Frequently Asked Questions
In lieu of a static Student Employment Handbook, below you will find a more contemporary model of guidelines, best practices, and answers to your questions related to student employment at NAU. The links below will take you to FAQs about each topic.
Student Employment and Covid-19 Accordion Closed
Learn more about Covid-19 and Student Employment-related FAQs on the Career and Covid-19 FAQ website.
How many credits does a student need to be enrolled in to be eligible to work on campus? Accordion Closed
As long as a student in enrolled in any number of credits at NAU (even only 1 credit) they can be hired into a student wage position. 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 or during periods of time, such as summer, when they are not attending classes.
Federal Work Study (FWS) students have federal regulations that require them to be enrolled at least ½ time.
What is the minimum GPA for student employees at NAU? Accordion Closed
Students must be in good academic standing (cumulative GPA of 2.0 and above for undergraduate students; cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above for graduate students) to begin work as a student employee. Federal Work-Study (FWS) students must be meeting all Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.
Student employees are expected to maintain good academic standing. Some on-campus employers may require a higher minimum GPA based on the job duties of the student employee (i.e. Tutors require a 3.0 minimum GPA). Contact StudentEmployment@nau.edu with questions about higher-than-minimum position-specific GPA requirements.
If a student employee drops below a cumulative 2.0 GPA and is placed on Academic Probation, supervisors are encouraged to provide support (i.e. share resources, reduce hours if necessary, etc.) to help the student employee avoid suspension and demonstrate improvement towards Good Academic Standing to remain employed and able to persist towards graduation.
Resources for Supervisors and Students
Should my student employee be hired as a student wage (SW) or part-time temp (PPT) position? Accordion Closed
Students who are enrolled in at least one credit at NAU for this semester (or next semester) should be hired in SW (or FWS) positions. Students who are not enrolled in classes at NAU (including those who have graduated) cannot be hired in SW positions.
Can students continue to work on campus the summer after they graduate? Accordion Closed
Students don’t have to be enrolled in summer classes to have a student wage (SW) designation over the summer, but they must be registered for fall classes to work during the summer in an SW position. If a student is not enrolled in the summer or upcoming fall they can be hired as part-time temporary employee.
Once a student graduates, they cannot be employed in an SW position. Departments with summer programming often keep their recent grads employed over summer in part-time temp roles. Student employees who have graduated cannot work in positions that meet the “RA exemption” of the Fair Labor Standards Act, per exemption criteria.
Are CCC2NAU students eligible for student employment at NAU? Accordion Closed
Eligibility for typical on-campus student employment (i.e. Student Wage positions) requires that an individual be enrolled in at least 1 credit at NAU. CCC2NAU students are each unique in how many credits they are taking and whether they are taking those at CCC, NAU, or a combination of CCC & NAU each semester. Departments are able to hire CCC2NAU students, but if those students are not enrolled in at least 1 credit of NAU coursework ( for example if they are taking all their classes at CCC this semester), they will need to be hired on as Part Time Temps, rather than Student Wage, and that is up to department discretion.
What is different about recruiting or hiring international students? Accordion Closed
International students need on-campus jobs.
International students are typically only allowed to work on campus due to their student visa statuses. The hiring process does require a few extra steps (detailed below) but the recruitment and selection process is the same for international and domestic students. International students are permitted to work up to 20 hours per week during academic terms and up to 40 hours per week during intersession breaks and over summer.
Recruit in Handshake Tab Open
Requesting a Social Security Number Tab Closed
Finish onboarding Tab Closed
Recruit in Handshake Accordion Open
International students all have Handshake accounts, so you can post your positions in Handshake following the normal recruitment and selection processes. Once you have interviewed, selected, and offered jobs to your candidates, if any of them are international students, they will need to request a Social Security Number before you can proceed with the hiring and onboarding process.
Requesting a Social Security Number Accordion Closed
The student is responsible for requesting and obtaining a Social Security Number (SSN). If they don’t already have a Social Security Number, the student visits iNAU to fill out a Social Security Number Request form. To complete this form, the student will need some information from their employer and supervisor, including their supervisor’s email and a signature verifying that they have been offered a job. The student will submit this form to ISSS and the hiring supervisor will receive an email from ISSS requesting confirmation of the employment offer.
Finish onboarding Accordion Closed
After confirming the employment offer via email, the hiring supervisor can proceed with the onboarding process. In some cases students may be permitted to start working prior to receiving their social security number. Human Resources verifies employment and payments for non-resident alien employees and can support on-campus employers of international students through this process.
Contact International Student & Scholar Services (ISSS) with further questions about this topic. ISSS also provides additional details about F-1 Student Employment or J-1 Student Employment on their website.
Work schedules and breaks
How many hours per week can a student employee work? Accordion Closed
Student employees (both Student Wage and Work-Study positions) are held to the 29-hr Work Rule (meaning, they cannot work more than an average of 29 hours per week over the period of one year). In reality, this means that a student employee could conceivably work 23 hours per week for two 16 week semesters and then 40 hours per week over the 16 weeks of summer and still average 28.67 hours per week for that year.
NOTE: the Arizona State Retirement System 20/20 rule does not apply to student employees.
