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Financial Aid Department

Student Employment Center

Student Employment Handbook

Section 1: Introduction to Student Employment

Student Employment Center: Introduction and Mission

The Student Employment Center is a free resource for Western Washington University students seeking part-time employment to help pay the high costs of college. The Center posts jobs online for both On-Campus and Off-Campus employment, including Work Study and Non-Work Study positions. We strive to provide students with the opportunity to explore career options, fund their education, and gain valuable experience.

This Handbook has been designed specifically to cover policies and procedures pertinent to WWU student employees. If you have any questions about employment policy or procedure please contact the Student Employment Center, located in Old Main 275 at 360-650-3158.

The mission of the Student Employment Center is to provide a reasonable opportunity for all WWU students who desire work, to find and obtain part-time or temporary On- or Off-Campus employment.


The purpose of the Student Employment Center at Western is to:

  • Provide quality student work and leadership opportunities.
  • Educate students about the benefits of accessing these opportunities.

These goals are accomplished by:

  • Emphasizing paraprofessionalism (40% of On-Campus positions are paraprofessional).
  • Offering a diverse choice of opportunities.
  • Helping supervisors to understand their role as educators.
  • Underlying the philosophical goals of the student work program, which place the needs of the student first.

Principles of Student Employment

Western Washington University is committed to assisting as many students as possible by providing both On- and Off-Campus employment opportunities based on the following:

  • Student work experience enhances the educational development and growth of students by providing work-related learning experiences.
  • Student work experience provides professional or practical training in the major areas of student academic pursuits.
  • Student work experience is a vital part of the financial aid program and provides assistance to students who might not otherwise be able to attend or afford college.

Services and Responsibilities of the Student Employment Center

The Student Employment Center has been designated with the responsibility of administering the student employment program at Western Washington University.

Services provided by the Center include:

  • maintaining a centralized listing of all On- and Off-Campus student work opportunities.
  • actively developing quality On and Off Campus work experiences for students.
  • advising and assisting supervisors of student employees.
  • promoting the value of community service by serving as a listing service for agencies needing volunteers.

Administrative Responsibilities include:

  • Administering the Student Employment Center Policies and Procedures.
  • Reviewing job duties and responsibilities with hiring authorities for the purpose of determining proper classification.
  • Determining the eligibility of students seeking On- and Off-Campus Work Study positions.
  • Referring Work Study students to positions that complement their academic or career goals.
  • Assuring that the work experience program provides meaningful and equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, marital status, sex, age, physical ability, sexual orientation, Vietnam era or disabled veteran status.

Discrimination Complaint Procedure

Members of the WWU community have access to several avenues for resolving concerns or complaints. The office to contact or procedures to use varies according to the type of concern and the complainant’s status as a faculty member, employee, or student. The Equal Opportunity Center is the primary internal resource for processing complaints of illegal discrimination. No individual shall be penalized, or retaliated against in any way by a member of the University community for his or her participation in this complaint procedure. To request this publication in an alternate format, call the Equal Opportunity Office.

Equal Opportunity Office Old Main 345 — MS9021
Western Washington University
Voice: 360-650-3307
Washington Relay: 711
Fax: 360-650-6311

Link to discrimination procedure information

Affirmative Action Policy

Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy

The following link will direct you to Western Washington's Sexual Harassment Prevention Policy.

Drug-Free Work Place

The Federal Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989 require that universities promote a drug-free workplace and environment through adoption and implementation of policies and procedures concerning alcohol and other drugs. These policies and procedures are designed to educate the university community about the dangers of substance abuse. All student employees are required to abide by the state and federal laws governing the possession, manufacture, distribution, dispensing, sale and use of controlled substances while on university property or while involved in university business or activities.

Section 2: Types of Student Employment

Work Opportunities for Undergraduates and Graduate Students

There are many options for work opportunities for both undergraduate and graduate students. 


They are:

  • Institutionally Funded Employment
  • Work Study Funded Employment
    • On-Campus
    • Off-Campus
  • Off-Campus Non-Work Study
  • Internships
  • Volunteering

On Campus Institutionally Funded

Each department may be allocated funds within its operational budget for hiring student employees. These funds are intended to be used as training for students in their major area of academic pursuit and for jobs that provide for individual growth and development.

Students are employed in positions in virtually all areas of the University. These positions are open to all students enrolled at least half-time. In addition to regular hourly positions, salaried and non-uniform rate (per-job basis) positions are included in this category.


Internship/Cooperative Education opportunities, either for pay, academic credit or on a volunteer basis, offer supervised work experiences relevant to a student's academic or career goals. The Career Services Center serves as a liaison between faculty, students and employers in coordinating and disseminating information regarding these opportunities. For more information, contact the Career Services Center in Old Main 280, call 360-650-3240, or visit the Career Services Center website.


The Student Employment Center provides information and services for a wide range of volunteer/community service opportunities. These experiences offer students a chance to strengthen their college experience through public service in a field that relates to their educational goals.

Students interested in volunteering Off-Campus may view the volunteer positions from the SEC webpage and selecting “Volunteer Opportunities” for a link to various postings and other local resources.

Volunteering at Western:

Departments who desire to have a student volunteer provide a service on behalf of the university are encouraged to register the volunteer with Human Resources to ensure they have limited worker’s compensation and liability coverage. To qualify, volunteers must meet the definition as described by law (RCW 51.12.035). For additional information, please view the Human Resources Volunteer Registration Program website.

Per federal regulations with the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), students may not volunteer to perform the same type of job duties for which they are already employed in a paid position.  It is the hiring official’s responsibility to ensure a paid student employee is not volunteering for a position that holds the same job duties as one in which the student is already employed. When the Volunteer Application for a student is submitted to Human Resources, a check for an active employment position will be performed. If it is determined that the student is also a student employee, Human Resources will forward the application to Student Employment to ensure the student does not hold a position with comparable job duties.  Once their process is complete, Student Employment will return the volunteer application to Human Resources for HR's internal approval process. HR will notify the department once the volunteer has been approved.

