Employer Guide to Student Employment

These guidelines, policies, and procedures have been developed to address the needs of student workers and their supervisors.

  • Why does the University hire student employees?

    Student employment is intended to be a learning experience that complements a student’s academic and career goals and provides valuable work experience. A student employee is a part-time hourly employee who is enrolled at the University of Nevada, Reno for the primary purpose of achieving a degree. As such, the employment is temporary and is incidental to the pursuit of an academic program.  By working part-time, students are able to earn money to help pay their college costs. Additionally, student employment provides workers to help meet the staffing needs of the University.

    • For students new to the University, working on campus helps develop a sense of community and belonging. Students who feel they are a part of their university tend to do better scholastically.
    • Students with little or no employment history may establish a work record and learn the fundamental skills of employment such as punctuality, communication, cooperation, and time management.
    • Students prepare for the world of work through processes of interviewing, hiring, training, supervision, relating to coworkers and the public, meeting expectations, and achieving goals.
    • Students have opportunities to sample several career choices through varied work experiences.
    • Students with defined career objectives gain related experience that enriches their educational program. Students with otherwise limited exposure and opportunity for networking may also make valuable contacts with professionals in their chosen fields.

    A regular campus student employment position is a temporary, hourly, part-time job that is funded 100% by colleges and departments. This position type has flexible work hours designed to accommodate the student’s class schedule and other academic responsibilities. The duties, responsibilities, and wage range is determined by the employer. The student hired for any student position must remain enrolled as a student to qualify.

  • How do I recruit for a student employee?

    A department must have operational budget available to pay the hourly wage of a student. Once the funding is established, the Student Classification and Compensation Schedule is used to determine the level of skill needed and appropriate pay rate. Student employment positions are typically posted in Workday, unless a specific student has already been identified to fill the position. Workday is used to advertise part-time positions on campus. If the intent of the department is for a student to work full-time during the academic year (excluding summer and winter breaks) or in the capacity of a classified staff position, the position will need to be filled through a Classified recruitment in Workday. Information about how to post student openings in Workday can be found in the Knowledge Base.

  • What are the pay ranges for student employees?

    The student classification and compensation system is designed to establish consistent hiring and pay practices for all student employees throughout the University. The student classification and compensation schedule listed below can also be found in the Knowledge Base. The student classification and compensation schedule is based on the current State of Nevada minimum wage and increases accordingly with the job duties, responsibilities, and qualifications of the wage range. Student salaries must be at a wage no less than the minimum required by law and may not exceed the maximum wage for a student worker. Student employees hired above the maximum wage for a student worker will need a justification memo from the department and approval from the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources.

    The level and salary chosen for a student employment position should be based on job responsibilities, supervision needed, and level of expertise required for the job. For example, many positions on campus are clerical in nature and require basic office skills. Such positions would fall under the Student Worker I classification. Positions requiring additional experience, knowledge, or skills would be assigned to higher classifications. The examples listed in each job classification may serve as a guide. For assistance with determining the appropriate level and pay for a student employment position departments, contact the Human Resource department at 784-6082.

    *Associated Students of the University of Nevada (ASUN) have a separate pay schedule that is sanctioned in the ASUN constitution and Fiscal Board Bylaws and approved by the Board of Regents.

    Student Worker I

    Wage Range: $8.25-$15.00

    Duties at this level vary from routine and are simple in nature to slightly complex, requiring some basic decision making. The employee will receive training or be given general instructions on how to perform assigned duties of the position. Duties will be performed under supervision to ensure completeness and accuracy of tasks performed.

    Examples of duties: filing, answering phones, shelving books, copying, washing laboratory glassware, stocking shelves, and other manual tasks involving light physical effort. Basic computer skills, reviewing documents for completeness, data entry, cashiering, posting, simple hardware/software maintenance under supervision, library research requiring students to summarize materials, and situations requiring similar judgment. Positions requiring manual skills and arduous physical work are included in this classification.

    Student Worker II

    Wage Range: $10.25-$18.00

    Duties at this level fall into three areas or a combination of these areas:

    1. Duties are somewhat to moderately complex, are varied and involve a degree of responsibility and judgment.
    2. Duties are specialized or technical requiring exceptional and diversified skills.
    3. Duties include training lower level student worker positions and acting as a lead supervisor over other student workers.

    Employee must take initiative regularly and must be able to provide information regarding unit procedures, rules, and regulations. Employee is given general instruction and will be expected to prioritize work, use initiative, and make decisions regarding work assignments. Employee must possess specific knowledge and skills to perform duties without detailed supervision.