International (F-1 & J-1) students have federal regulations that limit them to working no more than 20 hours per week while school is in session (and allows up to 40 hours per week during breaks).
Research tells us that working 10-20 hours per week is the “sweet spot” for academic success for students. If the student is enrolled in a hard-science major, research suggests working not more than 10 hours per week is beneficial. If they are first-generation students then there is evidence to support a guideline of not working more than 15 hours per week. That said, every student is different and we encourage supervisors to work with their student employees individually so that they can create a mutually beneficial schedule and contact Human Resources directly for information about specific individuals’ limitations based on multiple jobs or hours worked to date.
What is the standard student employee shift length? Accordion Closed
Shift length is at the discretion of the employer. Most on-campus employers ask for a minimum of 2 hours per shift, but some employers may have a shorter shift length depending on the unit’s business needs. The typical shift length is 2-5 hours.
There may be times (though it should not be regularly scheduled in this way) that due to a special event or special schedule a student may choose to work more than 8 hours in a day so long as they follow appropriate break and meal guidelines (see below).
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not currently limit hours worked per day for Arizona.
How do employers create a work schedule that works around a student’s class schedule? Accordion Closed
Typically, on-campus employers collect availability from student employees and applicants each semester and then maps those availabilities to a schedule that meets their business operations. Applicants for on-campus jobs are encouraged to complete and submit a copy of the Student Application & Availability Form as a part of their application materials to share their anticipated availability with employers. We encourage on-campus employers to collect availability, instead of a class schedule, as students may have other responsibilities and/or commitments that would not show up on a class schedule.
Do student employees get meal periods? Accordion Closed
Student employees are authorized to take a 30-60 minute unpaid meal break for every six hours worked, typically and preferably after 4 hours of work or somewhere in the middle of their shift (i.e. not the last 30 minutes of their 6-hour shift, because then it’s really a 5.5-hour shift). For a meal period to be non-compensable, student employees must be relieved of work duties during the meal period, and whenever possible, be free to leave the worksite.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not mandate a lunch period (other than stating that mealtime is unpaid and an employee must be relieved of all duties during that time) for Arizona.
Can student employees take breaks? Accordion Closed
If appropriate for the type of work and schedule, student employees may have a compensable rest period of up to fifteen minutes. The rest period is intended to be a recess following an extended period of work and should be followed by another work period. Rest periods may not be used to cover late arrivals or early departures from the employee’s workstation or to extend a meal period. Rest periods are not cumulative and, if not taken, they are forfeited; they may not be combined to provide a thirty-minute rest period once a day, nor may they be accumulated for vacation or other time off. Rest periods must be taken at the worksite or other such areas as designated by the department head. Work time may not be used to travel to another area on campus to take the fifteen-minute rest period.
The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) does not mandate rest periods for Arizona.
What scheduling flexibility is expected from on-campus employers for academic obligations or finals week? Accordion Closed
Student employees are students first. On-campus employers often change their staffing schedule each finals week as their student staff typically have different availability due to final exams, projects, or presentations. Student employees and their supervisors are expected to communicate academic obligations, meetings, and scheduling conflicts well in advance. Student employees and their supervisors are expected to attempt to find shift coverage when applicable and provide appropriate accommodations that support student success while maintaining business operations.
How is summer eligibility or hours per week different? Accordion Closed
Student employees can work up to 40 hours during the summer.
Keep in mind that not all on-campus employers have that many hours to give during the summer. Students should speak with their supervisor or hiring manager to understand the scope and availability of their role during all semesters, including winter and summer breaks.
Some student positions across campus primarily serve other students during the academic year (i.e. Peer Mentors, Teaching Assistants) and thus may not have availability during the summer. Other positions serve a more administrative or operational function and have availability, or reduced availability, during the summer months (i.e. Desk Attendants, Technology Assistants). Still, other positions may only have summer availability (i.e. Summer Program Assistants, Conferencing Staff) and plenty of hours each week.
Some students do not work over the summer. It is not uncommon for students to go home for the summer and return to their position in the fall. Some students stay over the summer and find a different on-campus job for the summer.
Benefits and accommodations
What skills do student employees develop while working? Accordion Closed
On-campus employment provides students with an excellent opportunity to develop and identify transferable skills for their future. A transferable skill is one that is valuable across multiple career paths and include such topics as critical thinking; problem solving; oral/written communication; teamwork and collaboration; digital technology; leadership; professionalism and work ethic; and global/intercultural fluency. Students or employers can learn more about transferable skills on the National Association of Colleges and Employers website.
Can student employees do homework while working? Accordion Closed
Student employees may do homework at the discretion of their supervisor. Based on the nature of the work, some supervisors on campus may permit student employees to do homework, while other jobs may not allow it. Jobs with more ‘downtime’ to do homework are classified differently (typically at lower levels of responsibility) than jobs where students are too busy or engaged to do homework.
Do student employees get tax exemptions or unemployment? Accordion Closed
Student employees must be enrolled at least half-time* to get the FICA Tax exemption. If at any time students drop below the half-time requirement they automatically become subject to FICA taxes and the department is subject to the ERE portion of that as well. Student employees are not subject to nor eligible for unemployment, so if hired into a student position no unemployment is paid on behalf of the student (the Covid-19 pandemic guidelines are slightly different for unemployment options).