The supervisor of a volunteer student employee is responsible for ensuring the student registers with the Western Volunteer Program and submits his/her hours to Human Resources on the Volunteer Time Sheet.

Work Study Funded

Work Study is a type of financial aid; therefore, student employees utilizing Work Study funds are limited to the amount they can earn, depending on their award.  This earnings limit is determined by the Financial Aid office and is dependent upon the student’s financial aid eligibility and allocation of funds.  Eligibility must be re-determined each year.

After the initial award is determined, revisions may be made to the student’s award.  For example, the amount may be decreased or increased (upon request) due to changes in the student’s eligibility.


Federal Work Study

The Federal Work Study Program was established by the federal government to provide employment opportunities for students who need to work in order to meet basic educational expenses. Students earning Financial Aid under Work Study funds are placed, whenever possible, in positions that provide educational experience and/or allow for career exploration. Student eligibility for participation in this program is based on “need” as determined by the Financial Aid Department. Students must complete the FAFSA to apply.  FAFSA is available on the web at There is a priority deadline of January 31st for this application.

Under Federal Work Study, the federal government pays a percentage of the student’s wages. For state-supported budgets, the institution meets the additional percentage from a general institutional matching fund. If the student earns under a self-supporting budget, that budget will be charged the unpaid 25% percentage of the student’s wages.

State Work Study

Eligibility for the State Work Study Program is based on the same need criteria used for Federal Work Study. The State program places an even stronger emphasis on placing students in career-related, paraprofessional positions. Like Federal, the State program pays a percentage of the student’s wages.

Under State Work Study, the state government pays a percentage of the student's wages. For state-supported budgets, the institution meets the additional percentage from a general institutional matching fund. If the student earns under a self-supporting budget, that budget will be charged the unpaid 40% of the student's wages.

Undergraduates may be employed On-Campus under State Work Study in specific paraprofessional positions. Eligible SWSP (State Work Study) positions must have responsibilities that primarily involve:

  • assisting a professor in instructing a class;
  • tutoring;
  • grading;
  • research; or
  • counseling on a paraprofessional level.

Graduate Work Study

Graduate students who are awarded State Work Study are assigned responsibilities similar to Graduate Assistants. Graduate Work Study students are paid by the hour; their pay rate is based on the current salaries of departmentally–funded Graduate Assistants.

Off-Campus Work Study

The Off-Campus Work Study Program allows students with demonstrated financial need to receive work experience in their projected career field. Under this program, Western students are placed in positions in the community which complement their academic and career goals. Positions are developed with both non-profit agencies and private businesses. Students may also be placed as tutors in the local public schools, in an Adult Literacy Program, or in the America Reads Program as reading tutors to Pre-K - Elementary students. Students are encouraged to use their Off-Campus Work Study placement as an internship.

Each community employer and the University come to a contractual arrangement detailing conditions of the program. Under the program, the employer receives reimbursement for a portion of the student’s wages.

Section 3: For Students - Finding Employment

How to Find a Job

There are several ways to find a job. The Student Employment Center, located in Old Main 275, is here to help you. The Center maintains a web page listing openings for part-time jobs both On- and Off- Campus.  Approximately 4,000 positions in the local community are listed each year. These positions range from basic temporary jobs to positions that allow students to apply their academic skills.

Tips for Job Search

  • Assess your skills and decide what kind of work you would like to do or are able to do, how many hours you will be available, and how much you need to earn. Develop a résumé and have copies ready.
  • Check the Student Employment website as often as possible.
  • Be flexible about the kinds of work you are willing to do. Every job provides experience.
  • Be able to relate your skills to an employer on the phone or in person and have letters or telephone numbers for reference from past employers if possible. Keep a record of your job hunting so you know with whom you spoke and if you should check back.
  • Ask for help. The staff at the Student Employment Center, as well as the Career Services Center, Old Main 280, are excellent resources. Workshops are offered for developing job-hunting skills, and individual assistance with résumé and job searching is available by appointment at the Career Services Center.
  • Be positive! Patience and persistence are also important in the process of job-hunting.

Tips for Keeping your Job

In a research effort by Bruce Barnes, it was discovered that young adult employees get fired mostly because of bad working habits. The research also showed that young adult employees cited reasons other than their own behaviors for which they were terminated.


Employers report that the top 10 qualities they look for in employees are:

  • Can follow directions.
  • Can complete tasks on his/her own.
  • Can arrive on time.
  • Shows enthusiasm toward the job.
  • Can work according to a time schedule.
  • Shows self-control.
  • Can take responsibility.
  • Can work unsupervised.
  • Shows respect for tools and equipment in the workplace.
  • Can accept criticism.


Young employees who had been fired thought that the reasons for getting fired were:

  • Lack of experience in the field.
  • Lack of the right kind of training in school.
  • Educational level not high enough.
  • Not a member of the right union.
  • Not big or strong enough.


Exhibiting proper job behaviors is also crucial in keeping your job. The top reasons that student employees lose their jobs are:

  • Repeated lateness.
  • Several absences from work.
  • Not getting along with co-workers.
  • Not working fast enough.
  • Not responding to feedback.
  • Lack of communication between employee and others.
  • Conducting personal business at work (texting, Facebook, personal calls)
  • Misrepresenting themselves (in application materials, interview, etc.)

Section 4: For Supervisors of Student Employees

National Student Employment Association statistics show that nearly two-thirds of today's college students hold part- or full-time jobs while in school. Student Employment is an important educational experience, and sometimes an alternative form of financial aid. It is a means of preparing for a meaningful career by developing skills and contacts that will help secure a job after graduation.

Supervisors play a key role in students' future employment success. Every effort should be made to encourage student employees to develop characteristics of good judgment, dependability, initiative, and responsibility. Students often have a closer, more long-term relationship, with their supervisor than with any individual faculty member or advisor. The supervisor can often be a key figure in a student's college experience and in his/her personal growth. By affecting attitudes about work, the supervisor can influence the success of the student through his/her life.

The Supervisor's Role and Responsibilities

The Student Employment Center understands that office structures vary and that the following responsibilities may fall in different places throughout your department. Supervisors need to make sure that all resources and information are available to the student.

