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Student Employment Handbook for Supervisors

Supervisors with questions about student employment at Colgate may browse through the topics on this page and/or contact the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment for additional information.

The Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment can be reached at finaid@colgate.edu or at 315-228-7431.

Seven Essential Things to Remember about Student Employment

(More detailed information on these and other topics can be found in the expandable content following this listing.)
  1. All student employees must have an I-9 form on file with the university in order to work. When supervisors submit their hiring requests (see #2 below), the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment will indicate whether or not each student has an I-9. Supervisors should not allow a new hire to perform any work until the student has completed this form and has been authorized to work.

  2. A hiring request must be submitted at least a week before a student is to begin work, to ensure that an electronic time sheet can be generated in time for work hours to be entered on the first day of employment. During the academic year, hiring requests are submitted on a department’s Student Employee Request Sheet, which can be obtained by contacting finaid@colgate.edu; during the summer, requests are submitted on a Student Employee Change of Status (ECOS) form, a link for which will be made available during the summer hiring season. Both documents are submitted to finaid@colgate.edu via e-mail attachment.

  3. During both the academic year and summer, all continuing Colgate students are hired through the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment. Departments that wish to hire May graduates and/or non-Colgate students for work during the summer should contact Human Resources.

  4. Supervisors must provide each hired student with a Notice and Acknowledgment of Pay Rate and Payday form for each position held. Supervisors will find the relevant forms on the Colgate student employment website and the portal.

  5. Students should submit their work hours on a daily basis through the Web Time Entry (WTE) system; supervisors must approve hours on a bi-weekly basis for all students who worked in the applicable pay period. Hours are entered and approved electronically, via the Colgate portal; no paper time sheets should be submitted.  Colgate provides WTE training videos for both students and supervisors.

  6. During the academic year, all student wage rates are set by the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment. Please do not advertise new academic-year student positions through means other than the Colgate portal without first contacting Student Employment to learn the appropriate wage rate. During the summer, student wage rates may be established by supervisors themselves, so long as they fall within any guidelines provided by Human Resources for casual wage rates in general.

  7. When school is in session, students should limit their work to no more than 15 hours per week for all jobs combined. Under unusual circumstances students may work up to, but not more than, 20 hours a week; however, that should be not be a regular occurrence. During school breaks and throughout the summer students are limited to no more than 40 hours of work per week for all jobs combined; and most summer research positions – even those paid via grant – are considered “full-time work,” such that no additional jobs should be accepted on campus during any week in which the student is engaged in research.

Hiring or Re-hiring Students


Advertising student employment positions
After a supervisor has considered the department's hiring needs, student positions may be advertised on the portal. Supervisors will maximize their chances of filling positions in a timely manner if they advertise openings well before the need to make a hire. Portal instructions can be found here.

Job descriptions should be kept as simple and generic as possible while still giving a sense of the position's responsibilities and requirements. Omitting date-sensitive or highly detailed information that needs periodically to be updated will allow supervisors to post and un-post jobs at will, without needing to wait for Student Employment approval.

If supervisors have questions about posting jobs, they should contact either the ITS Helpline at helpline@colgate.edu or 315-228-7111 (for technical questions), or the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment at finaid@colgate.edu or 315-228-7431 (for procedural questions).

Communicating with student applicants
If you already have an application-acknowledgment process that works well for you, bravo! But we sense that many supervisors (who are understandably busy and thus have little time for acknowledging individual job applications) and most students (who even in the best of economic times are understandably concerned about the status of their own job applications) often struggle a bit over this issue. Hoping that some "boilerplate language" may help streamline the acknowledgment process while also helping to ease student anxiety by providing up-front the information they're seeking, we provide here some sample acknowledgment messages. Feel free to try the basic text as is, or to modify it as needed; to send the messages either to individual students or, by blind copy, to batches of students, perhaps at the end of each day; or to create some other acknowledgment process that may better suit your needs. If you have questions, or would like further suggestions, please contact finaid@colgate.edu.