    Examples of duties: desktop publishing, routine hardware/software maintenance, editorial assistance, laboratory work involving research and testing, research work involving collection and interpretation of data, higher level administrative tasks, supervision, training, or overseeing a function or service area.

    Student Worker III

    Wage Range: $12.25-$25.00

    Duties are specialized or technical requiring exceptional and diversified skills. Assignments involve: Analysis, independent judgment and knowledge of the principles, practices, and concepts of a professional field (e.g. accounting, management information systems, computer science, biology, etc.), advanced customer service or employee supervision.

    Examples of duties: report compilation, highly technical programming, grant writing, database development, web development, highly technical laboratory or research work. Positions in this category normally involve work that is closely related to the student’s academic program.

  • What is the hiring process for student employees?

    Once a department has advertised a new student employment position in Workday and has compiled a sufficient applicant pool, the department should develop a selection process that follows the guidelines for equal opportunity and affirmative action. For the interview/selection process employers should consider the following:

    • Review the job description to identify essential elements for successful performance of the job.
    • Request a resume to identify prior work experience and skills and help students develop skills for future job searches.
    • Describe the position and your expectations to the student. Encourage questions about the job requirements from the students. Evaluate the student in relation to the job tasks and duties and his/her experience, knowledge, skills, and abilities. Try to predict the student’s performance and ability to be successful from the information obtained through the interview, the application, and the resume.
    • Discuss the hourly rate you feel is appropriate to the student’s skills, abilities and prior work experience, the estimated number of work hours per week, and the days/hours proposed as the work schedule.
    • A student allocated Work-Study funding must provide the employer with a copy of the award letter from Financial Aid.
    • It may be helpful to make notes regarding your evaluation of the student’s job related qualifications to refer to when selecting the final successful applicant.

    The University of Nevada, Reno is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, age, creed, national origin, veteran status, physical or mental disability, and in accordance with university policy, sexual orientation, in any program or activity it operates. The Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action office is responsible for investigating complaints and for receiving grievances from students, faculty and staff in matters dealing with discrimination. If you have questions, contact the Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Office at 784-1547.

  • What are the eligibility requirements for student employment?

    An eligible student, for this purpose, is defined as an individual who is enrolled as an undergraduate student, graduate student or graduate special during the fall or spring terms in any academic year. Departments will verify that a student is enrolled by requesting a copy of their course schedule at the beginning of each term. The course schedule is important so that hours can be scheduled that do not conflict with class times. Only enrolled UNR students are eligible for student employment. Students at other NSHE institutions are not eligible. A student may work during the summer term if they are enrolled at the University during the summer terms or are enrolled for the fall semester. Students who graduate or terminate their academic program are no longer eligible for student employment beyond the calendar month of such action. A graduate may enroll as a graduate special or pursue a graduate degree to regain eligibility.

    Summer Employment

    Students may work in the summer if they meet one of the following enrollment requirements: must be enrolled in at least 1 credit OR enrolled for the fall semester.

    Additionally, to be eligible for student employment, the student must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident eligible to work in the United States except as specified below for International students.

    Students employed at 50% FTE in a Graduate Assistantship must obtain an Approved Overload Request form, from the Graduate School. This approved form must be submitted to the Student Employment office before the student can begin work in a student position.

    Students who graduate or terminate their academic program are no longer eligible for student employment beyond the calendar month of such action. If a student was eligible to work during the spring semester of the fiscal year the department may have that student continue employment until the end of that fiscal year (June 30). A graduate may enroll in the minimum credits as a graduate special or pursue a graduate degree to regain eligibility.

    HR will verify that all students that are hired are enrolled. If the ineligible student was allowed to start work, hours worked must be paid by the department to the employee as a temporary hourly employee. For this reason, the supervisor should confirm the student to be hired is enrolled by requesting a copy of the student class schedule which is also used for scheduling purposes.

    ***Student eligibility to work is a separate issue from FICA Exempt status. Individuals who do not meet all eligibility requirements may not be hired under the “student” category. The University has categories for temporary hourly employment. Contact Human Resource for more information.

    International Student Employment Eligibility

    International students with an I-20 (F-1) issued by the University are permitted to work as student employees. Documentation issued by any other NSHE institution is not acceptable for work purposes under U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations. International students must be enrolled full-time, 12 undergraduate credits or 9 graduate credits (unless they meet the exceptions listed below) in order to be eligible for student employment.

    J-1 students in the International Undergraduate Research Program (IURP) taking 3 credits in the fall, 3 credits in the spring and 1 credit in the summer are considered to be enrolled full-time in compliance with the exchange agreement.

