Classification and compensation of student positions
Classification of on-campus positions
Classification applies to the position, not to the employee. Student employment positions are classified according to Role Category and Level of Responsibility (e.g. Academic Level 2). The resulting classification has a unique job code (e.g. 02002) that is used in PeopleSoft and helps us better understand (at a macro-level) how our student workforce supports operations. The steps below reflect the process used by Student Employment to classify (or reclassify) on-campus student positions. Supervisors, members of HR Service Teams or department administrators are invited to submit job descriptions for classification through our online system.
Step 1: Role Category Tab Open
Step 2: Level of Responsibility Tab Closed
Step 3: Final Classification Tab Closed
Step 1: Role Category Accordion Open
The first part of a job classification represents the primary function of the position. While a position may include many different types of duties, select the one role category that encompasses the majority of duties. Role categories are intentionally broad.
|Academic||Assist in the delivery of academic courses, and/or those who help students reach their academic potential (Tutors, Teaching Assistants, etc.).|
|Administrative/Reception||Perform administrative duties in direct support of University projects, programs, and/or departments, with varying degrees of public contact based on department (Student Admin Assistants, Desk Attendants, etc.).|
|Financial||Perform accounting and/or financial transactions and are charged with the responsible use of university funds (Accounting Assistants, etc.).|
|Infrastructure||Support University operations, ensuring safe, compliant, and efficient practices (Grounds Crew, Custodial Support, Shuttle Drivers, Police Aides, etc.).|
|Marketing/University Advancement||Represent the University in person or via phone, or create content that represents the University in print or online, with the objective of promoting University projects, programs, and/or departments (Social Media, Photographers, Graphic Designers, Communications Assistants, etc.).|
|Peer/Youth Educator||Interface with their peers or with youth, resolving questions and/or contributing to others’ personal, professional, and or physical wellness (Peer Mentors, Intramural Supervisors, Youth Programs staff, etc.).|
|Research||Assist in the collection, analysis, and/or reporting related to specimens, data, or other research material (Research Technicians, Lab Assistants, etc.).|
|Technology||Support computer software and/or other forms of technology and/or interact with end users to document and/or troubleshoot technical challenges (Tech Support, Coding Assistants, Software Engineers, etc.).|
Step 2: Level of Responsibility Accordion Closed
The second part of a job classification refers to the level of responsibility required of the job (i.e. Level 1-4). Areas of responsibility are defined below to provide context and encourage consistency in classification.
|Level of Responsibility||Definition||Questions to Consider|
|Job Duties||Those functions described and detailed in the written job description (not assumptions about what the position might require an employee to do).||Does the supervisor provide clear instructions, guidelines, or processes for the tasks at hand?
Will the employee in this position need to create their own projects and/or processes to accomplish the job?
How difficult are those tasks or projects?
|Experience||Previous experience required to be successful in the position.||Do the minimum qualifications, as written, include required classes or a number of semesters the student must have been at NAU?|
|Skill||Specific skills required prior to hiring/training to be successful in the position.||Are the skills used in the job specialized (i.e. fluent in another language or proficiency with a specific lab instrument) or generalized (i.e. “excellent communication” or “self-starter”)?|
|Supervision||Both the extent to which this position is supervised or works independently and the supervision or mentoring/ training responsibilities required of the position.||How much supervision, guidance, training, mentoring, and autonomy is provided for the position?
Does the job require the employee to formally supervise other students or informally mentor or train others?
|Public Contact||The broader community and potential impact on reputation of NAU (not solely the number of times they might answer questions from the public).||Does this position have responsibility for the reputation of NAU or the department?
Does the position require knowledge or execution of risk management? How much risk is inherent in the position?
Step 3: Final Classification Accordion Closed
The final step in classification uses the Classification Level Matrix to determine the overall responsibility required of the position. Keep in mind, a job description may require a higher level of responsibility in one area, but lower levels in other areas – i.e. high in supervision but low in public contact – the overall job classification will be the sum of all areas.
How long does the classification process take? Accordion Closed
Each classification request is reviewed by a committee of three individuals. Most requests are complete within 3-5 business days, but there are occasions when the process takes longer. Feel free to contact StudentEmployment@nau.edu at any time with questions about your classification request status.
What if I am unhappy with the classification made by Student Employment? Accordion Closed
We often see that classifications can be readjusted to properly capture the scope of a student position by making adjustments to the submitted job description. Supervisors are invited to discuss classifications with Student Employment, either via email or phone call.
To submit a job for reclassification, use the Update Existing Classification option on the OnBase form. Supervisors or HR Service Team members will need the position-specific Form ID to use the autofill feature. To find a form ID, look up the position in the Form ID database or refer to your final classification email (if it was received after January 1, 2021).