*Half-time enrollment is 6 credit hours or more for an undergraduate student, and 5 credit hours or more for a graduate student.
Do student employees get sick leave? Accordion Closed
Student employees are not subject to nor eligible for sick leave, however, this does not mean that student employees should or must go to work when sick. The Student Employment program encourages on-campus employers to preemptively communicate departmental procedures and expectations should a student employee become sick (i.e. who to call, getting shifts covered, etc.) so that all involved are able to remain healthy and continue business operations.
What assistance can be provided if a student employee is pregnant, nursing, or has a disability? Accordion Closed
Student employees who have disabilities or who are pregnant or nursing are protected from discrimination in employment.
Student employees who have requests for workplace accommodations due to a disability should be referred to Disability Resources for assistance. Supervisors should also contact Disability Resources with any questions or concerns.
Generally, time-off for pregnancy-related doctor appointments or illnesses are treated as would any other request for time-off due to illness. Student employees with pregnancy-related complications that constitute a disability under the law are entitled to reasonable accommodation.
Student employees who are nursing are entitled to reasonable breaks for that purpose and the use of a private space that is not a bathroom. They may use one of NAU’s lactation rooms which are reserved for that purpose or another suitable space (depending on the student’s preference). For access to lactation rooms, student employees or employers should contact Equity and Access.
Do students who work for Sodexo/Campus Dining receive free meals as part of their compensation? Accordion Closed
Yes, Sodexo student employees receive one free meal at the Hot Spot or DuB dining halls per day (even on days they aren’t working). Students are still required to purchase a meal plan during their freshman year. For questions, contact email@example.com.
Purpose of work and pay rates
What are the benefits of working on campus? Accordion Closed
Student employees at NAU are students first. Supportive supervisors build a work schedule around students’ class schedules, providing the flexibility to be academically successful.
Student employees at NAU gain experience and transferable skills that prepare them for their future careers. Performance Appraisals at NAU are focused on career readiness competencies and skills employers want when hiring new graduates.
Student employees at NAU have a network of peers and professionals who care about their success. Student employees receive mentoring and professional development from their co-workers, supervisors, and NAU Career Development.
Should students work during their first year? Accordion Closed
This depends on the student. When making a decision about employment, students should consider their course load and ability to adapt, multitask, and manage their time. On-campus employers hire every semester and are encouraged to hire first-year students!
What types of jobs are available on campus? Accordion Closed
NAU has more than 500 unique student employment positions on campus in eight role categories. Visit our Classification & Compensation page to view role category descriptions and examples of student jobs in each category.
What’s the difference between student interns and student employees? Accordion Closed
An internship is a form of experiential learning that integrates knowledge and theory learned in the classroom with practical application and skills development in a professional setting. Internships can be part-time or full-time and typically last 3-6 months. Internships can be paid or unpaid, for-credit, or not-for-credit. Either way, they should primarily be for the benefit of the student’s learning and should not take the place of another employee or only do work that a regular employee would routinely perform. Other internship criteria can be found on our internship FAQ page.
Student employment also provides opportunities for learning through experience and hands-on application of classroom concepts. However, the primary purpose of student employment is to meet the business needs of the employer. There is not typically a time frame for student employment; some students may choose to only work for one academic year while other students may be employed for all four years of their academic career.
Do student employees get paid for all work-related tasks? Accordion Closed
Student employees are to be paid for all hours worked, per the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Work hours include time during which an employee is required to be on the employer’s premises, on duty, or at a prescribed workplace, as well as any periods the employee is engaged in their principal activity, which may be longer than the employee’s scheduled shift hours or production line time.
What is the Employee Related Expenses (ERE) rate for student employees? Accordion Closed
Departments must pay a 3% ERE for student employees.
Can I give my student employee a pay increase? Accordion Closed
Pay increases should follow all guidelines below:
- Increases should follow the guidelines for levels and pay ranges.
- 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.
- Increases should factor in the student employee’s performance, with the requirement that students performing at or above expected proficiency levels for their role could be eligible for an increase if department budgets allow.
- Increase structure should be equitable within departments, based on meeting or exceeding expected proficiency levels or a job change that places someone at a new level.
- 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 Work-Study? Accordion Closed
Federal Work-Study, commonly referred to as “work-study” or “FWS”, is a federally-funded program that provides a need-based financial aid award to select students that can be used by authorized employers subsidize that student’s job. Students who are eligible for work-study must accept their award and find a job with an authorized employer. FWS student employees receive a regular paycheck, just like any other employee, that can be used for whatever they need. To learn more about the FWS program, check out the FWS page on the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website.
How do I know if I am eligible for Federal Work-Study? Accordion Closed
When should Federal Work-Study eligible students apply for jobs? Accordion Closed
Right now! FWS-eligible students have been designated as ‘eligible’ in Handshake and are encouraged to apply for all on-campus student employment jobs in Handshake.
Still have a question about Student Employment? Contact StudentEmployment@nau.edu.