combine multiple PDF documents into a single document for submission. In those instances, complete the following steps:

Repeat this process for each document that will be combined (each file name must be different from the previous)

Applying Digital IDs on PDFs (general instructions):

This form has the Digital ID (applying an electronic signature to the document) process enabled. Complete all fill-and-print form fields before completing the signature process:

  1. Complete the Terms of Offer of a Graduate Assistantship Form
  2. Complete all fill-and-print fields
  3. One the form is complete, click in the signature form field and either:
    • select your digital ID and click continue, or
    • create your digital ID, select your digital ID, and click continue
  4. Review the information in the appearance box and click sign
  5. You will be required to save a copy of the document (the digital signature is not applied until the form is saved)
    • The file name pop-up window will contain the name "terms-of-offer-of-a-graduate-assistantship" in the file name field, add a dash and the graduate assistant's Last Name and First Name and the year of offer (i.e., terms-of-offer-of-a-graduate-assistantship-smith-mary-2022)
    • choose a location to save the file where you will be able to locate/retrieve this saved version
    • click save
  6. Close the form version appearing on your screen
  7. Open the version containing the graduate assistant's name, saved in the previous step
  8. Verify the digital ID appears on the document
  9. Close the document

Applying Digital IDs When Document Contains Multiple Signatures:

The Terms of Offer of a Graduate Assistantship form requires multiple signatures. Please complete the following process for obtaining those signatures:

Clearing Fill-and-Print Form Field Entries:

This form has the "Clear Form" bookmark enabled. To clear ALL form field entries:

If you encounter any difficulties, contact the GURU support staff by submitting a Technical Support Form request.

Number of Copies and Ultimate Distribution:

Table of distribution and retention of the Terms of Offer and General Conditions of a Graduate Assistantship
Document: Ultimate Distribution: Retention Periods: Disposition Method:
Original HR Shared Services End of calendar year +3 years after termination, expiration, or last activity Paper documents = Secure Bin disposal or shredded

Electronic Document and Data = Delete from computer and empty computer recycle bin
1st Copy Student - - - - - If retained on University computer - delete and empty computer recycle bin
Transitory* Copy

(copies made during the digital ID process
See Applying Digital IDs When Document Contains Multiple Signatures above Upon verification of successful upload to HR Shared Services = End of fiscal year +1 year Electronic documents and data = delete and empty computer recycle bin

Where to Send Completed Forms:

The department making the offer will enter all information on the form and the official responsible for making the offer must sign and date the form. The form (as well as all forms needed for a new appointment [see General Section above]) will be emailed to the graduate student. The student will complete and sign the original and return it to the department. The student should retain a copy for their records.

Contact Information:

For questions, additional detail, or to request changes to this form, contact The Graduate School.

Cross References: