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Student Employment Requirements

For this handbook, the term “student employee” refers to students who are working for PSU in a position that requires student status and are paid wages through the University.  Student employees may perform work on or off-campus. PSU is the single employer of record for student employees even if the student provides services to more than one department. The student status requirements, which a supervisor is responsible monitoring, are outlined below.

Academic Credit Requirements

To be eligible for student employment, undergraduate students must be enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours per term.  Graduate students must be enrolled in 5 credit hours per term.

Exceptions to Minimum Credit Requirements:  If a student is in the final term before graduation and needs fewer credits to graduate than the minimum number required to work on campus (for example, if a student is taking a “thesis” term), or if a student has a medical leave as determined by the Office of Registration & Records, the student does not need to meet the credit requirement.  Appeals should be made to the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs or designee. This exception does not apply to students who are awarded Federal Work Study.

Academic Probation or Academic Warning:  Students on Academic Probation or Academic Warning may still work on campus so long as they meet the credit requirements.

Term Off

Student employees may work while not enrolled for a maximum of one term per calendar year.  This is commonly referred to as a “grace term” or “term off.” This is typically taken during the summer term; however the student’s first term working for the University cannot be the student’s term off.  Back-to-back terms off are not allowed. Students should inform their supervisor in writing in advance of their planned “term off.” Federal Work Study Program student employees must get permission from the Director of Financial Aid or designee to take a term off other than Summer term.

Academic Withdrawal:  If a student employee withdraws from the University, the student’s employment as a “student employee” must end by the close of the pay period during which the student withdrew. Supervisors should make clear to student employees that it is the student’s responsibility to communicate changes in enrollment status to their supervisors.  If the student drops all classes and continues working, the position must be changed to a temporary appointment. For more information on these options, contact Human Resources.

Graduation:  Graduating student employees may continue working in a student appointment through the end of the pay period in which graduation falls, but not beyond. Graduating students pre-registered or admitted for classes at Portland State University (e.g., graduate school) may remain a student employee during the intervening term. Rules for international students may be different and the Office of International Affairs should be contacted with any questions.

A note about Post Baccalaureate and Non-Degree-Seeking Students:  PSU recognizes that students enrolled at PSU are at all stages of their educational careers, and there are many students who continue at the University after graduation in post-baccalaureate or non-degree-seeking status.  These students must continue to meet the academic credit requirements to be eligible to hold student employment positions, and supervisors should regularly monitor their student employees who are not in matriculated programs.  PSU is primarily focused on supporting the employment of students who are working to complete degree programs.

Academic Eligibility Check

The following instructions are provided in order to determine if your selected applicant for employment meets the minimum student enrollment requirements:

  • To check term registration in BANNER, go to the screen SFAREGF.
  • Enter the term code and the student’s ID and then page down to see their term registration (and grades if a requirement).  Look at “total credit hours”.  Half time for Undergraduate and Post-baccalaureate students is 6, for Graduate students it’s 5.
  • If you do not have access to the SFAREGF screen, you may request access through the RBAR (Role-Based Access Request) form. The form is available through HR at:
  • In Banner use the form SFAREGQ. Input the four digit year followed by 01 for Winter term, 02 for Spring term, 03 for Summer term or 04 for Fall term. For example: 201202 would be Winter term 2012.

If you are hiring for a Federal Work Study position, check that the prospective employee has a Certificate of Eligibility verifying their financial aid award. Be aware that this document has an expiration date, usually October 31of each academic year, and that the award may no longer be available after this date. Federal regulations require that position descriptions be prepared and filed annually with Financial Aid for each job that Federal Work Study position students fill.


“Student employees” at PSU are “at will” employees.  This means that either the student employee or the University may terminate the employment relationship without notice, at any time, and for any reason not prohibited by law.  A supervisor of a student employee may not change the “at-will” nature of the employment relationship. 

Please note: State and federal law limit the circumstances in which an employer can terminate the employment relationship. For example, an employer may not terminate or otherwise adversely affect the employment of its employees, including student employees, on the basis of a protected classification (e.g., because of the employee’s race, color, national origin, sex, religion, sexual orientation, among others) or for reporting the employer’s illegal conduct.  Supervisors are required to participate in the Learning Module “Creating a Culture of Respect: Preventing Prohibited Discrimination and Harassment,” which addresses the protected classifications.  Supervisors should also be mindful about the acceptable practices for ending the employment relationship with student employees in a professional manner.  See section “What Happens if it Doesn’t Work Out” for further information, or contact Human Resources.