Hiring a Student
The processes and procedures to select a candidate and extend an offer to student employees vary widely across UNC. The following is a general overview of things to consider when hiring a student employee. Your department may have additional requirements or guidelines that you will need to consider and abide by when hiring a student employee.
Any student is eligible to work if they are enrolled full- or part-time in a degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate program – which includes Master’s, Ph.D., and Professional programs. You may need to speak with the student or supervisor directly to verify that the student is currently actively enrolled. This is particularly important when hiring a student employee for a summer position.
International students are permitted to work on-campus as part of their immigration status. There are different types of work authorizations depending on the purpose of employment and the student’s immigration status. Visit the International Student Employment Guide for more information.
Once a student is approved for work-study, the UNC Work-Study Office will communicate via email all the information necessary to process the student employee hire action. This email may be sent directly to the hiring representative or to the supervisor.
Please note, any employer that meets Federal Work-Study requirements is eligible to become a part of the Work-Study Program. Supervisors in the Work-Study Program must be a part of UNC or a community partner who has been approved by the Office of Scholarships & Student Aid. To become part of the program supervisors must:
- Complete annual training on program regulations, rules, and logistics
- Complete annual training on the operation of the JobX system for job posting, application review, and hiring
- Complete an annual quiz over the first two items
- Participate in an annual site visit (community partner’s only)
- Complete an employment agreement contract (community partners only)
- New supervisors are also required to complete a registration form attesting to the completion of all required items prior to gaining access to the JobX system
Visit the UNC Work-Study Prospective Supervisors Home Page to learn more about the program.
Most student employees do not require a background check unless they fall into certain categories. For example, student employees who work with minors or in residential programs will require a background check.
If a background check is required, you as the hiring representative will send the student employee a Candidate Welcome Email and background check invitation. Both emails provide instructions to the student employee on how to complete the background check process. Once initiated, background checks generally take 7-10 business days to complete. Learn more about employee background checks from the UNC Office of Human Resources.
The processes and procedures to select a candidate and extend an offer vary widely across UNC. You may need to work with the supervisor to ensure that the specifics or special considerations in your school or unit are abided by.
Unless hiring a student for a work-study position, in which both an interview and extending an official offer is required, interviewing students and providing an offer letter for a student position is not required. However, it is highly recommended that you or the supervisor create and supply the student you are hiring with an appointment letter. The appointment letter may come from the supervisor or the hiring representative, should contain information relevant to the job and should provide a means by which to ensure that the supervisor and the student are in agreement with the terms of the position. Feel free to use the Appointment Letter Template provided here as a resource or starting point. If you prefer to develop your own appointment letter, ensure that includes the following information:
- Start Date
- End Date
- Pay Rate (indicate hourly or salary)
- Job Classification (i.e., SHRA, EHRA)
- Job Title (i.e., Student Assistant, Graduate Research Assistant, etc.)
If the supervisor is extending an offer to a student, make sure the supervisor knows to inform you so you can initiate the hiring process in ConnectCarolina.
All U.S. employers are responsible for the completion and retention of Form I-9 – Employment Eligibility Verification – for each individual hired after November 6, 1986, for employment in the United States, including citizens and non-citizens. As part of UNC’s employment process, student employees are required to complete a Federal Form I-9 to establish their eligibility to work in the United States before they can start working.
On or before a student employee’s first day of work, you will need to provide them with instructions on how to complete Form I-9 and ensure Section 1 is completed. Within the first three days of starting a job, the student employee will need to present UNEXPIRED and ORIGINAL documents to the appropriate hiring representative to complete Section 2 of the verification. Visit USCIS I-9 Central for a list and examples of acceptable documents. Review the Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Employee Information Sheet for more information.
It is important for all Schools and units to verify students’ employment eligibility and correct any problems before allowing them to work. If students are not in compliance, they must not be allowed to work. Visit Form I-9 Information for Departments for further instructions and access to resources.
Contact the Office of Human Resources I-9 Hotline at (919) 962-0985 for further assistance.
As the hiring representative, you are responsible for instructing and verifying that newly hired student employees have completed the following required forms in ConnectCarolina:
All students regardless of type, are limited to a total of 1.0 FTE (full-time). Please note, if you are hiring a graduate student, be aware that The Graduate School recommends graduate students work no more than 20 hours per week. If you are hiring an international student, be aware that depending on the terms of their immigration status, they may not be able to work more than 20 hours per week.
Please note, if you are hiring a student for a work-study position, they cannot exceed 0.5 FTE in that position.
Students are permitted to hold multiple on-campus jobs. If you are hiring a student employee that is working multiple on-campus jobs, ensure that the combined FTE of all jobs does not exceed 1.0. If you find that your proposed FTE will put the student employee over 1.0, it is advised that you consult with the other department to make the necessary adjustments.
Once the above steps are complete, enter the hire action in ConnectCarolina. Please ensure that the hire action is fully approved within the payroll lockout schedule. Visit the ConnectCarolina Info Computer-Based Training page for more information and instruction for entering actions for Student Originators and Hiring Representatives.