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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.

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.

The number of hours student employees may work varies depending on the type of student and type of job.

  • All students should work no more than 40 hours per week. This includes students holding multiple jobs, in which the combined hours per week should not exceed 40 hours.
  • The Graduate School recommends that graduate student employees work no more than 20 hours per week. Visit the Graduate School Handbook for more information.
  • International students cannot work more than 20 hours per week during the academic year while classes are in session. International student employees may work over 20 hours per week during official University breaks or during the summer if they intend to enroll for the subsequent semester. Visit ISSS for more information.
  • Students holding work-study positions may not work more than 20 hours per week. Visit the Office of Scholarship and Student Aid and review the Frequently Asked Questions document for more information.

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

Learn more about employee background checks from the UNC Office of Human Resources.

All U.S. employers are responsible for the completion and retention of Form I-9 – Employment Eligibility Verification – for each individual hired 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, the hiring representative will need to provide instructions on how to complete Form I-9 to the student employee and ensure section one is completed. Within the first three days of starting a job, the student employee will need to present UNEXPIRED and ORIGINAL documents from the Form I-9 List of Acceptable Documents to the appropriate hiring representative to complete section two of the verification. 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.

Other than Form I-9 there are several other onboarding steps that a student employee must complete before their first day of work. Visit the New Student Employee Checklist for more information.

International students may have additional onboarding steps to complete before they can be hired and before their first day of work. Visit the International Student Employment Guide for more information.

The International Student Employment Guide provides an overview of and instructions for navigating the student employment process for international students as well as supervisors or hiring representatives involved in hiring an international student.

Visit International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) for more information or to speak with an advisor regarding on-campus student employment.

Visit the Office of Scholarship and Student Aid for detailed information for on-campus work-study employers as well as information for students interested in or already holding work-study jobs.

In order for a student employee to appropriately receive a paycheck for time worked, the following items must be completed:

  • Student employee completes Form I-9 via ConnectCarolina AND has their UNEXPIRED and ORIGINAL documents from the list of acceptable documents verified by a hiring representative on their first day or work.
  • Student employee sets up or updates direct deposit information.
  • Student employee completes Form W-4, Form NC-4, and other tax forms. Please note that international students must submit paper copies of their tax forms to ISSS or Payroll Services. Visit the International Student Employment Guide for more information.
  • Student employee appropriately logs hours in TIM. Please note that graduate students in academic positions may not be required to log hours in TIM.
  • Supervisor approves student employees timecard in TIM before the payroll lockout date.

Graduate student employees may be eligible for tuition and fee awards based on their appointment type and other criteria. Visit The Graduate School for more information.

Graduate students working in academic positions may be eligible for the Graduate Student Health Insurance Plan (GSHIP). Eligible students are enrolled by their individual academic departments and must waive out of the mandatory Student Blue plan offered to all other UNC students. For more information on eligibility requirements and instructions on how to enroll visit The Graduate School or Campus Health.

Please note all UNC students are required to have health insurance coverage. For those students not eligible for GSHIP, there is a cost-effective UNC-sponsored Student Health Insurance Plan available to students that covers most health care expenses not covered by the Campus Health Fee. Visit Campus Health for more information on mandatory health insurance.

Student employees are not eligible to receive vacation or sick leave. Although student employees are not eligible to receive vacation or sick leave, there are days throughout the year when UNC is closed in recognition of national holidays. When UNC is closed for a holiday, student employees are not required to report to work. For more information and a list of holidays review the UNC Holiday Schedule.

Additionally, it is important to note that student employees are NOT considered mandatory employees. In the event that classes are canceled but the University has reduced or suspended operations, student employees are not required to report to work. For more information on adverse weather and emergency closings, review the UNC System’s Adverse Weather and Emergency Event Policy.

Student employee earnings, including earnings in a work-study job, generally are taxable as income for federal and state income tax purposes. Visit the following resources for more information:

  • Taxes For Students: General information for student employees
  • The Graduate School: Tax information for graduate students
  • Payroll Services: General tax information for students
  • ISSS: Tax information for international students

Student employees may be exempt from paying FICA taxes if they meet certain eligibility criteria established by the IRS. It is important to note that if a student employee’s student status changes, for instance, if they continue to work over the summer, their FICA exemption may change. Review UNC’s policy regarding FICA exemptions for students for more information.

Student employees with concerns about discrimination or harassment connected to their employment with UNC should contact the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office.