However it's accomplished, the goal is simply to provide students with timely information while keeping life manageable for supervisors. Supervisors' feedback -- on what works or what doesn't -- would be most welcome and appreciated!

Hiring students to work during the academic year
Academic-year hiring requests are submitted on a “Student Employee Request Sheet.” The initial request sheet for each year is provided to supervisors by the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment either just before classes (for current supervisors) or upon request. The non-highlighted section of the sheet allows supervisors to provide all the information that student employment needs in order to set up students for employment. When adding new students, supervisors type in the relevant information, complete all non-shaded columns, and send the sheet via e-mail attachment to finaid@colgate.edu.

The request sheet will then be updated and sent back to the supervisor, again via e-mail attachment. The section of the form that’s shaded blue and labeled “Student Employment to complete” is where student employment will indicate work codes, wage rates, and other important information regarding the student’s employment status (e.g., perhaps the student is not yet eligible to work because an I-9 form has not be received).

A student should not be asked to report to work until the supervisor has received confirmation from student employment that the student is eligible. For domestic students, this will be confirmed by issuance of a work code for the current academic year. For international students, the request sheet may initially indicate that the student may work (because we have a valid I-9 form on file) but that no work code can yet be issued because the student has not yet received his or her Social Security card. If after reviewing your updated request sheet you have questions about whether or not a particular student is allowed to work, please contact the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment at 315-228-7431 or at finaid@colgate.edu.

The same request sheet is meant to be sent back and forth all year long, with students being added, as needed, over time. However, please be aware that work codes — and therefore spreadsheets — from prior years cannot be reused. Expired work codes will result in your students not being paid properly, as the work codes (and spreadsheets) are updated each year.

Detailed information about working with the request sheets can be found here.

I-9 forms: ensuring eligibility for employment
As required by the Department of Homeland Security, students will only be allowed to work if they have an I-9 form on file with the university. No work code will be issued and no hours may be worked until a student has completed an I-9 form.

We are no longer allowed to collect I-9 forms from students before they have accepted a job offer. It is not safe to assume that a student has completed the form in a prior year and may begin work immediately — supervisors may offer a job, but they must be sure to check with student employment before allowing a student to work.

Supervisors potentially put the university and its students at risk if they allow them to work before an I-9 form is on file with the university. All students are notified annually of this requirement and are asked to bring original forms of identification with them to campus so their employment can be authorized without delay. To determine acceptable forms of identification, students should contact student employment directly or consult the I-9 form itself — accepted forms of identification are listed on the final page of the form.

How will a supervisor know if a student is authorized to work? Generally, if a student has been paid by Colgate in the past — during either the academic year or the summer — that student has been cleared to work. Regardless, if a supervisor submits a hiring request (discussed elsewhere in this section), student employment will indicate whether or not the student is already authorized to work, and/or what additional form(s) may be needed.

Notice and Acknowledgment of Pay Rate and Payday: required at time of hire
As required by the New York State Department of Labor, upon hire all employees must receive a Notice and Acknowledgment of Pay Rate and Payday (hereafter, the "notice"). Even if a student has worked with a particular supervisor in the past, a new notice is required for the new hiring period. The English-language versions of the form have been designed so that much of the information is pre-filled. Supervisors and their student employees will need to complete only the sections shaded gray. A photocopy of the signed notice needs to be given to the student employee for his or her records; the signed original then needs to be returned to the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment. Supervisors will be notified if and when we are able to arrange for electronic completion of the form.

When available, the notice needs to be presented to an employee in his or her primary language. Forms are currently available in Chinese, English, Haitian Creole, Korean, Polish, Russian, and Spanish. All currently available forms can be found here. English-language forms can also be found on the Colgate portal — after signing in, look for the relevant links within the “Student Employment” portlet. For most students, the “single” (rate) version of the notice will be used; students with multiple rates of pay within a single department will need to be given the “multi” (rate) form. Both forms are available in all the languages noted above.

