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10.2.2 Graduate Student Hourly Employment

Students Conversing
Last updated on:
10/12/2020

This Guide Memo outlines policies and procedures for employment of matriculated Stanford graduate students in positions other than assistantships. For employment of graduate students in research and teaching assistantships, see Guide Memo 10.2.1. For employment of matriculated undergraduate students, see Guide Memo 10.1.1.

Authority: 

Approved by the Vice Provost for Graduate Education.

Applicability: 

Applies to the employment of matriculated graduate students in positions other than assistantships. This policy does not apply to non-matriculated graduate students (e.g., Visiting Student Researchers).

1. Definitions and Distinctions

a. Student hourly employment. Stanford University uses student hourly employment to hire Stanford students into jobs that are specifically earmarked for matriculated students. Student workers are supervised in their work, are hired through the PeopleSoft HR system, and must record and approve their work hours. Compensation is 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.

All Stanford University student employment is hourly, with the exception of assistantships, which are limited to graduate students (see Admin Guide 10.2.1). Hourly employment should never be used to pay a graduate student for work that is appropriately treated as an assistantship.

b. Graduate student. This policy applies to students who are enrolled in a graduate degree program (any degree except the BA, BS, or BAS). For purposes of student employment, students enrolled in both undergraduate and graduate degree programs as coterminal students are considered undergraduate students while assessed undergraduate tuition and graduate students while assessed graduate tuition.

c. The Graduate Financial Support (GFS) system is the online application used to enter all research and teaching assistantship appointments, fellowships, and other stipend payments for graduate students and postdoctoral scholars. It is not used to process hourly employment.

d. Job Classification Codes (JCC) are used to categorize all jobs at Stanford. Students should be hired into the appropriate student JCC for the job for which they are employed. Use of the appropriate JCC ensures that the correct expenditure type and fringe benefit rate are applied as wages are paid.

Distinctions from Hourly Employment:

  • Graduate Student Assistantships are a form of student employment, earning a compensation package including both salary and tuition allowance (TAL) for the performance of research or teaching services to the University as part of the student's academic and professional training and development, see Guide Memo 10.2.1. Hourly employment is not a substitute for an assistantship appointment.
  • Honorarium is a stipend payment to recognize a student for an accomplishment or a one-time event or project, such as a recruitment weekend. Honoraria are not used as compensation for employment. Graduate student honorarium payments are processed as stipends in the GFS system.
  • Student Residence Roles are held by a core group of students that are responsible for managing the various programmatic components of life in their on campus residence. A nominal stipend to defray living expenses is offered in conjunction with many of these roles. These payments are processed as stipends in the GFS system.  International students should consult with Bechtel International Center about the impact of this effort on restrictions related to on-campus employment.
  • Off-Campus Internships and Off-Campus Employment are not covered by this policy. 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 and should consult with Bechtel International Center before engaging in any off-campus employment or unpaid opportunity.
  • 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, such as Visiting Student Researchers, and for 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.

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2. Limits on Hours of Employment

Graduate students are expected to limit their hours of employment, so that they may devote sufficient attention to their studies. Therefore, graduate students are expected to coordinate the number of hours of employment with their academic obligations, including course load, number of registered units, and the academic expectations of their program. Additionally, they are expected to coordinate hourly employment with the other forms of financial support that they are receiving. Academic departments/programs, offices employing students, and funding sources may also impose employment limitations.

Limits on hourly employment and related enrollment limitations for graduate students are summarized in Table 1.

a. Limit on Hours
There are formal limits on the number of hours a student may be employed when also financially supported by assistantships or fellowships.

During Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters, enrolled graduate students are limited to 28 hours of student employment, combining hourly employment and assistantship appointments. (International students are subject to additional limitations, see below.) For example, graduate students appointed to 50% (20 hours/week) assistantships may not be employed more than an additional eight hours a week; those additional hours cannot be in other assistantship positions. Graduate students with full fellowship funding are limited to additional employment of 8 hours/week hourly employment or a 25% assistantship, but not both. The source of the fellowship or the student’s academic department/program may impose stricter limits.

During Summer quarter, enrolled graduate students are limited to 36 hours of student employment, combining hourly employment and assistantship appointments. (International students may be subject to additional limitations, see below.) For example, students on 50% time (20 hours/week) assistantships may not be employed more than an additional 16 hours a week; those additional hours can combine either assistantships or hourly employment. In summer, students who are employed more than 8 hours with a 50% assistantship are expected to reduce the number of units of enrollment commensurate with a larger percentage appointment. (This is shown in the TAL table for Summer Quarter.) Graduate students with full fellowship funding are limited to additional employment of 16 hours/week hourly employment or a 50% assistantship, but not both. The source of the fellowship or the student’s academic department/program may impose stricter limits.

During break periods between quarters—the period between the last day of final examinations and the first day of classes the subsequent quarter—graduate students may be employed full time. Thanksgiving recess is not a break between quarters.

b. Additional Limits on Hours for International Students on F-1 or J-1 Visas

During break periods when school is officially not in session, the University does not limit the number of hours graduate students may be employed. For on campus employment, University guidelines on overtime pay apply. Note that graduate student research and teaching assistantships are made for a full quarter and hours associated with assistantships include these break periods. Policy related to assistantships is located in Administrative Guide 10.2.1: Graduate Student Assistantships.

International students must contact Bechtel International Center for information about off-campus employment authorization  (see Bechtel International Center’s website under “Employment”).

