students on campus

Student employment at Amherst College is open to all students, without regard to whether they are eligible to receive financial aid. More than half of all students at Amherst work on campus at some time during the academic year.

Important Changes Effective Fall 2020

As of the fall 2020 semester, student employment authorization will be limited to on-campus and remote work for enrolled students who are residing in the United States.

Due to the laws governing local employment and tax responsibility, any Amherst student who is residing outside the United States, including those who are studying remotely, is unable to work for the college. International students who are studying remotely, but who are still living in the United States, may still work for Amherst.

Finding a Job

Students are responsible for finding their own jobs. To do this, you can either look for on-campus postings through Handshake or the Off-Campus Federal Work Study Jobs listing. You can also go to the department in which you are interested in working for and talk directly with them. The major student employers include Dining Services, Frost Library, Mead Art Museum, Post Office, Campus Police, Athletic Department, Admission Office, Alumni Office, Music Library, and many of the academic offices. 

Due to the change in outdoor temperatures, the once-a-week opportunity to drop by "tent time" at the Mead Quad has been discontinued. Please contact Nancy Robinson, Student Employment Coordinator at to schedule an individual appointment. 

  1. Please watch the video below for detailed instructions for the completion of the I-9, W-4 and M-4 forms. 
  2. You MUST have the appropriate ORIGINAL identity document(s) needed to complete the I-9 form. The "Lists of Acceptable Documents" can be found on page 3 of the I-9 form. Please bring one item from "List A" OR one item from "List B" along  with one item from "List C". Scanned, faxed or photocopies are not allowed by the Department of Homeland Security. 

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 This video provides instruction for the completion of the required I-9, W-4, and M-4 forms. Reminder: You must submit the required employment paperwork before you can start your first day of work.

The I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form is required by the Department of Homeland Security/U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, who also stipulates the types of acceptable identification. Proper identification must be shown to a staff member of the Office of Financial Aid at the time of completion.

Common examples of acceptable identification include an un-expired U.S. Passport or a combination of a driver's license or Amherst I.D. and a birth certificate or Social Security card. International students must have an un-expired passport with an I-551 stamp or attached INS Form I-94 and I-20 or an Alien Registration Receipt Card with photograph. The I-9 must be completed within 3 business days of your date of hire. The I-9 form has very specific directions and requirements and should be read carefully. Refer to page 3 of the I-9 form for the complete "Lists of Acceptable Documents". You choose from One item from "List A" or one item from "List B" and one item from "List C". The Office of Financial Aid staff must uphold federal requirements and cannot accept any document not specifically listed as acceptable by the government. All forms of identification must be originals; copies of documents are not acceptable.

The W-4 Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate directs Amherst College to withhold the correct Federal income tax from your pay. Please be aware of the federal income tax withholding rules as they may apply to your situation. A "single" student who had no federal income tax liability in 2019 and whose total earnings for 2020 will be less than $12,400 may claim "exemption" status (meaning you do not need the College to deduct federal withholding from your paycheck). 

NOTEYou must re-file a W-4 Form annually to claim "exempt" status as it expires on February 15th of each calendar year.

Accessible versions of W-4 forms and documents are available.

The Massachusetts M-4 Employee's Withholding Exemption Certificate directs Amherst College to withhold the correct State income tax from your pay. Both forms must be read carefully, filled out completely, and signed by the student. Any questions on completing these forms, beyond the general instructions given, should be referred to a parent, guardian, or your tax consultant.

Student employees who qualify for "exempt" status will have nothing withheld from their earnings for federal and state income taxes.

Social Security and Medicare tax (F.I.C.A.) is not withheld from student earnings for on-campus positions during the academic year - hours worked August 16, 2020 to June 19, 2021.

F.I.C.A. taxes must be withheld from summer hours worked June 17, 2020 to August 15, 2020 AND most off-campus Federal work-study positions..

Payroll Responsibilities

To be paid, the student must report their hours worked to their supervisor. Supervisors submit the information to Student Payroll/Shared Services on a biweekly basis. Additional information on their process can be found at: Student Payroll. Hours approved by the supervisor and submitted after noon time on the due date or which are incomplete will result in a two-week delay in the issuance of a paycheck.