  • Expectations: Make position and employment expectations clear and in writing.
  • Establish Policies: Establish internal policies and communicate them to the student employees to ensure that all employees understand the office rules.
  • Training: Train students to successfully carry out the duties and responsibilities of their job and supply any other information they may need. (i.e. line of authority, where and how to report absences, breaks, schedule changes, etc.)
  • Inform: Keep students informed of any changes in procedure, scheduling, or working conditions.
  • Coordinate Work Schedule: Work with student employees to ensure school and work schedules complement each other. Ensure that students are not scheduled or allowed to work during scheduled class hours. If you set the work schedules, allow time before, during, and after work for students to eat, arrive at next class on time, etc.
  • Report Hours: See that each student’s work hours are reported accurately and on time. Monitor the Work Study allocation for each Work Study student you employ to prevent overpayment. 
  • Assignments: Be prepared for students’ daily arrival and have work tasks ready.
  • Consistency: Treat all student workers with the same respect and have the same expectations of everyone.
  • Discipline: Correct inappropriate behavior as soon as possible. Explain why the behavior was inappropriate or incorrect and how to remedy the situation. Try to resolve any problems pertaining to job performance or working relations at the time of the incident.
  • Develop Good Relations: Develop good supervisor/student relations among student employees. This is not a “friendly” or “parental” relationship, but a professional association intended to foster mutual trust, respect, and a genuine interest in meeting the goals of the student, the department, and the University.


Supervisors of Students as Teachers

From the National Student Employment Administrators (NSEA) Student Employment Essentials:

Supervisors of student workers have the opportunity to teach lessons not found in a college classroom. In the best student work programs, supervisors understand what values may be gained through work experience, and they do their best to ensure that students understand and develop the skills and traits that will complement their academic program. Taking responsibility for a part-time job under effective supervision enhances employment options after graduation.             

Work helps prepare a student for modern office culture, and promote constructive employer/employee relationships. Students express ingenuity and creativity, as they are encouraged to make improvements in their job situation. Working students also develop good habits such as consistency, dependability, cooperation, tact and poise, and learn responsibility through meeting work schedules and quality requirements. Students are often able to find jobs that relate to their academic subjects, which further fosters new interests and abilities.

Supervisors, then, have two responsibilities: concern for the development of the student as a employee, and also for the employee as a student. The best supervisors treat their student workers as individuals, and understand that student workers have other interests and responsibilities. They make the work of the student seem interesting, significant, and worthwhile to both supervisor and student.

Unique Characteristics of Student Employees

Students are diverse individuals and caution must be exercised in categorizing students as a homogeneous population. There are, however, some generalizations that can be made about student employees and, consequently, some implications for supervision.

  • Students are short-term employees. Their primary goal and their first concern is academics.
  • Students have a desire for quick results and impact.
  • Students are struggling with a great deal of issues related to:
    • autonomy from their parents,
    • relationships with their peers,
    • independence and self-management skills,
    • academic performance,
    • discovering who they are as individuals,
    • the integration and acceptance of a workable value system,
    • a career and life direction,
    • establishing an ethical and moral base of reasoning.
  • Students are free from the constraints of experience or vested interest in long-term employment.

Implications for Supervision

  • The fact that students’ primary goal is their academics does not excuse irresponsibility, but some flexibility in work schedules may be necessary.
  • Students are most effective when their work is defined in terms of projects or tasks. When a student is given a specific task defined by objectives and turned loose with the resources and guidance to pursue it, he or she will almost always out-produce students in more traditional settings.
  • By understanding the dual role of employer/educator, the supervisor can be instrumental in assisting a student in his or her developmental growth.
  • Students may be an invaluable resource for innovative and creative ideas for change or improvement.

Ten Strategies to Help Student Employees Succeed

  • Be an Example:  Model strong work habits through efficient, dedicated work practices. Let your own approach to daily work be an example from which students can learn.
  • Be Flexible: Understand that student employees are students first, and employees second. Though it is important to have high standards on the job, it is also important to be flexible in order to accommodate academic obligations.
  • Communicate Expectations: Communicate the job standards, requirements, and expectations to your student employees. One should not assume these are self-evident to the student, even though they may seem obvious to you.
  • Give Feedback Frequently: Provide consistent and appropriate feedback to your student employees. Students, like all employees, benefit from feedback in job performance, providing it is communicated with a positive spirit and the goal of helping the student to succeed.
  • Be Fair: Supervisors who are too lenient or view students as children are not doing students any favors. Student jobs are “real jobs”. Treat student employees as you would like to be treated in a similar situation.
  • Train, Train, Train!: Take the time to train your students in important work skills, attitudes, and habits such as time management, phone skills, quality service practices, handling difficult situations.
  • Be a Team Player: As the team leader, develop and nurture the unique contributions of each team member. Take a global perspective.
  • Give Recognition: When you see a student “going the extra mile”, acknowledge this in front of other staff and peers. People need to feel appreciated.
  • Share the Vision: Have regular staff meetings with your student employees, and inform them how their work fits into a larger purpose of the department and the institution.
  • Be an Educator: To the degree that we each contribute to the lives of others, we are all educators. Do your part in helping the university to produce graduates that are quality employees.

Developing Effective Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are an important and beneficial first step in the hiring process. Properly prepared, a job description sets the tone and lays the foundation for the student’s employment experience.

The job description:

  • Assists in the constructive and objective development of the interview.
  • Allows you and the student to determine if he or she meets the qualification for the job.
  • Provides a format for training and teaching the job specifics.
  • Serves as a focal point for the evaluation of a student’s performance.

The following may be helpful in the preparation of a student job description. A job description should include:

  • job title
  • minimum qualifications to perform work duties
  • course work required, if applicable
  • basic job functions
  • specific duties
  • organizational relationship - student's direct supervisor
  • criteria for performance evaluation
  • time/hours desired
  • wage schedule

In describing the work performed, action verbs help to differentiate between various levels of responsibility. The following represent a list of possible action verbs:

designs; exhibits; audits; coordinates; collects; advises; assists; improves; phones; establishes; expands; tutors; drafts; maintains; edits; researches; reviews; answers; refers; organizes; inputs

See Sample Job Description for questions to assist in a job analysis.

