Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. If you have a specific question you need assistance with, we encourage you to post your question on the NSEA Discussion Board or the NSEA listserv.



  • What do I need to know as a student employment professional regarding the Affordable Care Act?
    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is federal legislation passed in 2010. Under the law, large employers such as colleges and universities must offer health insurance plans to employees working 30 or more hours per week. The Internal Revenue Service published rules for the Affordable Care Act in February 2014. The rules exempt Federal Work Study (FWS) student employees from the law, but not non-FWS student employees. The final rules allow institutions to set a look-back period of up to 12 months during which time a student worker would have to average 30 hours a week in order to qualify. Student employment personnel should check with their human resource offices and/or legal counsels to determine the length of their institutions look-back period. In addition, student employment personnel should ensure they have the ability to track weekly hours worked by all non-FWS student employees.

    The American Council on Education (ACE) and a group of seven higher education associations have endorsed two bills that would exempt full-time students from the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate: The Student Worker Exemption Act of 2014 (H.R. 5262) and the Student Job Protection Act of 2014 (H.R. 5298). Both bills were introduced on 7/30/14 and have been referred to the House Committee on Ways and Means.

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  • Where can I find information on Form I-9 and E-verify?
    Please visit the E-Verify and Form I-9 page on the U.S. Citizenship and immigration Services website. Specific instructions for employers completing Form I-9 are available in the U.S.C.I.S. Handbook for Employers. If you are an NSEA member, you can view a list of members who participate in E-verify by conducting a search under the Member Services section of the NSEA website. To execute the search, select E-Verify under the Programs you Administer submenu.

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  • How can I find information on starting a National Student Employment Week celebration on my campus?
    The best place to find information is right here on the NSEA website. Please view our online National Student Employment Week Information and Activities Packet for information on how to organize your resources, how to plan a budget, ideas for advertising and public relations activities, a timetable and a sample nomination form. An internet search on "Student Employment Week" will also provide guidance on how other colleges and universities celebrate National Student Employment Week.

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  • How does the federal government define student employee?
    The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) defines the term "employ" very broadly as including to "suffer or permit to work." Covered and non-exempt individuals who are "suffered or permitted" to work must be compensated under the law for the services they perform for an employer. The Internal Revenue Code, however, defines a student employee as "an employee who performs services in the employ of a school, college, or university as an incident to and for the purpose of pursuing a course of study at the school, college, or university has the status of a student in the performance of those services." (IRC section 3121(b)(10)).

    Internal Revenue Notice 2004-12 Section 7. Definitions provides guidelines for schools to aid in determining whether an employee qualifies as a student. The Notice generally provides that an individual who is either a half-time undergraduate or half-time graduate student at the institution of higher education and who is not a "career employee" will be considered as regularly attending classes and therefore eligible for the student FICA exception.

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  • Where can I find data or information on the benefits of being a part-time student employee while attending college?
    Publications addressing the theory, research and practice of student development in college often overlook the impact of work on the college student experience. However, the following books and/or publications have briefly addressed the impact of work on college student performance and satisfaction. This list is not all-encompassing and is only meant to provide a good starting point:
    Astin, A. (1993) What Matters in College? Four Critical Years Revisited. San
      Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

    Cuccaro-Alamin, S. & Choy, S.P. (1998). Postsecondary financing strategies: How
      undergraduate combine work, borrowing and attendance.
    Washington, D.C.
      Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.

    National Postsecondary Education Cooperative. (July 2006). What Matters to
      Student Success: A Review of the Literature.
    Commissioned Report for the
      National Symposium on Postsecondary Stdent Success: Spearheading a
      Dialog on Student Success. Retrieved from
      http://nces.ed.gov/npec/pdf/kuh_team_report.pdf

    Pascarella, E. & Terenzini, P. (1991). How college affects students: Findings and
      insights from twenty years of research.
    San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
      Publishers.

    Terenzini, P., Springer, L., Yaeger, P., Pascarella, E, and Nora, A. (1996). First
      generation college students: Characteristics, experiences, and cognitive
      development.
    Research in Higher Education, 37 (1).

    Tinto, V. (1987). Leaving College: Rethinking the causes and cures of student
      attrition.
    Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
    As an NSEA member, you have access to Student Employment: Linking College and the Workplace Monograph (published in 1996). The Monograph explores how "Student employment links elements of financial aid, career development, academic learning, experiential education, and personal development".

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  • Can my institution make direct deposit a mandatory requirement for student employees?
    Federal Work-Study regulations prohibit employers from mandating direct deposit for Federal Work Study students. Federal Work-Study students can actively authorize direct deposit of their pay, but they cannot be mandated to participate in direct deposit.

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  • What are the basic guidelines for International Students? How many hours can they work?
    F-1 student may work at any qualifying on-campus job that does not displace a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident. F-1 students must not exceed 20 hours of work a week while school is in session, with one rare exception.* They may work full-time during those periods when school is not in session or during student's annual break, as long as they are enrolling full-time the next semester.

    * The only exception is if the Secretary of DHS suspends this requirement, by means of a Federal Register notice, due to emergent circumstances. The student must demonstrate to you that the extra work is necessary because the emergent circumstance has affected his or her source of support.

    For more additional information on regulations governing international student employees, please visit the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement website at: http://www.ice.gov/sevis/employment/.

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  • Are student employees eligible for unemployment compensation benefits?
    Most states disqualify student employees from unemployment compensation benefits if attending school. States vary in how they establish definitions of a student, as well as how they distinguish between part-time and full-time students for the purposes of unemployment compensation benefits eligibility. In addition, states differ in how they establish these policies, whether through statute, regulation, or case law. For these reasons, it is best to check with your institutions' legal counsel to determine if student employees in your state are eligible for unemployment compensation benefits.

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  • How do you classify reading tutors who are placed in public elementary and secondary schools? Do tutors fall under literacy or do they qualify under community service?
    If your literacy program is open to the public, then it is also considered community service. In order to be considered community service, the job has to be in an area that is "open, accessible and used by the community at large." A school population is not considered "open, accessible and used by the community at large," and therefore, in this context, is not considered a community. For additional information, please review Financial Student Aid Handbook, Vol. 6, Chapter 2:
    http://ifap.ed.gov/fsahandbook/attachments/1415FSAHandbookVol6Ch2.pdf.

    You should also review Segment V on the FISAP instructions. Math and Reading totals for literacy are also to be included in the Community Service totals.

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  • Are most student employment offices affiliated with career services, human resources or financial aid? Or are most student employment office stand-alone offices?
    The student employment landscape is varied and ever-changing. As a result, trying to get an accurate picture of where the majority of student employment offices reside can be a daunting task. However, as a member of NSEA, you can conduct a search in the Membership Directory to view current NSEA members and their office affiliations. Simply conduct a search under the Member Services section of the NSEA website. To execute the search, select Search the Membership Directory and then select the appropriate category under Office Affiliations. This search will serve as a good starting point for determining where some student employment offices reside.

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