    Graduate international students with graduate assistantships (full/part-time) are considered full-time students if they take 6 or more credits during the fall/spring term.

    An international student on J-1 Exchange Visitor (DS-2019) visa must obtain permission to work on-campus from a responsible officer of the exchange visitor program sponsoring the student. Additionally, the student must visit with the tax specialist in the University Controller’s Office regarding the tax status related to their employment. For more information contact the Office of International Students and Scholars at 784-6874.

    International students on their last semester are not eligible to work after the last day of finals without current work authorization (8 CFR 214.2(9)(i)). The work authorization may be post-completion Optional Practical Training related to their program of study or any other type of work visa. They may receive their paycheck after the last day of finals but their last day of eligible payment will be the last day of finals.

    For more information contact the Office of International Student and Scholars at (775) 784-6874 or the OISS Website.

  • What is the hiring process for student employees?

    Students must be hired in Workday a minimum of one week before the student is expected to begin employment. The approvals on the hiring process must be completed before a student can be paid.

    For students previously employed at the University, a new I-9 is not required unless the student was terminated more than one year in the past.  

    If the student is ineligible for the student employment category and hours were reported, those hours must be paid by the department as a temporary hourly employee.

    When a student clocks time in Workday, they typically select the time type of Student Hours Worked.  If a student is eligible for work study, their primary job will display a time type for work study and they should select that option each time they clock in for work.

    All newly hired student employees will receive Onboarding documents in Workday and must acknowledge receipt of the Federal, State and NSHE mandated information for employment

    Background and personal reference checks may be requested by the hiring department. It is the hiring department’s responsibility to initiate the background and/or personal reference checks. The hiring department should note on the job posting that a background check and/or personal references will be required of the selected applicant.

    NRS 281.210 prohibits the appointment of closely related individuals to positions in which one employee is in the line of supervision over the other employee. This regulation also applies to current employees who are appointed to different positions through promotion, transfer, voluntary demotion or any other type of appointment, and individuals who become related to each other, such as through marriage. Immediate supervisor or direct line of authority applies to these relative types: spouse, child or spouse of a child, parent, sibling, grandparent, first cousin, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, and grandchild. Employees, who become related after they have been appointed to their positions, shall within ten working days of becoming related:

    • Notify the appointing authority of the relationship; and
    • Submit to the appointing authority a recommendation for action to be taken by the appointing authority to ensure that the employees do not continue to hold positions in which one of the employees is the immediate supervisor of the other employee.
  • What should I know about tracking time and pay for student employees?

    One of the most important responsibilities of an employer is to ensure that student payroll information is submitted and approved by the supervisor as accurate. Departments must inform all students and supervisors within their areas of responsibility regarding payroll deadlines and procedures.  A current Payroll Cutoff Schedule is available from the question mark worklet on the Workday homepage by searching on “Payroll”.

    Payroll periods are from the 1st through the 15th (payday on the 25th) and the 16th through the last day of each month (payday on the 10th).

    Student employees are paid on the 10th and the 25th of each month. If the 10th or the 25th falls on a weekend or holiday, payroll checks will be ready the Friday before the weekend, or the last working day before the holiday. If direct deposit is not selected, the first payroll check can be picked up in person at the Cashier’s office, 3rd floor, Fitzgerald Student Services Building. Students may request direct deposit during Onboarding in Workday or at any time using Maintain Payment Elections.  If a student does not select direct deposit, they will be issued a pay card which is mailed to the address in Workday.  After the first check, pay will be deposited to the pay card.  Wages paid to student employees are subject to federal tax and must be reported. Each student employee receives a Wage and Tax Statement, Form W-2, at the end of each tax year. If the form has not been received by January 31, the student should contact the Payroll office at 784-6653.

    Federal regulations require that the actual hours and days worked by students be documented and signed by the supervisor and the student.  For this reason, the University requires that student time be clocked in Workday, submitted and approved by their supervisor. Internal auditors may verify Workday records of hours and days worked with student class schedules. Students MUST not work during times that they are scheduled to be in class. If a class is cancelled and the student works that hour, it should be noted in the comments during the clocking process by the student.

    Students must clock in and out in Workday, including time for meal breaks.  Students must also submit their time for approval by their supervisor by the end of each pay period (15th and last day of month).  Supervisors must approve that time within one day of the end of the pay period.  

    Retroactive pay can be logged by the Timekeeper for two prior pay periods.  Contact payroll for retroactive pay for longer time periods in the past.

    For questions regarding time tracking in Workday, contact Human Resources or check the Knowledge Base for your question.

  • What is FICA Alt and who is required to contribute?

