International Student Employment - Questions & Answers

Am I eligible to work at Amherst College?

F-1 Visa holders are eligible to work at any position on campus. You are NOT eligible to work at off-campus federal work-study sites (examples: Reader to Reader, Inc. or the Jones Library). Consult the International Student Office about the possibility of working at one of the other Five Colleges.

How do I find a job?

Students are responsible for finding their own jobs. To do this, you should go to the department you are interested in working for and talk directly with them. You can also view certain available positions at:

Will there be a central location to meet prospective employers?

The annual Student Employment Fair will be held on the first day of classes in the fall semester from Noon-2:00 in the Freidmann Room, 2nd floor of the Keefe Campus Center.  A variety of departments will be on hand to answer questions you might have about their position openings. Keep in mind that not all departments are able to attend.

Why work?

Student employment is a way for you to earn your own spending money. The money you earn is paid to you directly. The college does not credit your earnings to your student account to pay your semesters’ bill. Student employment is also a great way to integrate yourself into the campus community beyond the classroom and gain valuable work experience.

Am I required to work if I have a “Work-Study” component in my Financial Aid Award?

No student is required to work. Student employment earnings are paid to you directly for the hours you work and are intended to cover your personal expenses during the school year (shampoo, laundry detergent, cell phone bill, movie tickets, etc.).

Will I owe the Work-Study funds to the college if I choose not to work?

Your student account will never be charged for the “work-study” funds you don’t use if you choose not to work. If you have funds from another source (personal savings) you can use those reserves to cover your own expenses.

Am I guaranteed a job if I have Work-Study?

No student is guaranteed a job, but we do ask departments to give hiring priority to students who have work-study, as they have a demonstrated need to earn their own spending money.

I’ve been hired, what’s the next step?

Follow the Step-by-Step Guide for International Students for On-Campus Employment attached. You can find the on-line version at

Can I start work before I apply for a Social Security number outlined in Step 4?

Yes, you can start work but your hours will not be processed for payment until you complete all 5 steps.

When do I get paid?          

Students are paid on a bi-weekly basis. Payments are issued every other Friday once all work documents are completed and you submit time sheets to your department supervisor. The dates for pay periods are listed on the back of the paper time sheet your employer will provide.

Where will I receive this payment?

If you choose to receive a paper paycheck it will be delivered to your campus post office box on the Friday morning of payday. If you enroll in Direct Deposit you will receive electronic notification of your payment from the Payroll Office. You can view your “Pay Advise” information under ACData, using the “Employees” tab.

What is Direct Deposit?    

It’s a safe and convenient way to deposit your funds directly into your personal checking or savings account on the morning of payday. This is a free service that is offered by the college, saving you the time and hassle of going to the bank every other week to deposit your paycheck.    

Do I have to sign up for Direct Deposit?        

Direct Deposit is not mandatory but we strongly encourage students to take advantage of this service. If you decline to sign-up for Direct Deposit and you lose a paper paycheck - there will be a $25.00 stop payment fee imposed before the check can be reissued by the Payroll Office.                                                

Will I receive separate paychecks for each job I hold?

No. If you have more than one job, your total earnings from all jobs will be combined in one payment.

Do I have to submit a time sheet? 

Yes, you must submit the hours you work on a paper time sheet to your supervisor at the end of each pay period. Your supervisor is responsible for forwarding your time sheet to the Student Payroll Office for processing.  Late submissions of time sheets will result in a two week delay in your payment. If you work at Valentine Dining Services or the Catering Department you will have a separate electronic time clock-in procedure for recording your hours.  

How many hours do students normally work each week?

The number of hours you work depends on your academic and extracurricular schedule.  On average, a student works between 3-7 hours per week. We ask that no Amherst College student work more than 20 hours per week while school is in session.

Are there any restrictions on my employment as an International student?       

Yes, according to USCIS regulations, you may NOT work more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session. You may work up to 40 hours per week during break/vacation periods (Thanksgiving, winter, intersession, spring and summer recess). You (not your supervisor) are responsible for making sure you do not exceed the 20 hour limit.  Working more than 20 hours per week while school is in session can jeopardize your visa status.                              

Is there paid Sick Time?

On July 1, 2015 the Commonwealth of Massachusetts established a sick time law which 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

Who do I contact if I have questions about Student Employment?

Nancy Robinson, the Student Employment Coordinator will be happy to assist you with any questions you have about the process. Once you have finished Steps 1-4 in the Step-by-Step Guide for International Student Employment you will need to schedule an appointment to meet with her to complete your work documents. You should drop by the Office of Financial Aid, B-5 Converse Hall to pick-up the required I-9 and tax withholding paperwork/instructions before you schedule an appointment.

What forms will I need to complete during this meeting?

The Department of Homeland Security requires that all employees complete an I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification) form. You will also complete federal and state tax withholding documents. Please your visa, passport, I-20 and the “Receipt for Social Security Application” with you to the meeting along with your banking information so you can complete your Direct Deposit application. If you are a resident of a country that has a tax treaty with the United States (with regards to taxable scholarship), a W-8BEN form will be created for you to sign.

Will I have taxes withheld from my paycheck?            

Yes, Federal tax can be withheld from your paycheck, based on your bi-weekly earnings. Based on your Visa status you will not have Social Security tax or Medicare tax withheld. If you earn less than $8000 per year in wages in Massachusetts and are a full-time student, state taxes will not be withheld.

Will I receive an end-of-year summary of my wages?

Yes, the Payroll Office will notify you about the W-2 wage statement every year at the end of January.        

Will I have to file a Federal Income Tax Return each year?       

Yes. You are required to file a 1040NR or 1040NR-EZ tax return and/or a Form 8843 with the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by April 15th each year. Failure to file the form(s) is a violation of U.S. laws and may jeopardize your future status in the United States. Information about tax return assistance will be provided by the Center for International Student Engagement Office in early March. You can read more about the process at:

Anything else I should know?

Amherst College uses the software program Windstar/ F.N.I.S. (Foreign National Information Systems) to assist with end-of-the-year tax documents we are required to provide. Since your immigration actions and U.S. presence may change the way you are taxed, we request that you provide us with up-to-date information each year so that we may verify your status. It is imperative that you verify and submit electronic approval of your immigration information each year. If you had problems submitting your F.N.I.S. information please contact Nancy Robinson.