Financial Aid

Student Employment

See also:


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. The following is information about student employment in academic year 2006-07.

Finding A Job

Students are responsible for finding their own jobs. To do this, you should go to the department in which you are interested and talk directly to the person in that department who is responsible for student hiring. The major student employers include Dining Services, Frost Library, and the Physical Plant. Other employers include Mead Art Museum, Post Office, Campus Police, Athletic Department, Dean of Students Office, Admission Office, Alumni Office, Language Laboratory, Music Library, Career Center, and many of the academic offices.

Vacancy notices from academic and administrative departments are posted on a bulletin board outside the Office of Financial Aid.

Departments which employ student workers are asked to give priority in the first two weeks of the fall semester to hiring students who are eligible for Federal Work-Study (or other need-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 www.fivecolleges.edu/america_reads. Contact the Office of Financial Aid to obtain an application to apply for off-campus FWS employment.

I-9 Form and Employment Authorization Form

Every student who intends to work on campus must complete an I-9 Form in accordance with federal requirements under the Federal Immigration Reform and Control Act. You must also provide appropriate forms of identification and documentation of your eligibility to be employed in the United States. The procedures mandated in the law apply to all student employees, regardless of their citizenship status.

A student who completes an I-9 Form will be given (or sent to the campus post office box) an Employment Authorization Form (EAF) by the Office of Financial Aid. This form will certify your eligibility for employment to a potential employer on campus. I-9 Forms are available in the Office of Financial Aid.

Payroll Responsibilities

All students who work on campus must file a Federal W-4 (or W-4A) Form (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate) and a Massachusetts M-4 form with the Office of Financial Aid. W-4 and M-4 Forms are available in the Office of Financial Aid.

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 2005 and whose total earnings for 2006 will be less than $5,150 (or $8,200, if no one else is eligible to claim him or her as a dependent for income tax purposes) may claim "exempt" status. However, if such a student has more than $300 in unearned income (e.g., interest or dividend income), he or she may not claim "exempt" status if total income from all sources will exceed $850 for the calendar year.

You must refile a W-4 Form annually to claim "exempt" status.

Student employees who qualify for "exempt" status will have nothing withheld from their earnings for federal and state income taxes. Social Security tax (F.I.C.A.) is not withheld from student earnings on-campus during the academic year. F.I.C.A. taxes must be withheld from any off-campus earnings and summer employment.

To be paid, you must complete a payroll time sheet every two weeks. The due dates for time sheets are listed on the back of the forms, which should be available from your employer. You should complete and sign your time sheet and give it to your supervisor for signature. Your supervisor will submit it to the Office of Financial Aid. Time sheets submitted after the due date or which are incomplete will result in a two-week delay in the issuance of a paycheck.

Earnings Authorization

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. With the approval of your supervisor, you can regulate your working hours so that your total earnings do not exceed the authorized earnings level.

If You Exceed the Authorized Level

If you earn more than your authorized level, you should contact the Office of Financial Aid so that we may determine whether your earnings authorization can be increased. Except in the instance of off-campus Work-Study positions,you may continue working beyond the authorized level. 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 $750 to $1,600 for first-year students and $950 to $1,800 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.
  • 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.)
  • 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.