Thanksgiving Break:

Restrictions on student work hours do not apply during Thanksgiving recess, beginning the day after classes end (as detailed on the official university academic calendar) and continuing through the day before classes resume.

Between Quarter Breaks:

Restrictions on student work hours do not apply beginning the day after the University final exam period ends (as detailed on the official university academic calendar) and continuing through the day before classes begin the following quarter.

For example: students’ employment hours are not limited between the Saturday after Autumn quarter final exams, through the Sunday before Winter classes begin.

Summer Quarter:

Summer quarter employment rules vary dependent upon student enrollment and visa status. Refer to the information and chart below for additional information. 

Individual university holidays, e.g., President’s Day and Memorial Day, do not constitute a break.

Although university policy does not restrict employment hours during these break periods, individual academic programs may define more restrictive policies. Students must check with their academic program for any restrictions.

c. Additional Limits on Hours for International Students with other Visas

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

International students are eligible for on-campus employment if they are maintaining F-1 or J-1 status (J-1 students must obtain work authorization from Bechtel International Center for both on-campus and off-campus employment). During the academic year (Autumn, Winter and Spring quarters), enrolled students on F-1or J-1 visas are limited to a total of 20 hours of employment per week (except during break periods), including both hourly jobs and assistantship appointment(s), and including any off-campus employment that they may have been authorized to perform.

During Summer quarter, most international students are subject to the general University policies for summer graduate student employment, and their F-1 or J-1 visa does not further restrict their hours of employment. However, any graduate student who is required to enroll full time in summer quarter in order to maintain legal visa status—such as newly admitted students who will start their program in the summer, or those students returning from a leave of absence in the summer—may not work more than a combined total of 20 hours per week.

During University defined break periods as defined in section 2b above, neither the University or federal regulations limit the number of hours international graduate students may be employed, provided they are eligible and intend to register for the next academic quarter.

Further information regarding employment limits for students on F-1 or J-1 visas is available from the Bechtel International Center.

Table 1: Maximum Number of Hours of Hourly Employment Permitted per Week

Funding source or the student’s academic department/program may impose stricter limits. Footnotes describe the related limitations on enrollment.

STUDENT STATUS FUNDING STATUS
  50% assistantship1 assistantship between 10-40% Full fellowship no other GRADUATE FUNDING
ACADEMIC YEAR (ENROLLED STUDENTS)
U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident 8 hours 28 hours minus hours of assistantship 8 hours or 25% assistantship, but not both 28 hours
F-1 or J-1 student Visa holders 0 hours 20 hours minus hours of assistantship 8 hours or 25% assistantship, but not both 20 hours
SUMMER (ENROLLED STUDENTS)
U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident; F-1 or J-1 student Visa holders (unless Visa requires full-time enrollment)  16 hours 36 hours minus hours of assistantship2 16 hours or 50% assistantship, but not both 36 hours.3
F-1
or J-1 student Visa holders
0 hours 20 hours minus hours of assistantship 16 hours or 50% assistantship, but not both 20 hours
BREAK AND NON-ENROLLMENT PERIODS
U.S. student No university limits - See Section 2.b. above
F-1 or J-1 student Visa holders No university limits - See Section 2.b. above

1 Students with a 50% assistantship are limited to 10 units, TGR, or graduation quarter enrollment.

2 In summer, students are expected to reduce enrollment below full-time status if they accept an assistantship of more than 50%, or they accept a combination of assistantship and hourly work that total more than 28 hours per week.

3 More than 36 hours requires hiring as a Contingent (Casual or Temporary) employee through Human Resources and non-enrollment. Enrolled students cannot work more than 36 hours.

 

The percentage of the assistantship appointment determines the amount of Tuition Allowance (TAL) that is provided and the expectations for the number of units of enrollment. This is shown in the TAL table.

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3. Hiring, Paying and Supervising Students

a. Hiring
The supervisor notifies the human resources administrator to make the appropriate system entry. The 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.

Before hiring a graduate student for hourly employment, a graduate student assistantship, or any other type of appointment through Human Resources the hiring department should contact the student’s academic home department/program to review the appointment (see the GFS School contact list). The hourly appointment must be reviewed for appropriateness taking into account:

  • The student’s academic obligations, including course load, number of registered units, and other expectations
  • Other forms of financial support that the student is receiving, including fellowships and assistantships. Funding sources may impose limits on hourly employment
  • Any limits that the student’s home academic department/program imposes (e.g., program may limit hourly student employment)
  • Limitations placed on international students

Students who receive a university award that includes funding to hire graduate 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. Wage rates
There is no suggested wage scale for hourly employment for graduate students. When setting the hourly wage rate for a graduate student, the following may be taken into consideration:

  • The tasks required of the student, including the level of independence, judgment and expertise;
  • The student’s experience in similar work assignments;
  • Wage rate paid to other graduate students in department for comparable work.

c. Payment
Departments pay student workers from their own sources of funding.

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.

d. Supervision
One person should be named as the student’s immediate supervisor and should be directly accountable for overseeing the student’s work and approving the hours worked in Axess.

e. Work Schedules and Requirements
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.

f. Sick Time
Sick time provides a mechanism to pay graduate student hourly employees when they are unable to perform their work responsibilities due to illness or for other related reasons as detailed below. 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: Sick Time for Student Hourly Employees.

g. Job Listing
Stanford departments wishing to hire graduate students may use the system administered by BEAM (Bridging Education, Ambition and Meaningful Work) to list their job openings. Departments should log onto Handshake to post a job. Departments may also use their own means of locating student employees.

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

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