Frequently Asked Questions for Student Employees

  1. Who is eligible for employment?
    USF students enrolled full-time in a degree-granting program who are authorized to work in the United States.
  2. What types of employment are available?
    Three types of employment are available at USF: Federal Work-Study (FWS), Campus Job Opportunity (CJOB), and non-work-study student employment. The first two types of employment are forms of financial aid. That is, if you applied for financial aid and you have high financial need, then you may receive a FWS or CJOB award on your offer of financial aid from USF. The third type of employment is employment that does not require you to have a need-based work award. 

    The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education. The Campus Job Opportunity (CJOB) program is funded by the hiring department. Both programs grant a student priority consideration for employment. Non-work-study student employment is also funded by the hiring department. There is no differential pay rate, hours, or benefits. There is a difference, however, in the priority granted to students who are seeking employment. 

    When hiring managers have two or more equally qualified candidates for a position, priority consideration for the position is granted in the following way: (1) to the FWS student, (2) to the CJOB student, and (3) to the student without a need-based work award. 

    Although financial aid applicants must report student employment earnings on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), earnings from a FWS and/or CJOB position may be reported as need-based earnings so as not to count against the calculation of need for financial aid. 
  3. Is student employment limited to the academic year?
    If you have a need-based work award (a FWS or CJOB award), then you may only earn funds during the academic year (fall through spring). However, your hiring department may choose to allow you to continue working through the summer break under a non-need-based work classification. Likewise, if you earn the total amount of your work award prior to the end of summer semester, your hiring department may convert your employment type to non-need-based. If you do not have a need-based work award, then your employment may continue beyond the academic year if your supervisor chooses to extend your employment.
  4. What is a Federal Work-Study Award?
    A FWS award is a Federal Student Aid program that supports student employment for college students. Direct support is provided in the form of a financial subsidy to the hiring department. Currently, the FWS program at USF subsidizes 75% of the wages a work-study student earns in an on- or off-campus FWS position. This subsidy reduces the amount paid by the hiring department or employer. The total amount you may earn with a work-study award is determined by the USF Financial Aid Office. Your financial aid award letter will inform you if you have received a FWS award.

    Under the FWS program, student gross earnings are limited to the amount awarded on the financial aid award letter. If the award is earned in-full before the end of the academic year, the supervisor must agree to convert the job into a non-Work-Study position or the work must be terminated. If you have a FWS award, we recommend you estimate your hours with your supervisor at the beginning of the year to anticipate when the full award will be earned and to discuss what to expect when the award is exhausted. If your hiring department does not have funds to convert your job to a non-Work-Study position, you may request an increase in your award amount by sending a written appeal to Eligibility for an award increase depends on your remaining financial need as well as available funding; therefore, not all requests may be granted. 
  5. I have a FWS award and I want to use it off-campus. Can I work for an agency of my choice?
    Before you make a commitment to an agency, you must consult the Student Employment Office to make sure the position and agency you have in mind meets the FWS program eligibility requirements. The employment agency must complete or have on file a Federal Work-Study agreement with USF along with additional paperwork pertaining to your individual position. Employment may not begin until the position and agency is approved by the Student Employment Office. Information on how to set up a Work-Study position may be obtained at the Student Employment Office, located at Lone Mountain, room 204, or by calling (415) 422-6770.
  6. What is a Campus Job Opportunity Award?
    The Campus Job Opportunity (CJOB) program is a USF-designed program to support eligible students with obtaining on-campus employment. Similar to FWS, you must apply for financial aid and have financial need to be considered for a CJOB award. Unlike FWS, CJOB awards cannot be used off-campus.
  7. How can I get a Federal Work-Study or CJOB award at USF?
    To be considered for a FWS or CJOB award, you must apply for financial aid and demonstrate financial need. You cannot receive FWS or CJOB award without applying for financial aid.
  8. What types of jobs are available?
    On-campus jobs are available through the various University administrative offices and academic departments and include a range of duties such as administrative assistance, technology support, events management, and lab assistance. Nearly every department on campus hires student employees. 

