Incoming Graduate Assistants

If you're a new student at KU and have been offered an assistantship (Graduate Teaching Assistantship, Graduate Research Assistantship, Graduate Assistantship, or Fellowship), you must prepare to take extra steps after arrival. Please click on each drop-down for important details about your arrival and more. 

Please be aware: You may need an additional $1500~$2000 initially until first paycheck, and possibly more if having to apply for a Social Security Number (SSN) upon arrival.


To get paid and enroll for any qualifying benefits (i.e., insurance) for your graduate assistantship work at KU, you will need to complete the on-boarding requirements.

On-boarding has an online and in-person component.  You will receive an invitation to your KU email address from to begin the online on-boarding part.  It is very important that you check your KU email account frequently to receive notifications, alerts and other related correspondence which is time sensitive.

A KU Shared Service Center (SSC) Representative will also be contacting you via KU e-mail to assist with specific on-boarding requirements and will be available to answer any additional questions you may have.

The in-person onboarding (I-9) process will be completed after arrival.



  • If you already have a SSN: Arriving by the 8/10/2022 program start date should give you enough time to complete the various check-ins, on-boarding and required trainings before classes start 8/22/2022.
  • If you do not have a SSN (need to apply): Plan to arrive on campus no later than 8/3/2022. However, you might consider arriving earlier (keeping in mind the SSN application is only possible after arrival and the process can take 1~2 weeks upon arrival). If you cannot arrive by 8/3/22, you may still arrive up until 8/10/22 with the current I-20 (or DS-2019) you have in hand, however, due to the time it could take to apply for and receive the SSN upon arrival, your employment start and first paycheck may be delayed. Please plan finances accordingly.

Most check-ins, onboarding, and possible required trainings for your assistantship can be completed only after your arrival in the US (see below). Fall 2022 classes start 8/22/2022.

Required Steps to complete in person after arrival

  1. International Student Orientation (ISO)
  2. Upload required immigration documents (including "Report Your U.S. Arrival" (Upload I-94 e-form) to iHawk and attend ISS check-ins [immigration document check]
  3. Attend Staying Legal presentation (F-1 & J-1 only) during orientation
  4. Watkins Health Center check-in [for immunizations and vaccinations]
  5. AEC Proficiency Test and/or Speak Test [if applicable]
  6. Open a US bank account
  7. Complete On-boarding with KU – online AND in-person I-9 processes
  8. Possible orientation required by your graduate department or as a new GTA, etc.

      If you do not have a social security number:

  1. In-Person SSN application at the Lawrence Social Security Administration (SSA). This is only possible after requesting SSN Letter and completing ISS check-in after arrival. Please see the "SSN Application Process" section below for important details.)


SSN Application Process (if you do not already have one)

If you do not have a Social Security Number (SSN), you must apply for one before you can finalize your on-boarding process at KU. There is currently a 5-day waiting period upon arrival for a student to be able to apply for an SSN in person at the SSA office. Due to this waiting period requirement, it can take 1-2 weeks from arrival to obtain an SSN and be put on payroll.

Step 1:  Submit "Request SSN Letter for On-Campus Jobs (F-1)"
  • This form can be found on the ‘ISS Check-in Checklist’ under the ‘Requests’ section on the home page of iHawk. This form is available and you are encouraged to start the process now.  
  • Complete the e-form with your information and your Employer Contact information. Your Employer Contact is the person who offered you employment (such as a faculty member or departmental office staff). If you do not know who your employer contact is, ask your department before you fill out this form.
  • If you are a J-1 student, submit the “On-Campus Work Permit Request” e-form instead
  • You will need this letter in order to apply for the SSN.  This letter can be issued only after your arrival to the U.S. and will be provided to you at your scheduled ISS check-in appointment.  Please be sure to have the e-form completed before your ISS Check-In appointment.  Again, this form is available and you are encouraged to start the process now.  
Step 2: Finish all required e-forms in iHawk upon arrival to KU Campus
  • Finish uploading all required immigration documents in the ‘ISS Check-in Checklist’, including “Report Your U.S. Arrival (Upload I-94)” (only possible after entry into the U.S.) and “Local U.S. Address” e-forms.
Step 3: Attend required ISS Check-in
  • A special early ISS check-in is planned for only for students needing to apply for SSN
    • Last Name starting with A-L: Thursday, August 4, 2022
    • Last Name starting with M-Z: Friday, August 5, 2022
    • Location: Anschutz Library, 4th Floor (1301 Hoch Auditoria Dr. Lawrence, KS 66045)
    • Time: Between 10:00am - 2:00pm (on your designated day based on your last name, you can arrive any time between 10:00am and 2:00pm)
  • At the required ISS check-in, an ISS immigration advisor will review all of your uploaded immigration documents. Upon review and legal status is confirmed, the ISS advisor will register/validate your SEVIS record (required before applying for an SSN)
  • The ISS advisor will also issue you the requested “F-1 SSN Letter for On-Campus Jobs” (or “On-campus Work Permit” for J-1s), which you will need in order to apply for the SSN in-person at the Social Security Administration (SSA) office.
  • The ISS advisor will also provide you with detailed instructions on how to apply for the SSN.
Step 4: Complete online SSN application and visit the SSA office in-person to apply
  • Follow the specific instructions provided to you at the ISS Check-in.
  • You will be instructed to start the SSN application online and then visit the Social Security Administration office in Lawrence with your original immigration documents and application reference number. There may be a shuttle service available provided by ISS.
  • IMPORTANT: 5-day waiting period from entry into the U.S. must be completed before the SSA office can see you for an in-person SSN application.

If you skip this final step and fail to go to the SSA office in-person with your original immigration documents to finalize the SSA application, you will not be issued an SSN and therefore not put on payroll for on-campus employment.