If a student does not receive a paycheck (or direct deposit notification), or has a problem with a payment, they should contact Rachel Robinson, Payroll Specialist in Shared Services at

Direct Deposit

The Payroll Office strongly encourages you to take advantage of the FREE direct deposit service available to all employees. Students who choose this option will not have to worry about lost or stolen checks. You do not need to have a local bank account to take advantage of direct deposit. Students who have direct deposit set-up will be able to view their earnings and withholding information via AC Data. For more information on the process, please visit Direct Deposit. Funds will be electronically transferred to a bank account of your choice at the opening of business on each bi-weekly payday.

Rates of Pay

The minimum wage in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts for 2020 is $12.75 per hour. This rate will increase to: $13.50 on January 1, 2021, $14.25 on January 1, 2022 and $15.00 on January 1, 2023.

Sick Time

On July 1, 2015 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts established a sick time law that impacts part-time employees, including student employees who work during non-academic periods (summer). For additional information, please refer to the policy at Sick Time

Departments that employ student workers are asked to give priority in the first two weeks of each semester to hiring students who are eligible for need-based based student employment.

Students who are eligible for the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program may also be employed off campus by a governmental agency or a non-profit organization in nonsectarian and nonpolitical activities that are "in the public interest." Agencies that have employed Amherst students in past years include day-care centers, public libraries, historical societies, service agencies for the disabled, town government, local schools, community development organizations, and public access television. FWS students may also be employed in the federal government's "America Reads" project to foster literacy among pre-school and school-age children or "America Counts" project to promote mathematical skills among school-age children. Additional information about "America Reads" is available at Learn more about off-campus FWS employment.

Earnings Authorization

Please note: Amherst College has replaced academic year 20/21 work-study with additional scholarship grant funds. This policy adjustment is a one-time accommodation and will likely not be carried forward to future years.

The average number of hours recommended for student employment is 5 to 7 hours a week. Employment during non-academic periods (Fall, Thanksgiving, and Spring recesses and Interterm) should not exceed 40 hours a week. Earnings during these periods are regarded as part of your academic year earnings. 

If You Exceed the Authorized Level

You may continue to work beyond the authorized amount in your Financial Aid Award, except in the instance of an off-campus Work-Study position, where you will need to contact the office to inquire about additional eligibility. You should note, however, that earnings in excess of the authorized level must be reported as "non-need-based" earnings in financial aid applications for the following academic year. In most cases, a modest amount of earnings in excess of the authorized limit will not affect the subsequent year's financial aid. Larger earnings amounts may result in an expected "student income contribution" that is greater than the amount normally expected from a student's non-need-based earnings (currently $1,000 to $2,000 for first-year students and $1,300 to $2,200 for sophomores, juniors, and seniors - typically derived from summer employment).

Employer Expectations

If you accept a job on campus, in most cases you are making a commitment to work for at least a full semester. The following is expected of all student employees.

  • You should work the hours that you have committed yourself to work. Do not commit yourself to more than you can handle.
  • You should arrive at work on time, and perform at the highest level of your ability.
  • Dress appropriately for the job location. Individual departments may have a dress code for health or safety reasons or in situations where you are highly visible to the community. Your supervisor can describe any specific dress requirements.
  • Refrain from conducting your own business on the job. This includes initiating/receiving personal phone calls, checking personal e-mail or browsing the internet.
  • Act in a professional manner concerning the confidentiality of the College and student records. Some departments may require an employee to sign a statement of confidentiality during the hiring process.
  • Exercise responsible, ethical behavior when using the College's computing facilities.
  • Accurately report the hours worked on a bi-weekly timesheet, and submit the hours in a timely fashion to your supervisor. Students are paid on an hours-worked basis. Holidays, sick days, mealtime and travel time may not be counted as hours worked.
  • If you are unable to work, you must notify your supervisor as early as possible to allow him or her to make alternate arrangements. (Substitution policies vary by department. You should ask your employer whether getting your own substitute is expected or acceptable.)
  • Take an unpaid half-hour break if working six or more consecutive hours.
  • If you have accepted a job for the semester, your employer will be relying on you even when you have mid-term and final exams. Since you are given your exam schedule in advance, speak to your employer ahead of time if you need to adjust your work schedule during that period. Your primary obligation is that of being a student. Any work schedule you arrange should allow you enough time for classes, study, extracurricular activities, and relaxation. However, once you have made a commitment to work, your supervisor will expect you to fulfill that commitment. Any questions concerning student employment should be directed to the Office of Financial Aid.
  • It is recommended that you work NO MORE THAN 20 hours per week while school is in session.