    Off-campus jobs are available to Federal Work-Study recipients and can be in government or non-profit organizations with an active contract with the University. Examples of Federal Work-Study off-campus organizations include various public schools participating in the University's America Reads Program, Jamestown Community Center, San Francisco Day School, CollegeTrack and Huckleberry Youth Foundation. If you are interested in setting up your own off campus Federal Work-Study position, please contact the Student Employment Office at (415) 422-6770 or
  9. How do I go about finding employment?
    The USF Student Employment Office posts on-campus and off-campus positions on the job listings page of the USF website. This page is updated on a regular basis as positions become available and as employers fill open positions. 
    The following is an outline of the steps you can take to find employment:
    1. View the On-Campus job board
    2. View the Off-Campus job board (Federal Work Study recipients only)
    3. Apply for one or more positions according to the instructions provided on a job listing.
    4. Once you’ve received a job offer, complete the onboarding tasks on your USFWorks account and get your I-9 documentation verified by visiting the Student Employment Office in Lone Mountain #203.
    5. You will receive a work clearance electronically through USFWork after completing all onboarding pieces, and then you are cleared to work.
  10. What is a Form I-9?
    The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Form I-9 is a standard Human Resources form. It is a legal document that verifies your identity and employment eligibility. You are required to complete the Form I-9 only once during your employment at USF. In order to complete a Form I-9, you must present documents that verify your identity. The list of acceptable documents as well as detailed information and instructions are available on our Student I-9 page.
  11. I’m an international student. Are there additional steps I need to take?
    If you are an international student, you will need to apply for a Social Security number as soon as you obtain a job. USF requires that you have a Social Security number so that your earnings can be reported to the Internal Revenue Service. More information on applying for a Social Security number is available on the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) website.
  12. What are my responsibilities as a student employee?
    Accepting a position involves a commitment. Your primary role is that of a student, but you have certain responsibilities and obligations to your employer. You are a member of a working unit that depends on you. At minimum, your responsibilities are to:
    1. Report to work promptly
    2. Notify your supervisor as soon as possible when you will be late or unable to work
    3. Refrain from conducting personal business on the job
    4. Report accurately the hours you have worked
    5. Perform your task to the best of your ability
    6. Dress appropriately for your job location
    7. Take your job seriously
    8. Student employment is more than merely earning money to offset your educational expense. The work experience you gain can be invaluable.
  13. How many hours can I work per week?
    On the average, most students work between 12-20 hours per week. While classes are in session, USF student employment policy limits student employee schedules to a maximum of: 
    25 hours per week for domestic/permanent resident students
    20 hours per week for international students 

    During the summer session and breaks, all student schedules are limited to a maximum of 35 hours per week. Please note that students are also limited to 7.5 hours in a single day.

    The work week begins at 12:00am on Monday, and ends at 11:59pm on Sunday. To avoid overtime charges to your department, you should not work more than 6 consecutive days in any on-campus job, or combination of on-campus jobs.