Interview Techniques

Mastering job interview skills is a major step in a student’s progress toward becoming an able and self-assured participant in the world of work. The process of applying for a position and discussing his/her own qualifications and skills gives the student experience and confidence, which will assist in obtaining summer and post-graduate employment. The main purpose of the interview is to determine if the student is capable of filling your employment needs. It also allows the student the opportunity to determine whether he or she feels qualified and comfortable with the position.

During the interview, both parties should come to an understanding of the expectations and style of the other person. Information can be gained that is not only vital to assigning the student to a particular position, but also instrumental in determining future training and supervisory needs.

Tips for Interviewing

  • Prepare for the interview by reviewing materials you will use. Know the job description. The more familiar you are with the description, the more useful the interview will be in selecting an employee.
  • Try to create a friendly, comfortable atmosphere. Be aware of body language - both yours and the student’s. Emphasize a relaxed, conversational attitude. Use eye contact and smile. Most job applicants are a bit nervous when applying for a position, so devoting a few moments to putting the student at ease with “small talk” is often appropriate.
  • Structure the interview to the functions and responsibilities of the job. Be sure you ask the questions necessary to verify that the student has the qualifications needed. Secure some basic information about the student’s class schedule and work background.
  • Have a written copy of the job description for the student to review. This will allow the student to organize his/her thoughts and be prepared to answer the questions posed in the interview and to formulate his/her own questions.
  • After the basic information has been obtained; further questions are often necessary to determine levels of skills or degrees of talent. Encourage the student to talk by using open-ended questions such as:
    • Can you give me an example of . . . ?
    • What skills and qualifications do you have that would relate to this position?
    • Why do you feel you are qualified for this position?
    • What questions do you have about the job and its responsibilities?
    • After seeing the job description and hearing further explanation, what interests you about the position; what reservations do you have?
  • Discuss goals and plans by using “why” questions whenever possible to help discover basic student motivation, values, or plans for the future.

Explain the useful and necessary role of the position within the department, emphasizing that the student will be considered an integral part of the staff. It is appropriate to give information about the department, standards expected, supervisory style. Be clear about expectations and ask the student for response, questions or comments.

  • Summarizing the interview will help assist the student in assessing his/her own abilities, strengths and weaknesses--it is one of the most important objectives of the interview in terms of helping the student. The student should be given the opportunity to add anything that will help in your evaluation or that will clarify any questions in his/her own mind. The supervisor should then briefly summarize the student’s experience, interests, and plans in an affirming way and ask if it is a fair assessment.
  • Be sure the student understands the next step in the process; that is, when you will let them know the results of the interview.

Also, see WWU Human Resource's Sample Interview Questions and "Prohibited Interview Questions."

Student Employee Orientation

A thorough and well-planned orientation allows the student to become familiar with the activities of the work place and to more quickly feel like an integral part of the staff. The following recommendation may be helpful:

  • All student employees are required to have read and to understand the information provided in this manual.
  • Review with the student the Western Washington University Policy for Responsible Computing, as well as the User Agreement for Ethical Conduct with WWU Network And Computing Resources regarding the use of computers.
  • Explain the preparation, purpose and goals of the department/agency/work place and specify the student’s role in accomplishing the goals.
  • Introduce the student to other staff members and provide a tour of the physical surroundings.
  • Establish the basic conditions of employment, e.g. direct supervisor, hourly wage, work schedule, attendance requirements (how, when, and who to notify in case of absence or lateness).
  • Explain office procedures and policies concerning breaks, use of telephone or office equipment for personal business, access to office coffee and kitchen facilities, etc. If necessary, provide guidance to the student regarding proper dress.
  • Explain the student’s general work assignment and regular duties. Provide the student with a written job description.

Performance Evaluations

Performance assessments can be a valuable tool in communicating expectations to employees and receiving feedback.

Evaluations are a necessary and important part of the employment experience; however, often times, student employees are overlooked in this process. It is important for student employees to experience the evaluation process, so that they might learn from it and be able to modify their future performance if necessary. Evaluations are not meant to reprimand a student whose performance is lacking. They serve as an excellent opportunity to recognize outstanding employees for a job well done and to help motivate students that are below expectation. The evaluation form may also be used to identify certain areas where student employees excel and areas where they might be able to improve.

Points to remember when evaluating student employees

  • There should be no surprises. Do not bring up something that has not been mentioned before.
  • Get feedback from team members and supervisor.
  • Focus on learning and development. Focus on the means not just the ends.
  • Help employees celebrate his/her success and failure of learning by experience. Prepare people to take risks by creating a safe environment.
  • You must let go when the time is right and let them “peddle on their own.”
  • Collect information on projects and tasks as you go along; keep a file of achievements and accomplishments; do not wait until just before evaluation to do it or you will forget many things.
  • Manage by walking around. Get out and see what the employees are doing in their jobs and what really goes on.

How often should I evaluate my student employees?
Due to the high turnover of student workers, it is recommended that student employees be evaluated at least once during a quarter. It is important to schedule a conference with the individual to discuss the evaluation results. A copy of the completed evaluation should be kept in the student’s file for future reference and a copy should be given to the student for his/her personal records. In addition to providing funds to meet education expenses, student employment can be a profitable learning experience. The student is:

  • learning basic employee responsibilities;
  • developing a professional attitude toward work;
  • gaining job skills which will be important in future.

An essential element in this learning process is feedback and performance evaluation. Consistent, informal feedback--especially praising good work, but also redirecting inappropriate behavior is essential to an effective working relationship between the supervisor and the student.

More resources and training for WWU supervisors can be found at WWU Professional Development Classes

Supporting your Student Who is not Performing at Standard

There may be variety of reasons a student is not performing at standard.

Following are some suggestions for employers to attempt in an effort to improve performance.

