Questions? We have answers…

Here are frequently asked questions about student employment opportunities offered by Cornell. Visit our Federal Work Study page for specific questions about this program.

What jobs are available?

Our Student Employment database has literally dozens of jobs available on and off campus, plus listings for internships. Most Cornell departments offer hourly student job opportunities. Other jobs can be found in the local community in retail, hospitality, and with non-profit organizations.

Job positions and responsibilities vary, and wages range from $11.80-$21.55 an hour. Check out our wages and classifications page to get a better idea of the types of jobs offered.

Am I guaranteed a job?

Cornell does not place students in jobs and no job at Cornell is guaranteed. Ultimately, it is up to you to conduct a job search, apply for jobs, interview, and be hired. Although Cornell is an "at will" employer (meaning any job can be terminated with or without cause at any time), our employers strive to retain students who prove they are skilled, hard-working, and dedicated employees.

How can I get a research position?

You don’t need to be a scientist or engineer to get involved in research. There are many diverse opportunities at Cornell for undergrad research, positions that help teach you about a subject or field you are interested in, while providing new skills. Visit the Cornell Office of Undergraduate Research to get started.

Can foreign national students work?

Visa status and treaty agreements stipulate employment eligibility for international students. Most students with F1 and J1 visa status are eligible to work on-campus up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. The International Services site provides detailed information and special restrictions related to employment eligibility.

The Payroll web page provides tax information, including the Foreign National Questionnaire.

When can you work?

Part-time jobs are available during the academic year, the summer, and during spring and winter breaks. Some jobs are short-term; others may last a semester or the entire academic year. Students work during free time between classes, or at the end of the day, during the evening, or only on weekends. Some employers offer flexible work schedules; others require a fixed schedule to meet department needs. Students are not permitted to work during scheduled class times.

How many hours should you work?

You make that decision based on your class schedule, extra-curricular, sports, and volunteer activities – balanced with your need to earn money. While classes are in session we recommend that an undergraduate student work no more than 20 hours per week, but may work full-time during the summer and vacation breaks.

Per the Graduate Code of Legislation, a full time graduate student may work up to 20 hours of combined assistantship, hourly student appointments, and/or outside employment per week.

What are students paid?

The Cornell Student Job and Wage Classification System governs student positions and wages. Hourly jobs are categorized into four classification levels depending on job responsibilities, required skills and experience, level of supervision, and degree of decision-making. Your hourly wage is also based on equity within the department. Each position level has a wage range for new hires.

How are you paid?

Hourly employees are paid bi-weekly by submitting their hours worked through the Workday time collection system. Your earnings are not credited to your Bursar bill. The money earned is yours to spend as needed to help meet your educational expenses. You are paid through direct deposit into your personal bank account or by a payroll check. Cornell Payroll Pay Calendars can be found online through the Division of Financial Affairs.  A Cornell NetID login is required.

Do student employees get raises?

Departments are encouraged, but not required, to give raises based on merit. Additionally, some employees may receive a pay increase with a corresponding increase in job responsibilities.

Are student wages taxed?

All wages, including Federal Work-Study wages, are considered taxable income. While classes are in session, FICA (social security) tax is not assessed, but federal and state taxes are applied depending on citizenship, amount earned each pay period, and the number of deductions claimed on your W4. Some foreign nationals may be exempt from certain taxes as determined by completing the Foreign National Questionnaire. For more information, please visit the University Tax website.

Is "Employment Earnings Expectation" in my package the same as Federal Work Study?

No. Federal Work Study (FWS) eligibility is determined by an individual’s financial situation and eligibility for federal financial aid. While not every student is eligible for FWS, students can still be eligible to work in the same or similar positions that will allow you to earn a specific amount to help meet your expenses. If you have “Employment Earnings Expectation” your employer is not reimbursed for a portion of your wages.

Are there jobs for students without Federal Work Study (FWS)?

Although some Cornell departments can afford to hire only FWS students, most employers want to hire the best applicant regardless of FWS eligibility. Three quarters of Cornell's student jobs are non-work-study, which means the department pays 100% of your wages.