International Student Employment - Questions & Answers

Am I eligible to work at Amherst College?

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.

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 Center for International Student Engagement 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: https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/student_employment/jobs

Will there be a central location to meet prospective employers?

Please Note: Due to campus restrictions, the Student Employment Fair will not take place in the Fall of 2020.

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 https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/our-community/international/employment-taxes.

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?        

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.                                              

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 to your supervisor at the end of each pay period. Your supervisor is responsible for forwarding your hours to the Student Payroll Office for processing.  Late submissions of hours 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.

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.

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. 

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. 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: https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/our-community/international/employment-taxes

Anything else I should know?

Notification of the F.N.I.S. process will occur later in the 2020 Fall semester.

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.