Colgate is not currently requiring that the pay rate form be completed before the student employee begins work. Such a requirement is, however, permitted by law, and student employment reserves the right to require this in the future. Generally, though, supervisors find it is easiest to get students' attention and cooperation when they are first hired. It is strongly recommended that completion of the form be made a part of orientation/on-boarding processes for your student employees.

Preference given to work-study students
For at least the first two to three weeks of each semester — and for at least a week whenever a job is first posted mid-semester — most jobs on campus will be made available only to work-study students. When possible, supervisors should also attempt to give scheduling preference to work-study students, so they may be given every opportunity to earn the funds required by their financial aid award.

Exceptions to the work-study preference rule are made for positions requiring special skills or training (e.g., EMT, lifeguard, tutor, etc.). The pool of eligible applicants for such positions is much more limited, so qualified students may be hired without regard to work-study status.

Positions advertised through the Colgate portal will automatically be set to display to the appropriate group for that position: either work-study students only, or to all students. If students mention that they’ve heard that a certain position is open but they can’t see it on the portal, it is likely because they don’t have a work-study award. Such students should either apply for the positions they do see on the portal, or wait to see what positions are still open at the end of the preference period.

Weekly limits on student work hours
While school is in session, students should limit their work to no more than 15 hours a week for all jobs combined.

Most students receiving work-study as part of a financial aid award will need to work about 10-12 hours a week at minimum wage in order to earn their full work-study award. Thus, working anything more than 12 hours, or at a higher wage level, will actually provide a student with more income for the year than s/he will need in order to meet regular expenses. The 15-hour-a-week target allows some students who choose to do so to earn a little extra money, while still ensuring that there will be hours available for all the students who want and need to work during the year.

Although a special project or deadline may occasionally require work beyond 15 hours a week, under no circumstances should a student work more than 20 hours in a week while school is in session. If an international student exceeds this 20-hour limit, it is a violation of the student's visa, and penalties can include the revocation of the visa. For all students, exceeding the limit may impact status as a “full-time student” with potential implications for payroll taxes (i.e., student employees pay a lower level of payroll taxes than do regular employees).

During the summer and at other times when school is not in session, both domestic and international students may work up to 40 hours a week.

Hiring a community leader (CL) or house manager (HM) for a secondary job
Because community leaders and house managers are well compensated for their work, and because the demands of their positions should generally keep them busy at least 12-15 hours a week, such students are usually limited to only that one job on campus. An exception may potentially be made if a community leader or house manager is well qualified for a hard-to-fill position on campus, and if that secondary position would not cause that student to exceed the equivalent of 20 hours per week overall.

Supervisors who wish to request an exception to the one-job-per-community-leader rule may submit the request form found here or contact the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment at finaid@colgate.edu to discuss the situation. If an exception can be made, student employment will coordinate with the Office of Residential Life and/or the dean’s office to ensure that all parties are aware of the secondary job commitment, understand the hourly limitations of the secondary job, and that any concerns about the arrangement are addressed.

Paying Students


Setting student wage rates during the academic year
When a new student position is created on campus, and a new job description is written, it should be submitted — through the portal — for approval by the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment. (Portal instructions appear in the “Hiring and Re-hiring” section above.) As part of the approval process, an appropriate wage rate will be set by student employment. If the new position does not fall into a standard position type (e.g., tutor, office assistant, monitor, etc.), student employment may request that the supervisor complete a “Student Employment Position Questionnaire” in order to help determine the grade level of the new position, after which an appropriate starting wage will be assigned. All approved portal postings will automatically include the assigned wage rate.

Please do not advertise new positions through means other than the portal without first contacting the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment to confirm a wage rate. This centralized wage-setting process is meant to ensure that comparable positions will be paid at comparable wage rates, even if the positions fall within different departments.

