mountain profile Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii

Summer Salary Limits

Maintained by LG

This document is intended to clarify the Institute policy concerning the amount of summer overload employment a student should be offered where possible.
It is based on the December 29 1995 memorandum from Don Hall and Gareth Wynn-Williams.

A graduate student who has held an RA for the previous year should normally be offered no more than 2 half-months of summer overload.

Rationale for the policy

This memo formalizes current practice, as laid out in Jim Heasley's memo to the faculty of May 9, 1994. Its goal is to smooth out the differences in total earnings among the graduate assistants and to avoid the situation where one student gets offered very generous overload, while another student is unable to obtain any summer employment. Under the proposed policy, it is expected that a student's 12-month calendar year is taken up by 9 half-months of academic work, 13 half months of assistantship work and 2 half-months of free time that they may use for vacation. The effect of the memo is that dispensation from the director upon recommendation by the Graduate Chair is required to employ a student during the month they would normally have as free time.

Worked Examples, using 2011 pay scales:

Research Assistant at Step 14

Teaching Assistant Step 14


  1. The actual summer salaries will differ from those above if the summer employment does not exactly fit into full calendar months. The calculation of part-month salaries is too complicated to explain in this memo.
  2. The 4% difference between $20,676 and $21,596 is considered to be within the noise for the purposes of this policy.
  3. The stipend for one six-week summer session is currently $2,775.
  4. Students at Step 8 and Step 9 earn 4% and 8% more than the above 
  5. The basic salary for both a TA and an RA is paid in 24 semi-monthly installments over the year, irrespective of summer employment. Payments for summer overload are made approximately two weeks after the end of the pay period in question.