Student Employment Handbook

Supervisors with questions about student employment at Colgate may browse through the topics on this page and/or contact Student Employment (now managed by Human Resources) for additional information.

Student Employment, housed in the Human Resources Building, can be reached at or at 315-228-6442.

Ten 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. Funding should be secured before hiring begins. Whether using departmental funds or a Research Council student wage grant, it's always best to start by ensuring that you have the needed funding in place.
  2. All academic-year student employment positions must be advertised on the Colgate portal, unless a student has been paid for the same work in a previous year or term. Whether hiring for a day or for both semesters, whether searching for an office assistant or a research assistant, when in need of a new employee supervisors must advertise their academic-year openings and acknowledge all applications submitted, so that students will be aware both of the openings for which they're eligible and the status of each search.
  3. 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 #4 below), 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.
  4. A hiring request should 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 Googledoc; during the summer, requests are submitted on this Google Doc.
  5. During both the academic year and summer, all continuing Colgate students are hired through Student Employment, part of Human Resources.
  6. 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.
  7. Students should enter 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.
  8. During the academic year, all student wage rates are set by Student Employment. When you submit your student position to be advertised through the portal, as is required for all offered positions, a wage rate will be assigned.  Please do not advertise new academic-year student positions through means other than the Colgate portal before the wage rate has been assigned. During the summer, supervisors should contact Human Resources for guidance about casual wage rates in general.
  9. When school is in session, students should schedule themselves for 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 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.
  10. For positions requiring students to drive, the requirement must be stated in the posting and the student must be authorized by the Department of Campus Safety.  University departments are responsible for ensuring their department related motor vehicle use is in compliance with Colgate University Driver Safety and Motor Vehicle Use Policy.

Supervisors' At-a-Glance Checklist

(The list below was adapted from a checklist shared by one of Colgate's student supervisors.)

  1. Secure funding for student position.
  2. Advertise position (unless student has been paid to work with you previously).
  3. Acknowledge applications received.
  4. Interview and choose worker(s).
  5. Offer job(s).
  6. Submit a hiring request.
  7. Have student(s) fill out an I-9 form with Student Employment (you'll be notified if an I-9 is needed).
  8. Wait for Student Employment to indicate job is set up.
  9. Have student(s) begin work.
  10. Submit Notice and Acknowledgment of Pay Rate and Payday for worker(s).
  11. Review electronic time sheets biweekly and approve them.

Hiring or Re-hiring Students

After a supervisor has considered the department's hiring needs, all open student positions should 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.

Advertising all open positions has three major benefits: 1) all eligible student applicants will have equal access to positions; 2) supervisors will be able to locate the best-qualified, eligible candidates (not just whomever they happen to know); 3) job descriptions will provide a shared document to which all parties can refer if there are questions about job responsibilities, etc.

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. 

Job postings will expire automatically, two weeks after they're activated.  If a supervisor hasn't filled the position in that time, they will be notified of the expiration and given an opportunity to re-activate the posting.  Supervisors are encouraged to close their postings manually if they receive a sufficient pool of applicants for consideration before the two-week period ends.  This will moderate somewhat the number of application acknowledgments that will be required (see "Communication with student applicants," below) and will confirm for students that supervisors who’ve posted positions are actively seeking applicants.

If supervisors have questions about posting jobs, they should contact either the ITS Helpline (for technical questions) at or 315-228-7111, or Student Employment (for procedural questions) at or 315-228-6442.

Supervisors should plan to acknowledge all applications received.  This has three primary benefits:

  1. students can make quicker and more informed choices regarding job offers if they know for which jobs they are still in the running (or not), which in turn helps supervisors fill their positions more efficiently;
  2. when acknowledging all applications, supervisors are more inclined to limit the size of their applicant pools, which makes the application/hiring process quicker and more efficient for both students and supervisors; 
  3. supervisors will be demonstrating courtesy and respect toward their applicants, which puts them in good position to expect the same from their employees, which benefits all involved.  

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 students are 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

To make the acknowledgment process even more efficient, offices using G-mail may want to consider "Canned Responses," which allow for replies using boilerplate language.  Similarly, offices using the Thunderbird e-mail client may wish to send "template" messages to those students who apply for jobs. 

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!

Academic-year hiring requests are submitted on the “Student Employee Request Form” googledoc.  

The section of the googledoc that’s shaded grey and labeled “For Human Resources” 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 there is a position number, suffix, wage rate and grade/year note for the student. 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 their Social Security card. If after reviewing your google sheet you have questions about whether or not a particular student is allowed to work, please contact Student Employment at 315-228-6442 or at

The same request sheet is meant to be used 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 are updated each year. 

