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10.1.1 Undergraduate Student Employment

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This Guide Memo outlines policies and procedures for employment of Stanford undergraduate students on campus. For employment of graduate students in research and teaching assistantships, see Guide Memo 10.2.1. For employment of graduate students in hourly positions, see Guide Memo 10.2.2


This Guide Memo was approved by the Vice Provost for Student Affairs.

1. Definitions and Distinctions

a. Student Hourly Employment
Stanford University uses student hourly employment to hire Stanford students for jobs that are specifically earmarked for matriculated students. All Stanford University student employment is hourly, with the exception of assistantships, which are limited to graduate students (see Guide Memo 10.2.1). Student workers are supervised in their work, are hired through the PeopleSoft HR system, and must record and approve their work hours. Compensation for all undergraduate student jobs must be established on an hourly basis, and the amount of pay is based on the actual number of hours worked in each pay period. These job assignments are incidental to the student’s course of study with reasonable limitations placed during the academic quarter on the nature of the work assignment and the number of hours of employment. Students cannot volunteer for positions that are normally paid positions.

b. Stipend
A token payment to recognize a student for a one-time event or support for a project such as an undergraduate research project. Stipends are not used as compensation for employment. All undergraduate stipend payments are processed by the Financial Aid Office.

c. Student Residence Roles
Each residence on campus has a core group of students that charges itself with managing the various programmatic components of life in the residences. A nominal stipend to defray living expenses is offered in conjunction with many of these roles (

d. Contingent (Casual or Temporary) Employment is used to hire an individual for a part-time or temporary staff position. Contingent employment must be used for hourly employment assignments for non-matriculated students or matriculated students when on a Leave of Absence. Contingent employment is not normally used for enrolled, matriculated Stanford students but must be used for any student working more than 36 hours per week.

e. Federal Work-Study (FWS)
Stanford University participates in the FWS program as defined in Title IV of the Higher Education Act. Under this program funds are allocated to Stanford to allow students with qualifying financial need to gain valuable work experience while earning money to help pay for college. The program is administered by the Financial Aid Office in coordination with the hiring departments. Under the FWS program, federal funds are used to pay 75% of student wages, and the Provost pays the remaining 25%. A subset of the FWS program, Community Service Work-Study, allows qualifying students to work off campus at nonprofits who take responsibility for 10% of student wages (more information).

f. Off-Campus Internships and Off-Campus Employment are not covered by this policy, with the exception of federal Community Service Work-Study positions managed by the Haas Center for Public Service. In both cases, students are encouraged to be mindful that their primary obligation is to their academic program.  International students must also adhere to visa requirements.

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2. Listing Student Jobs

a. Job Listing Services
Stanford departments wishing to hire undergraduate students as part-time workers are strongly encouraged to use the Handshake system administered by BEAM, Stanford Career Education to list their job openings. Departments should log onto to post a job and reach a large cross section of students.

b. Hours Per Week
Students are encouraged to limit their hours of work so that they may devote sufficient attention to their studies. Therefore, the jobs listed for undergraduates during any enrollment period should not typically require more than 15 hours per week of work. During break periods between quarters, undergraduates may be employed full time. Thanksgiving recess is not a break between quarters.

c. International students on F-1 or J-1 visas are subject to both University policies on employment and visa requirements that limit employment; in all cases, the more restrictive limitation will apply.

d. Students on Financial Aid
Nearly half of Stanford’s undergraduate population receives need-based aid and most are expected to contribute toward their costs through employment. The standard expectation can be met by working eight to ten hours per week. Not all students receiving aid will qualify for Federal Work-Study; when possible, department funded jobs should be made available for students on aid.

e. Non-Discrimination
Non-discrimination policies applicable to regular staff, as stated in Guide Memo 2.1.2, section 2.a, and also apply to student employees.

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3. Schedule of Job Categories

The following schedule is is designed to promote consistency in student pay. Starting wages in these categories are based on the requirements of the job and the applicable experience of the student. Range within levels is available to allow employers' flexibility in setting student wage rates as job requirements and student performance vary widely. The suggested wage scale is updated annually at

a. Level I
The work at this level requires that employees perform tasks characterized by a prescribed standard. Duties typically are repetitive and workers follow simple instructions that require little interpretation or skill. The supervisor determines work priorities and reviews work for accuracy. Typical kinds of work at this level include:

  • Office work requiring minimum skills, such as file clerk, messenger, or receptionist
  • Light manual labor such as animal caretaker, driver, or tour guide
  • Rudimentary laboratory work such as glassware washer
  • Food service work in the residences
  • Library work such as shelving, checking in materials, completing forms, photocopying, or preparing materials for binding

b. Level II
At this level, employees have independent responsibility for the accurate completion of a variety of tasks requiring judgment and interpretation in applying procedures correctly. The supervisor generally reviews the work for correct final results. Typical kinds of work at this level include:

  • Office work requiring basic accounting, or knowledge of office machines
  • Strenuous labor such as gardener or storekeeper
  • Technical work requiring specialized skills such as photographer, or projectionist
  • Laboratory work requiring a moderate level of scientific knowledge
  • Library work such as answering information questions, basic use of claims and invoices, or nonroutine clerical duties

c. Level III
At this level, employees have substantial responsibility for determining work procedures and methods of work and for coordinating phases of work with others. Originality, analysis, and judgment are required to carry out work. The supervisor reviews work when guidance is required. Typical kinds of work include:

  • Computer programmer
  • Administrative assistant
  • Musician, or artist
  • Job recruiter
  • Library work that requires extensive use of foreign languages, having responsibility for a branch library or similar unit for long periods of time without supervision, or very specialized bibliographic searching including in-depth use of RLIN

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4. Hiring, Paying, and Supervising Students

a. Hiring
The supervisor notifies the human resources administrator to make the appropriate system entry. Students should be hired into the appropriate Job Classification Code (JCC). The student must be hired into PeopleSoft HR before beginning work. Students who are hired during summer quarter, but who are not enrolled, must be hired as Student Hourly Employees using the appropriate Summer Student JCC. This step is required even if the student is continuing a work assignment that started during the academic year.  Procedures for hiring FWS students can be found at

Students who receive a university award that includes funding to hire undergraduate students to complete hourly work (e.g., coding, transcription, or other effort associated with academic projects) are subject to these policies. In such cases, the department should manage the funding and hire the student hourly employee.

b. Payment
Departments pay student workers from their own sources of funding, except for students who qualify for FWS. Hourly student workers must record actual hours worked in Axess Timecard each pay period. Each month has two pay periods: The first day of the month through the 15th and the 16th through the last day of the month. Paychecks are issued on the workday that falls on or immediately prior to the seventh calendar day after the end of each pay period.

c. Supervision
One person should be named as the student's immediate supervisor and should be directly accountable for overseeing the student's work and ensuring approval of hours worked in Axess.

d. Work Schedules
A student is expected to work the agreed hours, be punctual and satisfy all reasonable requirements of the employer with regard to performance and behavior. Most on-campus employers build in some flexibility in hours given students' exam schedules, but that is not always possible and students are expected to carry through if they have agreed to be at work.

e. Sick Time
Sick time provides a mechanism to pay student hourly employees when they are unable to perform their work responsibilities due to illness or for other related reasons. All Stanford student hourly employees receive sick time benefits. Arrangements for any variations in work hours, including time off for illness or related uses of sick time, should be made individually with the student hourly employee’s supervisor. To the extent possible, student hourly employees are encouraged to make arrangements outside of their working hours and supervisors are encouraged to offer flexibility in work hours. For information about the accrual and use of sick time for student hourly employees, see Administrative Guide Memo 10.3.1.

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