  •  Schedule a meeting to discuss the performance issues with the student.  This may be a good time to review the details of the job description.  Provide examples of those things the student is performing at standard, and those that the student is not.
  • It may be that the employee is not aware  there is a problem until it is called to his or her attention.  It is best to address issues as quickly as possible so there wont' be a second conversation about it.  Ensure the employee clearly understands the expectations.
  • It may be best to issue a warning letter to the employee, addressing the issues and then stating the expectations.
  • If a warning does not work, you may need to issue an employee probationary contract.  This may highlight specific job behaviors that must be abided by for a set amount of time (e.g. for a quarter or until a specific date.)

Section 5: Student Employee Eligibility

Student Employment Eligibility

I-9 Form:

A student must be eligible to work in the U.S. as evidenced by a completed I-9 form kept on file per University records retention requirements. Please refer to Complete the I-9 Form website to ensure compliance in completing and retaining the form.  Students may complete the I-9 form in the Human Resources Department.

Enrolled At Least Half-Time:

A student employee must be enrolled at least half time.  Half-time enrollment means:

  • Undergraduate and post baccalaureate student employees must be enrolled for a minimum academic load of six credit hours.
  • Graduate student employees must be enrolled for a minimum academic load of four credit hours.

Exceptions to the half-time enrollment minimum:

Graduate student employees who have completed all coursework on their approved Plan of Study and are enrolled in at least two credit hours of thesis or non-thesis work such as research or field project required for program completion are eligible for student employment. Graduate students enrolled for a minimum of two credit hours of departmental 699 coursework (for example, GEOL 699) are also eligible for student employment. GRAD 699 continuous enrollment credits do not count toward enrollment level for student employment purposes.

A waiver of the credit load requirement may be provided once each academic year for one quarter with the understanding that either the student will enroll for the full credit requirement in succeeding quarters, or the student is currently enrolled in a terminal or graduating quarter. Associated Student (AS) employment policies include additional details for AS employment.

The Credit Load Waiver is available through the Student Employment Center and is also available on the web.

Work Study student employees must meet financial aid eligibility enrollment criteria.

Students who are eligible for student employment during the current quarter and intend to continue to be enrolled at least half-time during the next quarter are eligible to work during break periods. 


516 over 6 - Maintaining Exemption for Civil Service Rules:

To remain eligible for student employment, student employees must not exceed 516 hours of employment in any six consecutive months excluding student employment during enrollment breaks such as summer break in order to maintain the exemption from civil service rules. Washington State administrative code exempts elected associated student positions from this requirement.

Background Check:

A student must successfully pass a background check for employment in certain positions that are deemed security sensitive.  Upon completion of the Criminal Conviction Verification Form, HR will perform a background check and notify the department if the student employee does not successfully pass the check.. Department hiring officials determine which positions require background checks. Human Resources will provide a Security Sensitive Position Assessment form for guidance to determine whether a position requires a background check.  Please contact the Human Resources Employment Unit if you mark “yes” to any questions on the form.

W-4 Form:

A new employee must submit a completed W-4 form* to his/her department before any work is performed. The completed W-4 form must contain:

  • Employee’s United States Social Security Number, OR
  • Receipt of application for a U.S. Social Security Number.  The employee must notify Human Resources of their number once it has been issued.

*Any substitute for the W-4 form must be deemed acceptable by the Attorney General’s Office before work may begin.  Contact Human Resources at 360-650-7718 for clarification, if needed.

Student Employee Status:

A student is NOT eligible for student employment if she/he has another non-student employment position at the university.  For example:

  • Temporary or permanent classified staff, administrative exempt staff, or faculty employment position.
  • A student with a student employment position who subsequently receives university employment in a non-student employment classification.

A student employment position must not result in the displacement of employed workers or impair existing contracts for services.

For International Students:

Any international student in F-1 or J-1 visa status may work On-Campus up to 19 hours per week while school is in session, as long as she/he is enrolled full-time (10 credits for undergraduates, 8 credits for graduates).

  • A student may work up to full time during break periods if the student was registered for the previous quarter and intends to register the following quarter.

For additional details see the International Student & Scholar Services webpage.

Hiring Minors (Students Under the Age of 18)

In order to employ student who is a minor, under the age of 18 years old (and at least 14 years old), here is a list of additional items an employer must have on file:

  • A minor work permit endorsement
  • A signed parent/school authorization form
  • Proof of minor’s age
  • Personal data and employment description

Minor student employees are to meet the Student Employment Eligibility requirements.

Please refer to WWU’s Human Resources Department “Hiring a Minor" or the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, for additional information:

Displacement of Employed Workers

On-Campus student employee positions, regardless of funding source (e.g., departmental operating funds, grant funds, or Work Study) must not displace classified staff employee positions or impair existing contracts for services. Hiring officials within each department are responsible for ensuring that student employees do not supplant, displace, or replace classified staff positions.

Satisfactory Academic Progress: Work Study Positions

The primary purpose of financial aid programs consists of helping students to successfully complete their degree or certificate programs. Students are required to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements while earning their degree or certificate programs to receive aid. Financial aid programs include grants, tuition and fee waivers, Work Study employment, need-based and non-need-based loans, and scholarship programs.  Failure to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements will result in financial aid probation or suspension. Although aid-suspended students may petition for financial aid reinstatement, reinstatement is not guaranteed.

Section 6: Student Employment Positions and Pay Policies

Classification Guidelines- Determining Pay Rates for Hourly Positions


These procedures are generally applicable to all On-Campus student employment positions; however, the Associated Students Personnel procedures may have alternative provisions as agreed upon by the institution.

Employers are asked to refer to the Classification Guidelines and determine the best match for their individual student employee positions. A match occurs when at least 60% of the position’s responsibilities fall within a particular classification.

Each classification has a corresponding pay level: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and Graduate Pay. Pay ranges are designated for each level.

Hourly Pay Positions

Most student employment positions are in this category. Work Study students must be paid on an hourly basis. In order to maintain equity and consistency in the student work experience programs, Student Classification Guidelines have been established.

Institutionally Funded Employment

Each department may be allocated funds within its operational budget for student employment. These funds are intended to be used as training for students in their major area of academic pursuit and for jobs that provide for individual growth and development.