When hiring continuing Colgate students for the summer, supervisors will submit their hiring requests to Student Employment on the google doc.  

Student Employment, which will contact supervisors with any questions or comments regarding wage rates, dates of employment, or a student’s employment status (e.g., a student may not yet be eligible to work because s/he may not yet have submitted an I-9 form).  A student should not be asked to report to work until the supervisor learns from student employment that the hiring request is being processed.  If you have questions about whether or not a particular student is allowed to work, please contact Student Employment at 315-228-6442 or at  

As required by the Department of Homeland Security, students will be allowed to work only 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. Thus, 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 in section(s) labeled "Hiring students to work..."), Student Employment will indicate whether or not the student is already authorized to work, and/or what additional form(s) may be needed.

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 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. 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.

For at least the first three weeks of each semester — and for two weeks 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. 

The Colgate portal automatically displays each posting to the appropriate group for that particular position: either to 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.

While school is in session, students should schedule themselves for 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.

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 10-12 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.

Paying Students


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 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 academic-year student positions through means other than the Colgate portal before the wage rate has been assigned and the job has been posted on the portal. 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.

The NYS minimum wage increased to $12.50/hour as of January of 2021.  The wage is expected to increase above that level over the next few years. 

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.

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 Student Employment at 315-228-6442 well before the payroll deadline, if at all possible. Student employment staff members will troubleshoot as best they can, calling on assistance from payroll personnel as needed.

There are different payroll deadlines for academic year and summer — 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.

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 has 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 Student Employment ( or 315-228-6442).

Supervising and Disciplining Students

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 Student Employment at or at 315-228-6442.

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 [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 [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 [Student Employment]. Any recommendations for termination of [a student’s] employment must be reviewed by [Student Employment]....

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 [Student Employment] prior to discharging a [student] staff member to ensure consistency with university regulations.

Many of our students have never held a job before attending Colgate, so they may need a bit of coaching to ensure their ultimate success in their positions. Occasionally, even those who have held jobs elsewhere have not yet developed the level of maturity required to immediately rise to our highest expectations of them. So supervising students can sometimes feel a bit like teaching or parenting – we anticipate that we may need to state and then repeat our expectations a few times before a particular concept or behavior becomes second nature to our student employees.  The overarching goal, though, is to encourage the student’s growth and development, as a person and as an employee. Thus, as described above, a progressive approach to discipline is usually best.

Because it can sometimes be challenging to find the appropriate wording for the written warnings that may occasionally be needed, we provide here some examples, which have been adapted from e-mails sent to students by one of Colgate's student supervisors.  We'd be happy to share additional samples as we may encounter them.

Other Topics

Colgate believes that student hiring should be based on what you know rather than whom you know -- for example, a student shouldn't need to use back-channel means to locate and secure a job on campus.  The hiring process should instead be transparent and open, and all eligible students should have equal access to openings for which they are qualified, based on skills and experience.  The university is committed to ensuring that all students have the opportunity to learn about, and apply for, all jobs on campus for which they may be eligible

Eligibility for positions is determined by work-study status.  As discussed under the topic titled "Preference given to work-study students" (above), assuming they are qualified (based on skills and experience), students with work-study awards are eligible to hold any campus job, without exception.  Non-work-study students are eligible to hold positions requiring specialized skills or certification (since the pool of qualified applicants for such positions is relatively small, both work-study and non-work-study students may initially be considered), as well as entry-level positions that cannot be filled by work-study students during the initial preference period.

In order to ensure that students have equal access to jobs, at least within their particular work-study status, during the academic year Colgate requires that all campus jobs be advertised through  the Student Employment channel of the portal.   (Alternative means of advertising may be used in addition to, but not instead of, the portal.)  Whether involving office work, interning, research, grading, or tutoring, positions should be posted on the portal -- and all applications reviewed -- before a position is filled.  For information on posting positions, please see the topic above titled "Advertising student employment positions."

To make posting easier for supervisors, especially when there are several similar positions to be advertised at once – for example, if lab assistants are needed for several different labs – a single posting may be used for the various slots needing coverage; then the department may allocate assignments among the best candidates who’ve submitted applications.  If a supervisor has certain students whom s/he especially wants to consider for an opening, those students may be encouraged to submit applications, so they can be evaluated along with all other candidates.  (Please note that if a student indicates s/he can’t see a particular posting, it’s likely that s/he is not eligible to be hired by virtue of his/her work-study status.)

Colgate is required to have a valid job description on file for each position on campus.  Job descriptions are maintained on the Colgate portal and are used to advertise all student employment openings during the year.  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.