Student wage scale
The NYS minimum wage is mandated to increase to $8.75/hour in January of 2015. However, in an effort to avoid the need for supervisors to modify students' wage rates mid-year, our 2014-15 wage rates already reflect the required increase.

The wage scale overall has also been adjusted somewhat to moderate the impact on departmental budgets of both the required increase in the minimum wage and its early adoption for student employees. The current-year student wage scale can be found here. It can also be found on the Colgate portal — after signing in, look for the relevant link within the "Documents" section, under the “Student Employment” tab.

Electronic time sheets on the portal
Students enter their work hours — and supervisors approve hours — electronically, using the Web Time Entry system on the portal. Students and supervisors with questions about how to enter, submit, or approve time may visit the Payroll Office website for detailed information about web time entry. In particular, supervisors may wish to view the training video created specifically for supervisors of student employees; and they may wish to direct their students to a similar training video specifically for student employees.

To ensure greatest accuracy, students should enter their work hours on a daily basis — waiting until the end of either a week or a payroll period can lead to faulty reporting of hours. Supervisors may wish to check the status of their students' time sheets at the end of the first week of each payroll period, so that if any issues have developed, they may be addressed before the pay period ends and options for corrective action become more limited.

Students will submit their hours for supervisor approval on a bi-weekly basis. Supervisors then approve the time on the appointed day — usually a Monday (see "student payroll deadlines," below) — so that payment will be timely.

When approved by the published due dates, electronic time sheets will result in student pay checks or direct deposit payments being issued within roughly 4-5 days. Hours approved late and/or through means other than the portal may:
  1. unnecessarily delay a student’s payment, which is neither ethical nor legal;
  2. create considerable extra work for the Payroll Office, which then needs to manually verify that hours are not being counted more than once;
  3. cause considerable confusion as to whether or not students are working more than their allowed 15 hours a week during the academic year (or 40 hours a week during summer and official breaks).
If a student's time sheet doesn't appear under a supervisor's portal listing, the supervisor should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment at 315-228-7431 well before the payroll deadline, if at all possible. Student employment staff members will troubleshoot as best they can, calling on assistance from payroll and/or human resources personnel as needed.

Student payroll deadlines
Current-year payroll deadlines can be found here. They can also be found on the Colgate portal — after signing in, look for the relevant link within the "Documents" section, under the “Student Employment” tab.

Especially now that student employees use an electronic time sheet system (web time entry), to enter their work hours, it is vitally important that students enter their hours, and supervisors approve the hours, according to the established schedule. The electronic time sheet system is much more efficient, but also much less forgiving than the paper system. Supervisors and students alike should plan to mark payroll deadlines on their calendars and/or pay close attention to all automated reminder e-mails to ensure that all payroll deadlines are met.

Student wage budgets
Colgate employees are very careful about watching their budgets, which is greatly appreciated; however, student wage budgets are actually intended to be spent in full each year.

“Savings” in this particular budget area can actually create challenges for the university related to federal work-study funds, which provide a substantial portion of our institutional student wage budget and are required to be spent at specified levels each year. Additionally, students — particularly those who have work-study as part of an aid award — rely on working on campus to earn money toward their expenses.

Naturally, if a supervisor no longer needs a particular student position, it is not appropriate to continue hiring a student. Student Employment does not advocate overspending this, or any other, university budget line. However, if a department is attempting to cut expenses by “getting by” with fewer students than it truly needs or could use, hiring plans should be re-evaluated, and student wage funds should be spent in full, where possible.

Budget managers may have some special concerns about their student wage budgets during any years in which a mandatory increase in the minimum wage may occur. Unfortunately, it sometimes happens that word of a required increase arrives after departmental budgets had already been set for the year, in which case Colgate is not able to adjust budgets accordingly. In such cases, Colgate greatly appreciates budget managers' efforts to keep this change in mind when monitoring overall spending during the relevant fiscal year.