Why does the classification process ask me about GPAs? Accordion Closed
Setting a higher-than-minimum GPA as a minimum requirement excludes certain students, who may otherwise be fantastic candidates, from applying for the position. When there is not a job-related reason for requiring a higher minimum GPA, Student Employment recommends keeping the minimum GPA as the position’s GPA requirement to be more inclusive in hiring.
What is a “reclassification” and when is it appropriate? Accordion Closed
The reclassification process exists to allow student employee supervisors to adjust a previously submitted job description classification to properly capture the scope of a student position as it may change over time. This occurs when the job duties, experience, skill, supervision, and/or public contact of the role has fundamentally changed and results in the need for the position level to be altered. Please note, reclassifications are completed for the position and are not student employee specific as it overrides the original classification and impacts all students in that role. Reclassifications are not appropriate as a means to adjust student pay if the job description and subsequent role itself has not changed.
When completing a reclassification, Student Employment will compare the newly submitted and originally submitted requests to ensure appropriate and honest changes have been made to the role. Submitters will receive an email with the reclassification result directly from StudentEmployment@nau.edu upon it’s completion.
It is Student Employment’s expectation and the supervisor’s responsibility to update the student employee(s) working in the reclassified position(s) of changes made to their job description, level of responsibility, and pay rate.
To complete a reclassification, use the Update Existing Classification option on the OnBase form. Submitters will need the position-specific Form ID to use the autofill feature. To find a form ID, look up the position in the Form ID database or refer to your final classification email (if it was received after January 1, 2021).
If you have any questions on if a job description reclassification is an appropriate step for you and your student employees, please contact StudentEmployement@nau.edu.
Compensation of Student Employees
Effective January 2, 2023, NAU will increase the lowest paid wage (LPW) for our student employees to $15.00 per hour from the current $14.50 per hour rate and a new tiered structure (found below) will be implemented. Though NAU is only required to follow the federal minimum wage of $7.25, a higher starting rate (with consideration of State of Arizona and City of Flagstaff minimum wages) better balances the economic needs of our student employees, while preserving the number of student jobs we can offer.
Pay ranges by classification level Tab Open
Guidelines for departmental pay rate increases Tab Closed
Pay ranges by classification level Accordion Open
To ensure equitable compensation for student employees, in accordance with an ongoing institutional increase to lowest paid wage for student employees, the following tiered pay rate structure has been established for classification levels, effective January 2, 2023.
- Level 1 – $15.00 – $15.25
- Level 2 – $15.25 – $15.50
- Level 3 – $15.50 – $15.75
- Level 4 – $15.75+
*Note for hiring supervisors: Student employees hired at or above the hourly rate of $17.00 requires VP/Dean approval (no longer requiring Provost approval) per HR processes
Guidelines for departmental pay rate increases Accordion Closed
- Increases should follow the guidelines for classification levels and pay ranges (i.e. pay rate increases should not exceed the range for that position’s classification).
- Student employees should be in their roles a minimum of one semester before any compensation increases occur.
- Departments should not increase an individual student’s compensation more than once per academic year, unless the increase is the result of a student moving into a higher-paying role.
- Increases should factor in the student employee’s performance, with the requirement that only students performing at or above expected proficiency levels for their role are eligible for an increase, and only if department budgets allow.
- Any increase structure should be equitable within departments.
- Departments should be mindful of organizational climate and impact, both positive and negative, on employee morale when implementing increases (e.g. were benefit eligible staff given increases that year?).
What is FICA and how does it impact student wages on campus? Accordion Closed
Per the IRS, NAU student employees enrolled at least half time do not personally pay Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) taxes of 7.65% (Social Security tax of 6.2% plus Medicare tax of 1.45%). FICA taxes are paid by the student if at any time they drop below half time enrollment requirement including periods, such as summer, when they are not attending classes.
Can I pay students with a stipend instead of an hourly rate? Accordion Closed
Stipends do not provide the appropriate structure to ensure compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). In order to ensure that NAU complies with FLSA requirements, most student employees report their hours by clocking in and out via PeopleSoft Time & Labor and are paid for each hour reported. Supervisors with questions about FLSA should contact Human Resources.
Does my student employment position qualify for the “RA Exemption” from the FLSA? Accordion Closed
Relatively few student positions on campus meet the standards of this FLSA exception. Any questions about how to interpret the FLSA or the RA exemption should be directed to Human Resources. In general, in order to qualify for this exemption (which will allow the person to be paid by salary, rather than hourly) the following must be in place:
- The person doing the work must be a student. This means you cannot hire graduating seniors, or non-students into these positions.
- The work must be tied to an educational program. The work performed must be tied to the instruction and guidance of the participants in the program. The program should not be one where NAU’s primary interest is in generating income.
- There must be a justified need for the person in the job to live in the residence hall (or other location) with the participants in the program.