  14. How do I complete a timesheet?
    After you are hired and you have been successfully added to USF Payroll, you will complete timesheets through USFWorks. PDF instructions can be found here.
  15. When am I paid?
    You are paid semi-monthly. Pay days are normally on the 7th and 22nd of the month. Should the pay day fall on a Saturday, you will be paid the previous Friday. Should the pay day fall on a Sunday, you will be paid the following Monday.
  16. Who determines my pay rate?
    The Student Employment Office establishes wage guidelines for on-campus hiring departments based on the duties and qualifications of the position. The department uses these guidelines to determine where the position fits within the student salary schedule. Generally, positions which require more technical and specialized skills, or which require specific work experience, or greater levels of responsibility are compensated at higher rates of pay. As of July 1, 2018, the minimum wage will increase to $15.00/hour.
  17. Are taxes withheld from my earnings?
    All student employment earnings are considered taxable by the IRS. By default, a portion of your earnings will be withheld from each paycheck and sent to the IRS as income tax. You can adjust the amount withheld from your paychecks by submitting a form W-4 to the USF Payroll Office. Other taxes, such as Medicare and Social Security taxes are generally assessed only during the summer, when students may be enrolled less than full time.
  18. Can I have more than one job?
    Yes, through non-work study employment. That is, you may only have one federal work study position but may hold a 2nd position that is paid through non-work-study. The University recommends, however, that you limit your employment to one position that meets your needs. Keep in mind that while classes are in session you may only work up to a maximum of 25 hours per week if you are a domestic student and up to 20 hours if you are an international student. Also, note that most employers prefer at least a 2-3 hour block of work time since productivity increases with shifts that are at least that long.
  19. I have a financial aid work award (FWS or CJOB).  Does this mean I am guaranteed employment?
    There is no guarantee of employment; however, students with need-based work awards are given priority consideration during the hiring process. If you are having difficulty finding a job on-campus, you are encouraged to utilize the counseling services offered by the USF Career Services Center and the Learning and Writing Center to develop a resume, learn to write a cover letter, and practice interviewing skills. Most positions are posted and filled within the first few weeks of classes each fall, but job openings do occur throughout the year, so we encourage you to monitor the job posting board on a regular basis.
  20. Once I get a job, is there a guarantee that I can be continually employed?
    There is no guarantee of continued employment. Continued employment is contingent upon many factors, such as departmental budgets and satisfactory performance. Student assignments typically terminate at the end of the academic year (mid-May). You are encouraged to discuss the possibility of continued employment into the summer and/or the next academic year with your supervisor. If at any time your supervisor decides that your performance is not satisfactory, you may be released from employment.
  21. Can I receive paid sick leave?
    Yes, eligible students can receive paid sick leave. The San Francisco Paid Sick Leave Ordinance allows student employees working within San Francisco County to accrue 1 hour of sick leave for every 30 hours worked, up to 72 hours. Paid sick leave begins to accrue upon your first day of work. Eligible sick leave should be reported on your timesheet and approved by your supervisor.

    If you need to take more than 3 days of paid leave, assuming you have accrued enough time to do so, your supervisor may require a doctor's note to verify the necessity of your absence.

    Additional notes regarding paid sick leave: Within the County of San Francisco: 1)Employers must provide paid sick leave for part-time employees, including all student employees; 2)Employees may use paid leave for their own medical needs and to care for family members; and 3)Employees with no spouse or partner may use the leave to care for a "designated person."
  22. What are the laws regarding breaks and meal time?
    In the State of California, employers are required to give each employee at least ten (10) minutes paid break for each four (4) hours worked. While 10 minutes is the state required minimum, USF grants a standard 15-minute break for each four (4) hours worked. If an employee works 3 ½ hours or less, it is not required that a break be given. If an employee works for a period of more than five (5) hours, the employer must provide an unpaid, off-duty meal period of at least thirty (30) minutes. When a work period of not more than six (6) hours will complete the day's work, the meal period may be waived by mutual consent of the employer and the employee. At USF, if an employee will work a full 7.5 hour work day, the meal break must be taken before the start of the 6th hour of the shift.
  23. What if I have difficulties with my supervisor that I may need to report?
    If you and your supervisor are having difficulties, consult the Student Employment Office. The Student Employment Office provides assistance in all stages of the student employment process and is here to support student employees and supervisors alike.
  24. If I need to discontinue employment, what should I do?
    Individual hiring supervisors may expect a student employee to work through the academic year. You and your supervisor may determine a specific work schedule upon hire, not to exceed your employment eligibility period. If changes in class schedule, academic pressures, or volume of work in the department make a work commitment impossible, and you feel that it is necessary to terminate your employment, please speak to your supervisor. If you decide to terminate your employment, provide a minimum two-week notice along with the reason for the termination.
  25. My supervisor has scheduled an evaluation meeting with me.  Is this typical?
    Yes, before the end of the spring semester, all supervisors are asked to complete a performance evaluation for each of their student employees. The performance evaluation is not only used to evaluate your work, but it is also used to determine your eligibility for rehire.

If you have additional questions that were not addressed above, please feel free to contact the Student Employment Office at or (415) 422-6770. You may also visit us at in person in Lone Mountain, room 203.