Supervisors or budget managers with questions about departmental budget allocations should contact the Office of Budget and Decision Support at 315-228-7455. Any questions about creating new positions, resuscitating old ones, or about student hiring in general, should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment (finaid@colgate.edu or 315-228-7431).

Supervising and Disciplining Students


A progressive approach to discipline
Almost all student employees will, after some training and/or guidance, become valuable team members who can add appreciably to the departments in which they work. In a few cases though, difficulties may arise, and supervisors may be unsure how to proceed. Specific questions should be addressed to the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment at finaid@colgate.edu or at 315-228-7431.

As a basic blueprint, we provide a (slightly modified) excerpt from Colgate’s Personnel Policies and Benefits Handbook for Administrators, Technicians, and Support Staff, the original of which can be found on the Human Resources area of the Colgate website. The excerpt noted below outlines the usual disciplinary action to be taken if an employee — in this case, a student employee — is failing to meet expectations and/or appropriate standards of behavior:

Involuntary Terminations

The university may terminate the employment of an individual at any time in accordance with the provisions of this handbook.

Colgate may take disciplinary action, up to and including termination, against any employee for failing, in Colgate’s sole discretion, to adhere to certain standards of behavior. Such failure is frequently reflected in certain actions by the employee, like some of those mentioned earlier in this handbook, and including, but not limited to, the examples found here.

If there is a problem with the performance of a regular [student] employee, the following procedures should normally be followed to ensure fairness and due process. Although these procedures are generally applied, [where student employees are involved] the... [procedures] may be disregarded for appropriate reasons upon approval of the [Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment].

A supervisor is responsible for providing, on a regular basis, accurate and objective evaluation of an employee's performance. The employee should understand the standards that are established for competent performance of the job. A supervisor should discuss any performance deficiencies with the employee. If improvement does not occur, the [student] employee should receive a written communication from the supervisor that states the problem, outlines need for improvement, and indicates acceptable performance levels. A copy of this notice must be sent to the [Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment] for inclusion in the [student’s] record.

If improvement is not observed after a reasonable time, the supervisor should inform the [student] employee in writing of goals to be achieved within a specific period of time and that employment may be terminated if satisfactory performance is not achieved. A copy should be given to the [Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment]. Any recommendations for termination of [a student’s] employment must be reviewed by the [Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment]....

Immediate, involuntary termination
Although it is the university's policy to have progressive discipline prior to termination, circumstances may dictate a deviation from this policy. In addition, there may be circumstances which, because of their nature, will result in immediate termination of an employee without prior warning.

This category may include insubordination; sale, possession or unauthorized use of alcoholic beverages, unauthorized prescription drugs or illegal substances on campus; theft, misuse, or destruction of university property (including computer data and software); willful mistreatment of fellow employees or students, including rude actions, abusive or obscene language; engaging in unsafe or destructive conduct; assault or fighting; inappropriate or disruptive behavior; threatening, intimidating, or coercing fellow employees on Colgate premises at any time and for any reason; unauthorized possession or concealment of firearms (loaded or unloaded) or other weapons on Colgate premises at any time; sexual harassment; falsification of any college record, including original employment application; unlawful, indecent or immoral conduct; dishonesty; or negligent actions which would cause injury to fellow workers or similar conduct or activity.

The supervisor must contact [the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment] prior to discharging a [student] staff member to ensure consistency with university regulations.

Other Topics


Ensuring complete and accurate job descriptions for all student positions on campus
Colgate is required to have a valid job description on file for each position on campus, even if a particular department does not use the portal to advertise available position(s) (e.g., tutors and research assistants, in particular, are often hired based on word of mouth or intra-departmental advertising).

Supervisors should periodically review the job descriptions already on the portal to see if any new descriptions are needed or if any long outdated descriptions should be removed. Supervisors needing assistance in creating new job descriptions should refer to the portal instructions under the topic “Hiring or Re-hiring Students,” above.