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.

In this Q&A:

General Employment Questions:

Wage Questions:

COVID-Related Questions:

Student Address Questions:

What jobs are available?

  • Our Student Employment job database has dozens of jobs available on and off campus, plus listings for internships. Most Cornell departments offer hourly student job opportunities.
  • Job positions and responsibilities vary, and wages range from $13.20-$22.95 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.

How do I accept, reduce, or decline my Federal Work Study award?

  • You need to actively accept, reduce, or decline offers for Federal Work Study (FWS) through your Student Center. For instructions on how to accept/decline FWS, please review this tutorial. FWS cannot be earned and your employer will not be able to confirm your federal work study eligibility until this has been completed.

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

  • Although some Cornell departments can afford to hire only Federal Work Study (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.

How do I request a Social Security Number (SSN)?

  • Social Security numbers (SSNs) are required for all employees (citizens and noncitizens) working in the United States.
  • Please visit the Office of Global Learning's International Services website for guidance on applying for an SSN.
  • Once you have obtained your Social Security Number, please update this information in person or by fax (607-255-6262) with the Office of the University Registrar, in order to accurately process year-end tax documents in compliance with legal requirements.
    • Please note: Cornell University will never ask for anyone to send Social Security information via email.

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.
  • We recommend students set up direct deposit, rather than receive a check by mail.

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.

Can students work remotely?

  • Students can work either remotely, or in person, if so approved by their employer.
    • Remote workers must continue to demonstrate professionalism and comply with University policies.
  • Off-campus work within the U.S. is permitted for F-1 or J-1 student workers as long as they are paid by Cornell, and the student maintains valid immigration status and is an active Cornell student.
  • Working remotely outside the United States is generally not permitted. The university has developed a narrow framework of options for engaging qualified international student workers who will remain in their home countries for the fall semester. Please note that some options will require prior approval by the employers Department Chair or Dean.

How do I complete my I-9 Form for Employment Eligibility Verification?

  • The Department of Homeland Security requires that all new employees complete the Form I-9 within 72 hours of the first day of work.  You must present original, unexpired documents to verify your identity and employment authorization to work in the United States.
  • Once you have been hired and your employer has created your Workday profile, you can sign-in using your NetID and password.
    • On your Workday dashboard, select the Inbox icon in the upper right-hand corner; this is where you will find your action items.
    • Follow the prompts in your Workday Inbox to complete Section 1 of the Form I-9.
    • To complete Section 2, you must contact your employing department to schedule a time to meet in person.

Will I be required to wear a face covering while working?

If I am working in a Cornell-owned building or facility, will face coverings be provided?

  • Yes. In accordance with New York state emergency regulations, Cornell will provide face coverings to employees working on-site. Contact your supervisor to secure a face covering for use at work.

If I am unable to work due to COVID, will I still be paid?

  • Students are entitled to paid leave if they are scheduled to work and not able to work remotely during the dates of quarantine or isolation.  Cornell Health will provide an email that outlines next steps for ensuring paid leave, if eligible.  Students who were previously unable to work scheduled hours due to quarantine or isolation, please contact the respective HR Representative for your employing college/unit.

What address is stored in Workday and how can it be updated?

  • Students cannot update their address directly in Workday.  Peoplesoft is the data of record for student address information and can be updated by the student via Student Essentials.  Workday pulls the 'Local Residential' address from Student Essentials on a nightly basis and updates both the Home Address and the Work Address fields in Workday.

What address should be used in Workday?

  • Students should update their 'Local Residential' address in Student Essentials as the address where they currently reside (typically an Ithaca, NY address).  This is the address where students will be taxed for their Cornell student employment job and as such, this is the address that will display on their W-2.

Shouldn't my Home Address in Workday be my actual home address (vs my Ithaca address)?

  • If Workday reflected your home address (ex. California), taxes would be incorrectly reported to California, instead of New York.  As a result, when you receive your W-2 at year end, you would be required to pay taxes to California even though you did not actually earn wages in that state.  By having your local address as Ithaca, NY, for example, you will only be taxed in NY.

Which address is used for my paycheck?

  • The only address that Workday pulls from Peoplesoft is the Local Residential address. If the Local Residential address is listed as your local residence (which is advised) your paycheck will go to this address.
  • If you wish to have your final paycheck sent to a different location (for example your parent's address) then you can update your 'Local Residential' address in Student Essentials accordingly.
    • This change must occur before your final check is created (typically 5 days before payday).