Students are employed in positions in virtually all areas of the University. These positions are open to all students enrolled for half-time or more. In addition to regular hourly positions, salaried and non-uniform rate (per job basis) positions are included in this category.

On A Per Job Basis

An agreed upon sum is paid in return for services rendered to the University when the assignment or project is completed. This may include a one-time assignment or a series of related assignments or projects.

Salaried Positions - Non-Uniform

Certain positions are exempted from the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Exempted positions at Western include Resident Advisors, elected Associated Student positions, selected Journalism publication positions, and selected Graduate teaching and research assistant positions. These positions may be paid on a salaried rather than hourly basis.

Employers must maintain documentation showing the rationale for determining salary rates in the student employee’s file along with the Student Employment Form and other employment related documentation.

Special Notes regarding students receiving salaries or stipends:

Students receiving salary or stipend pay must adhere to all Western Student Employment Policies.  This requirement includes the 19-hour work week maximum, unless otherwise exempted. 

Supervisors are responsible for tracking student work hours each week in order to ensure compliance with University policy. If a student receiving a salary or stipend is employed in more than one student employment position, the total number of hours worked per week MAY NOT exceed 19 hours per week, unless otherwise exempted.


Student employees are paid no less than the State minimum wage, however the employer may choose to begin the student at a higher rate of pay within the appropriate range if the student has previous job experience or special qualifications for the job.

Starting Pay
In most cases, student employees will be hired at the minimum rate within the pay range for the appropriate job classification. The employer may choose to begin the student at a higher rate of pay within the appropriate range if the student has previous job experience or special qualifications for the job.  It is recommended the employer have justification on file for exceptions to the base rate for starting wages.

Taxes: Exemption of Federal OASI Tax

Effective July 1, 1994, students must meet minimum qualifications in order to be exempt from the social security (OASI) tax. The qualifications are half-time enrollment (6 credits for undergraduate, 4 credits for graduate) and a maximum work week of 19 hours (20 hours per week for graduates with assistantships).

It is a condition of employment at Western Washington University that a new employee must submit a completed W-4 form to their department before any work is performed. The W-4 form must contain the employee’s United States social security number or have attached a copy of their receipt of application for a U.S. social security number. The employee must notify Payroll Services of their number once it has been issued. Any substitutes W-4 form must be deemed acceptable by the Attorney General’s Office before work may begin. Contact Payroll/Benefit Services for clarification if needed.

Earnings from WWU Student Employment programs are subject to federal withholding taxes; Work Study wages are eligible for exclusion on the Student Exclusion section of the FAFSA, but are not excluded for federal income tax purposes.

Minimum Wage Pay Increases

Every January 1st the minimum wage will increase based on the cost of living as determined by the State of Washington.

Once the student is hired, the employer is free to determine pay increases within the range, but those increases must be based on definitive guidelines established by the employing unit. Maintaining consistency and fairness in pay rates within a department is the employer’s responsibility.

Pay Increase for Longevity

There is no requirement that employers provide wage increases based on longevity. 

Section 7: Hiring Process

Hiring a Student Employee

Once the department determines their hiring needs, creates a job description, they then may contact the Student Employment Center to request an employer profile to gain access to WWU’s Student Jobs website.  Student jobs can be posted to the Non-Work Study (departmental, institutional, foundation or grant funded) area or the Work Study area of the Student Employment Center's job postings. Employers may request assistance from Student Employment personnel if additional assistance in the job posting process is needed.

Posting Jobs

All newly created or newly open job opportunities must be posted on the Student Employment Center web site for a minimum of 24 hours, regardless of the source of funding for the position. 

Follow this link for additional information on how to post positions and guidelines for posting:

Placing Student on Payroll

Complete the Annual Student Employee Information Form each academic year, for both new employees as well as returning employees. Additional instructions for the form and a link to the form:

Student Employee Information Form


  1. Employers should complete section 1 of the form. Have student complete section 2 of the Annual Student Employee Information Form.  Because students tend to move often, it is expected that returning students complete this form every year.
  2. Have student complete I-9 information (see link below) and W-4 with HR.
  3. Have student sign up for Direct Deposit in Web4U.
  4. Complete the EPAF for Departmentally funded and Work Study students, or the Student Employment Form for grant, foundation and salaried students. A student is not eligible to work until the EPAF has processed completely.
  5. Provide a Job Description to the employee and go over it with him/her on the first day of employment or before.
  6. Determine if student is in a Security Sensitive Position by completing Assessment found on HR’s website
  7. Provide on-going skill development and feedback.

Hiring Forms

Instructions and Forms can be found at this link:

Confidentiality/Disclosure of Student Information and Administrative Data

All student employees who access confidential university information must read and understand the WWU Security Best Practices and Policies for Confidentiality . The Disclosure of Student Information and Administrative Data form must be maintained with the employing department.

It is imperative that each student employee understands and accepts the responsibility of working with confidential student records and administrative data.  The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) mandate that student records are to be kept in confidence.  Other Federal and State statutes regulate the security and confidentiality of other types of administrative data.  Student information may be disclosed to a third party only with the student’s advance written permission.  Unless written permission is obtained, the discussion, use, or access of student records is limited to job-related, legitimate educational interests.

Student Employee Benefits

Student employees are not eligible for participation in Western’s programs of employee insurance or the State Public Employees Retirement System. As long as a student is enrolled full time, 6 credits or more, employers are not charged for Social Security.

Under State statute, Western Washington University does not contribute to unemployment insurance for student employees.

Submitting Time Sheets

Each employee will access their individual time sheet via a secure login on Web4U. Pay periods run from the first of the month through the 15th and from the 16th through the last working day of the month unless otherwise posted. Time sheets are submitted by midnight on the last day of the pay period.

For more information about payroll and time-sheets visit the Human Resources website.

It is the Supervisor’s responsibility to ensure student maintains daily track of their work hours, reminding them to submit their time appropriately, then approving those hours by the deadline so the student can be paid.

Records Retention

  • Student On-Campus Employment Forms
  • Student Job Description(s)

The General University Records Retention Schedule at lists the retention period required for both the office holding the originals of the records and for departmental copies. Student employment records are required to be held by the hiring department for three fiscal years. When those retention periods are fulfilled, the records may be shredded. The University Archives & Records Center will shred the records for departments.

