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Index > Student Financial Services > Student Employee Pay Policy

Student Employee Pay Policy


This policy is intended to assist student workers and their supervisors in complying with all relevant RISD policies and prevailing federal/state/local/international work and tax regulations.


The Foreign National Information System ("FNIS") is used to determine if foreign nationals have any tax benefits based on country of origin, length of stay, type of visa, and type of earnings . It searches for any applicable tax treaties and/or exemptions that can be applied directly to the foreign national’s pay. All students earning wages except for legal permanent residents must complete the FNIS application.


Students work for a variety of reasons. Some need their earnings to meet the basic costs of a RISD education. Some recognize that the skills and work habits gained on the job will benefit them when they seek full-time employment. Other students use their earnings for social activities. While priority is given to students with Federal Work-Study funding, all students have the opportunity to work on campus given certain circumstances such as a department looking for a student with a special skill set or if a department is unable to fill the position with a student that has Federal Work-Study.

All students must be paid on the RISD student payroll and complete electronic time cards to receive payment. THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS to this policy regardless of the account used (i.e., student labor account, faculty grants, restricted accounts, etc.).

A check request to the accounts payable office to pay a student for their labor is not acceptable. Check requests may only be used to reimburse a student for supplies that are purchased for a department or office. Students who purchase supplies as part of their job should check with the department for proper procedures and must save all receipts for submission with a reimbursement request. Supervisors should contact the Accounts Payable Department for details concerning reimbursement.


Eligibility to Work
All students must complete a W-4 payroll form o set up their tax status and electronic time card, as well as an i-9 form proving identity and eligibility to work. This must be done with the Student Employment Office before they begin working. Please refer to the list of acceptable documents for the i-9 form.

Time Recording
All time worked must be recorded on electronic time cards in order for a student to be paid. Students must complete separate electronic time cards for work done in different departments or offices as well as for different jobs within the same department. All electronic time cards should be completed and submitted every Friday to be approved on a timely basis by the appropriate supervisor. If a supervisor is not on campus on a required deadline date, it is acceptable for an alternate supervisor to authorize the time card.

Tax Withholding
International students must also have payroll forms on file. If a student is from a country with which the U.S. has a tax treaty, the student will be exempt from paying taxes on some or all of their earnings in the U.S. Tax treaty countries have earnings limits which should be noted. All international students will utilize the FNIS to determine their tax status. After completing the FNIS questionnaire, international students must visit the Student Employment Office to sign their forms.

The Payroll system will automatically distinguish between students who will receive a W-2 form at the end of the calendar year and international students who are working under tax treaty provisions and will receive a 1042-S at the end of the calendar year.

Students will receive one bi-weekly paycheck for the total of their hours worked. The current payroll system does not allow employees to submit retroactive requests for payment from a previous period. All time must be submitted at the end of the work week.

Students may never work over 40 hours per week in all their jobs combined. The workweek begins on a Saturday and ends on the following Friday. No student may work more than six continuous hours without at least a 30-minute unpaid break and it should be reflected on the time card.

Please go to Workday to review how-to guides and job aids for student workers.

Revision history

This policy was last reviewed/modified on: 10/18/2022

Next scheduled review: Annually on September 1st or as required by law.


Issuing Office

Student Employment Office

Responsible Officer

Vice President, Enrollment and Student Affairs

Individuals/offices required for review and changes

Director, Student Employment

Payroll Manager

Director, Financial Aid