    FICA Alternative Retirement Plan (FICA Alt) is in place of social security (6.2%) and Medicare (1.45%) are taxes on employee wages. Both the employee and the employer make a matching contribution. During Fall/Spring semesters, a student employee is FICA exempt if he/she:

    • Is enrolled in 6 credit hours as an undergraduate student (or one credit for final semester before graduation).
    • Is enrolled in 3 or more credits as a graduate or graduate special student (or one credit for final semester before graduation).
    • Has international student status

    During the summer, a student employee is FICA exempt, if he/she:

    • Is enrolled in a minimum of one credit during the first or second summer term(s). Mini-term enrollment is not considered for the FICA exemption.
    • Has international student status.

    A student employed concurrently in more than one student employment, casual labor, classified, or professional appointment is not exempt from FICA Alt. A student with multiple student employment positions (including Graduate Assistantships) is responsible for, along with their employers, coordinating the total hours to remain within limitations. A student with casual labor, classified and professional employment is subject to FICA Alt.

  • What are work study eligibility requirements and tracking?

    The Federal Work-Study Program is a “need-based” financial aid program designed to assist students in earning money to meet their college expenses. To receive federal or institutional Work-Study, a student must have filed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) application and have been awarded a Work-Study allocation of funds in their financial aid package. Each eligible student is awarded an amount of funds per semester that will determine the maximum number of hours per week that may be worked under Work-Study funding. This amount should not exceed the maximum hours a student worker may work during the semester. Students on Work-Study funding must also meet and maintain the minimum eligibility requirements for a student position. For on-campus positions, the federal funds pay 75% of the student’s wage and the employer will pay the other 25% of the wage and the workers’ compensation of 1.5%.

    Work Study Programs

    Currently, off-campus work study is not offered at the University of Nevada, Reno.  In order to use Work-Study funds; students must work on-campus.

    Students eligible for the Federal Work-Study Program may participate in positions designed to improve the quality of life in our community. In addition to activities that benefit residents of the immediate Reno area, community service opportunities include youth services and literacy programs.

    Through provisions in the Federal Work-Study Program, there are opportunities to teach reading and mathematics to area elementary school children and/or to work with family literacy programs. Students interested in education, social work and family development should contact the Student Financial Aid and Scholarship Office at (775) 784-4666 for more information.

    Work Study Allocation

    Through the annual financial aid application and award process, the Student Financial Aid & Scholarship office determines a student’s “financial need” and Federal or Institutional Work-Study dollars can be offered. Federal regulations do not permit Work-Study earnings to exceed his/her allocated amount of dollars per semester. The Work-Study allotment balance is monitored through Workday.

    Hours submitted that exceed the remaining balance of the Work-Study allotment are automatically charged at 100% to the employer’s account.

    Work-Study awards can only be earned between the dates identified on the Work-Study Placement Letter provided by the student at the time of hire. Typically the award is for an academic year. Therefore, the period of employment using Work-Study wages are between August 16 and May 15 annually.

    Once the student earns all of the semester Work-Study allocation, 100% of subsequent wages will be paid from the department funding source(s) if the department wishes to continue employment for this student.  The fall and spring semester portions of the award can only be earned during that semester. Currently, summer Work-Study is not awarded at the University of Nevada, Reno.

    To place a Work-Study student on student employment, the awarded student may select the appropriate time type when clocking in through Workday. Once 100% of the Work-Study funding has been used for the semester, the hours will automatically be charged to the department account.

    A student’s Work-Study allocation may increase or decrease due to changes in the student’s financial need, satisfactory academic progress, enrollment status, student budget, or the addition of other resources or assistance. When a revision occurs, the student is notified of the change. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the employer to ensure that adjustments are made to the student’s work hours if needed.

    Any increase in hourly wage and retroactive pay increases also affect the student’s balance of earnings.

    If a student is awarded Work-Study by the Financial Aid & Scholarships office, the student’s profile will automatically be updated with the Work-Study award, and the student should see the appropriate time type when clocking in.  If no Work-Study allocation is shown in the student record the student will be unable to select a Work-Study time type and will select “Student Hours Worked” as the time type when clocking in through Workday.  If a Work-Study award is canceled by the Financial Aid & Scholarships office, the student and department will be notified of this change and it is up to the department and/or student to follow up with financial aid for the reason the Work-Study allocation was dropped from the financial aid package.  Work Study awards are available to the primary job only.

    Should a student’s eligibility for Work-Study funding change due to unsatisfactory academic progress, enrollment or other situations, Student Financial Aid and Scholarships will notify the student and department. The cancellation of the award will automatically remove any Work-Study time types from the clocking in process within Workday.