Section 8: Work Policies

These procedures are generally applicable to all on-campus student employment positions; however, the Associated Students Personnel procedures may have alternative provisions as agreed upon by the institution.

Reporting Abuse or Neglect

State law (RCW 26.44.030) requires that student employees are required to report abuse or neglect to a child or vulnerable.  This abuse can be reported to the employee's supervisor, director or University Police Department.


Here is a link to DSHS to use as your resource.

Work Hours

When classes are in session, a student employee may work up to 19 hours per week.  A half-time Graduate Assistantship is considered to be 10 hours per week; therefore a half-time Graduate Assistant may work up to nine hours per week in a different student employment position. There is no minimum number of hours per week a student employee may work.  Students may not work during hours they are scheduled to attend class.

Undergraduate and graduate students in any combination of Work Study, departmental, or grant funded positions may work up to a maximum of 19 hours per week (see exceptions, described below).

The 19-hour requirement has its roots in several different sources:

  1. Research indicates that students working between 10 and 20 hours per week perform at least as well academically as students who do not work. Students who work more than 20 hours per week do not perform as well academically. While some students choose to work more than 20 hours per week using Off-Campus employment opportunities, it would be inconsistent to have an institutional employment policy that has been proven to be detrimental to the academic progress of students.
  2. Public higher education institutions are permitted to use a Student FICA exception if a student qualifies for the exception from the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) tax. Among the conditions to use the FICA exception is the requirement that student employees are not career employees. Evidence that demonstrates a student employee is not a career employee includes part time employment at less than 20 hours per week.
  3. The 19-hour per week employment policy is consistent with the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) (formerly the Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB)) regulation that requires State Work Study students to work no more than 19 hours per week.
  4. Per WAC 357-04-040, student employees are exempt from State civil service classification if they work 516 hours or less in any six consecutive months (excluding academic breaks such as summer term). The 516 hour limitation over six months equates to an average of 19 hours per week.

Exceptions to the 19-hour Workweek Requirement

  • A full time Graduate Assistantship is considered to be 20 hours per week.
  • WAC 357-04-040 exempts Associated Student elected officials from Washington civil service rules, allowing elected officials to exceed the 19-hour per week maximum.
  • Also see the Break Period 19-hour per week exception below.

Break Periods and Summer

Break Periods & Summer

During certain periods of the year, students may exceed the maximum hours per week. Students may work full-time (40 hours per week maximum) between quarters if they were enrolled half-time or more in the previous quarter and will be enrolled half-time or more the following quarter. The period between quarters is considered an enrollment break period where students may work up to 40 hours per week. 

Students not eligible for summer break period work based on the above enrollment may still be eligible for student employment if they meet the regular eligibility requirements (e.g., matriculated students enrolled summer term with a half-time or higher credit load). These students may also work up to 40 hours per week during the summer term.

Enrollment break periods begin after a student’s last final exam or the Monday of finals week, whichever is later, and ends the day prior to the first day of classes of the following term.

Holiday and Overtime Pay

As temporary employees, students employees are not paid for holidays unless worked.  They are paid at their regular wage rate unless the time pushes them into overtime.

Student employees are not eligible to work overtime-over 40-hours per week.

Due to the nature of certain positions, and cyclical demands, it is recognized that student employees may occasionally work more than a 40 hour work week. It is a federal requirement that when this occurs, students are paid overtime for all hours worked beyond 40 during the work week.

The work week begins at 12 midnight on Monday and ends at 11:59 p.m. Sunday. A student will receive regular hourly pay for the first 40 hours during the work week. The student should record all hours beyond 40 into the “Overtime” line in his or her timesheet. It is important that the timesheet approver review the total hours worked in the work week, which may occur in two different pay periods.

The department will be charged time and a half for all hours worked beyond 40 in a work week.

Please contact Student Employment or Payroll if you have any questions about this policy or how to instruct your student employees to complete their timesheets.

Graduate Students

Graduate students may not work more than 19 hours per week in any combination of On-Campus employment (additional details in undergraduate section above).

A full-time salaried Graduate Assistantship is considered to be 20 hours per week and is considered an exception to the above rule.

Graduate Work Study students are limited to working a maximum of 19 hours per week, as are departmentally and grant funded positions.

Graduate Work Study students may combine work with Teaching Assistantships as long as the total hours between the two do not exceed 19 hours.

Meal Periods and Rest Periods

  1. Employees shall be allowed a meal period of at least 30 minutes which commences no less than two hours nor more than five hours from the beginning of the shift. Meal periods shall be on the employer's time when the employee is required by the employer to remain on duty on the premises or at a prescribed work site in the interest of the employer.
  2. No employee shall be required to work more than five consecutive hours without a meal period.
  3. Employees working three or more hours longer than a normal work day shall be allowed at least one 30-minute meal period prior to or during the overtime period.
  4. Employees shall be allowed a rest period of not less than 10 minutes, on the employer's time, for each 4 hours of working time. Rest periods shall be scheduled as near as possible to the midpoint of the work period. No employee shall be required to work more than three hours without a rest period.
  5. Where the nature of the work allows employees to take intermittent rest periods equivalent to 10 minutes for each 4 hours worked, scheduled rest periods are not required.

Monitoring Students' Work Study Earnings

Students, as a recipient of Work Study, are responsible for tracking their earnings.  The Student Work Study Tracking Sheet is a tool used to keep track of student's earnings to ensure their quarterly Work Study award is not exceeded. We encourage students to fill out and update their tracking sheet regularly. The instructions about how to use this tool are embedded in the spreadsheet. If a student does not earn their entire quarterly award for fall, during fall quarter, then they may use it during winter or spring quarters.


The Employer Work Study Tracking Sheet is a tool used by employers to monitor and manage Work Study earnings for multiple students. The spreadsheet can help employers plan student's schedules based on their remaining Work Study award and remaining available hours. Students cannot earn more than their Work Study award.  We encourage employers to fill out and update their tracking sheet regularly (i.e., after every pay period). The instructions about how to use this tool are embedded in the spreadsheet. If a student does not earn their entire quarterly award for fall, during fall quarter, then they may use it during winter or spring quarters. If a student over earns, funds may be charged back to the department.

