Student workers

HR policies and procedures affecting student workers are governed by the Office of Strategic Enrollment Management and Student Services and VCU HR.

VCU hires student workers as wage employees to perform a variety of duties ranging from entry-level service jobs to office support and professional activities. Because the work situations in which the university employs student workers are not standard, hiring departments may set wages within certain parameters.

  • Students must be paid at least minimum wage and may be paid up to $30 an hour. Payment for services rendered must be reasonable and consistently applied, whether the student is in the Federal Work-Study Program, or simply hired as a Student Worker.
  • The hourly rate paid to students must not exceed the hourly rate paid to classified staff performing similar work.
  • Student workers must be enrolled at VCU to be FICA exempt (minimum 6 hours undergraduate credits or 4.5 hours of graduate credits).

Hiring student workers does not require a formal search process. Some VCU departments post student worker vacancies on VCU eJobs; the VCU Career Services also posts vacancies and assists students in locating suitable employment. Student workers are paid on the first of the month for the pay period of the 10th through the 24th and on the 16th of the month for the pay period of the 25th through the 9th. Some student workers will qualify for participation in the Federal Work-Study Program.

Federal hourly minimum

The federal hourly minimum is $7.25 (under the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, effective July 24, 2009). VCU's minimum wage for hourly employees already is above the federal minimum. Pay for students participating in the Federal Work-Study Program must not exceed $15 per hour.

Tax withholding for student workers in the summer

Student workers are not allowed exemptions from paying FICA/Medicare withholding tax if the following conditions apply:

  • They enroll in classes less than half-time (6 undergraduate credit hours; 4.5 graduate credit hours).
  • During the summer, if they attend classes in fewer than eight of the 12 weeks noted in the academic calendar as summer sessions.
  • They have more than a five-week break between classes.

IRS regulations stipulate that all student workers and graduate assistants must be enrolled at the institution at which they are working to be eligible for the FICA exemption. Human resources will automatically change all student workers to Eclass H1 for the summer session. This change will apply the hourly fringe benefit charges to all jobs. If a student worker takes classes during the summer session, the department’s personnel administrator must change the worker’s Eclass back to SW. To change the student's status and Eclass, prepare a Personnel action form as follows:

  • Use the effective date that the student’s class status is changing.
  • In the NBAJOBS section, list the position number and suffix of the student’s job in your department.
  • Send the form to HR Operations through ImageNow.

In summary

  • If student workers are employed in the SW Eclass as shown on NBAJOBS, department budgets will not be charged the hourly fringe rate.
  • If student workers are in the H1 Eclass as shown on NBAJOBS, department budgets will be charged the hourly fringe rate.
  • FICA and Medicare deduction status will continue to be determined by an automated Banner process.