  • What are the employment rules to be followed by students and their employers?

    Breaks and Meals

    Breaks: A student working a consecutive 4-hour work period is entitled to one 15-minute rest period with pay. For a consecutive work period that exceeds 6-hours a student worker is entitled to two 15-minute rest periods with pay. In general, rest periods should occur near the middle of the shift for a 4 to 6 hour shift. For shifts of more than 6 hours rest periods should be taken in the first and last third of the shift. Rest periods may not be taken at the beginning or end of the work period and are not cumulative.

    Meals: In general, an unpaid meal period of 1/2 hour to 1 hour is required when a student employee is scheduled to work more than 6 hours. Under circumstances driven by operational needs, a student may waive the meal period, particularly when the need to work additional hours arises at the end of a scheduled shift. If a student works more than six hours and does not take a meal period, the reason for not taking a meal period must be documented in the comments when the student clocks out.  Disciplinary action may occur.

    Performance Evaluation and Pay Raises

    It is important that the supervisor identify job responsibilities and expected performance standards for the student employee. Periodic performance appraisals, both formal and informal, should be conducted. Human Resources suggest that student employees be formally evaluated each semester or no less than once a year. Evaluations are valuable tools in assessing the student’s progress, providing positive reinforcement; discussing areas of improvement, and for establishing goals for the individual and the department. A sample evaluation form is available in the Knowledge Base.   However, employers may develop their own evaluation system provided it is consistently used for all students. A signed copy of the evaluation form used should be provided to the student and the original document should be placed in the student’s departmental personnel file.

    The employer determines timing and manner in which raises are made within the job classification schedule. Student employees should be evaluated on a regular basis, typically once a semester. If the evaluation is satisfactory, a merit increase within the classification wage range might be appropriate using Request Compensation Change in Workday.

    For wages from $8.25 - $10.00 an increase of not more than $2.00 may be granted without Human Resources approval. For wages above $10.00, an increase of more than 10% will require approval from the Assistant Vice President of Human Resources. A 10% increase is only allowed once per academic year.


    Every student employee is covered during his/her working hours by Worker’s Compensation insurance for work related injury/illness. The coverage provides an incapacitated student employee the means of support and medical care when unable to work because of a job-related disability. An employee must immediately report any job- related accident or illness to his/her supervisor. The supervisor is responsible for completing the appropriate forms for the Workers’ Compensation office. Student employees are not eligible to receive other employment benefits such as shift differential pay, paid holidays, paid vacation leave, paid sick leave, retirement benefits, or permanent status.

    Worker’s Compensation Insurance is an employer paid tax to provide income continuation in the event of an on-the-job injury. Each department is responsible for paying the Workers’ Compensation as part of the fringe rate for all students employed by the department. If you have questions or need to report an injury, contact Workers’ Compensation; phone 784-4394 for procedures, forms and information.


    Student employment positions are temporary, part-time positions that offer students an opportunity for work experience while pursuing a course of study. Hours worked are flexible and variable. Due to the nature and purpose of these positions, overtime should not be incurred. However, in unusual situations (i.e. during summer employment or special events) a student may work overtime. For hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, overtime must be paid at one and one-half times the normal hourly rate. All overtime for students must have prior authorization from the supervisor. For more information visit the U.S. Department of Labor website.

    Employee/Employer Conflicts

    Both the employer and the employee share the responsibility of addressing problems that may occur during the course of the student’s employment. There should be realistic expectations of both the supervisor and the employee. The following guidelines have been successful in dealing with employee/employer conflicts:

    • Address problems as they arise, not after they accumulate. Deal with minor concerns before they become major problems.
    • Review job responsibilities, duties, and expectations. Make sure they are clear to both the supervisor and the student.
    • Avoid personalizing critical comments. Discussions regarding performance should be conducted in private.

    If assistance in resolving conflicts is required, employers and/or employees may contact the Human Resource office at (775)784-6082 or the Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action office (775)784-1547.


    Student employment can be terminated at any time at the discretion of the employer and/or the employee. It is advisable that the supervisor keep notes regarding the student employee’s performance that may have led to the termination.

    A student may terminate himself or herself at any time. Reasonable notice for the employment separation should be communicated in Workday (using the Resignation function) or submitted to the employer in writing by the student.

Interested in hiring students and interns?

On-Campus Employers

To find a student for your position, you will need to post a student position in Workday.  If you have already identified a student for a position, you will not need to post a position.

Off-Campus Employers

We encourage our community business partners to post jobs on our online Handshake Job Board and to attend our Career Expos.  The University also offers the Pack Internship Grant Program for employers who need assistance paying their interns.