Unearned Eligibility

If a Work Study funded student employee does not earn the entire award amount during the academic year, the remaining balance is forfeited.

Driving a University Vehicle

Students who are required to drive a university vehicle as part of their job requirement can refer to Environmental Health and Safety's guidelines for validating your Washington state driver's license.

Employing Relatives

No person may initiate or participate in decisions involving a related person’s initial appointment, retention or promotion, or any decisions of direct bearing on the related person’s condition of employment with the University. When a department chairperson or person holding an administrative position is required to make such decisions, he or she must delegate that authority to the next responsible officer or to an appropriate advisory committee. Relationship to another member of a department does not inhibit the employment of a qualified person.

(Related person is defined as spouse, sibling, parent or offspring.)

Policy-U5410.01 Employing Family Members and Significant Others

Termination Procedures

It is generally expected that whenever possible, the student employee will give the employer a two week notice prior to terminating their employment.  The employer will similarly give the employee a two week notice before termination, unless an earlier date is mutually agreed upon. Reasons for employer termination include, but are not limited to:

  • completion or elimination of job
  • loss of funding
  • avoidable absences
  • unsatisfactory work
  • inability to carry out work assignments
  • lack of cooperation with co-workers or supervisor
  • repeated lateness
  • harassing a co-worker, sexually or otherwise

It is generally expected that the employer will advise the student in writing of unsatisfactory performance at least once before terminating the student employee. It is expected that at least two weeks before actual termination a warning of impending termination will have been received by the student. Retain a copy of the written warning within the department/office of origin.

An employer is under no obligation to re-hire a student who was employed the previous academic year.

Work Study and Department Funded Students: Use NOAEPAF (TERMJ)

Salaried, Grant & Foundation Funded Students:  Locate then duplicate the student’s original hiring form and enter in the COMMENTS section "Please terminate as of "date" (must be last paid date student worked), forward to HR; or use Banner’s NOAEPAF (preferred method).

Dispute Prevention and Resolution

Sometimes disputes occur even under the best of circumstances. Please refer to the following chart to determine your best first step in resolving disputes of various types.

No Retribution -- No employer shall discharge, discipline or retaliate in any manner against a student employee because the student employee exercises the dispute resolution or complaint procedure in good faith and without malice.


Type of Dispute Resources Available to You
If you are dealing with an emergency situation, or need to report incidents that may rise to the level of a crime: Call 911 or the WWU University Police at 360-650-3911.
If you experience discrimination, harassment, bias, or a hate crime: Contact the WWU Equal Opportunity Office, 360-650-3307, Old Main 345, The Equal Opportunity Center is the primary internal resource for processing complaints of illegal discrimination. No individual shall be penalized or retaliated against in any way by a member of the University community for his or her participation in this complaint procedure. WWU policy on ensuring equal opportunity and prohibiting discrimination and retaliation: POL-U1600.02. WWU Equal Opportunity Office discrimination procedure information.
If you experience sex discrimination: Contact the WWU Equal Opportunity Office, 360-650-3307, Old Main 345, Western prohibits sex discrimination, which includes sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment, gender harassment, and sexual violence are forms of sexual misconduct. Western is committed to preventing, addressing, and responding to sex discrimination. WWU policy on preventing and responding to sex discrimination POL-U1600.04
Work-related or workplace disputes Contact the Student Employment Center for assistance, 360-650-3158, Old Main 275, See additional dispute and complaint resource information below.


The WWU student employment problem resolution process includes these three steps:

  • Dispute Prevention
  • Dispute Resolution
  • Complaint Process

1) Dispute Prevention

Student employees and supervisors may be able to reduce or prevent disputes by setting up open communication and supportive dialog.

Students, keep your supervisor informed about your work progress along with any other issues that may arise during your work experience. In addition, make sure that you understand your supervisor's expectations by asking questions when things do not seem clear so that you can determine if both you and your supervisor are in agreement. Know that you will likely have disagreements and disputes in your future career. Be open to hearing constructive feedback as you develop and hone your work ethic.

Supervisors, communicate your workplace expectations. Work with your student employees to develop goals, and offer performance evaluations to provide feedback on goal attainment. Periodically review the job description with your student employees and provide constructive feedback. For many student employees, their job at Western may be their first one in a professional setting. Model the problem-solving process as another way that you add value to the work of your staff.

Students and Supervisors, strive to resolve problems or disagreements within normal departmental channels. Discuss the issues in a calm, courteous, and factual manner as soon as possible.  Approach the problem-solving process with the expectation that the problem may not be obvious and that you need to communicate your concerns in a supportive manner to preserve the employer-employee relationship. Be open to offering, and hearing, alternative solutions.


  • Students, see section 3 of this handbook on Tips for Keeping Your Job!
  • Supervisors, see section 4, For Supervisors of Student Employees, of this handbook for helpful ideas regarding working with your student staff.
  • Human Resources professional development training course:Leading Student Staff: a roundtable for managers of student staff
  • The Student Employment Center manager is available to offer coaching and provide resource referrals to prevent disagreements or problems from developing into disputes. The manager can assist student employees and supervisors with developing a plan that can lead to a favorable outcome before problems grow into a dispute.

2) Dispute Resolution

When workplace disputes occur, use the following steps to seek a resolution. We recognize that there is a power differential between a supervisor and a student employee, so the Student Employment Center manager is available to discuss your options and provide resource referrals on how to work through the dispute resolution process.

Department-level Resolution

After attempting to resolve a problem or concern between the student employee and the supervisor, a student employee may elevate the issue to the next level above the supervisor. Respectfully notify your supervisor of your plan to elevate the dispute for further problem resolution. Seek an appointment with the appropriate supervisor. Prior to the meeting write down your concerns and the steps you have already taken to resolve the problem.

Helpful items to include in your description of the dispute:

  • Dates and details of relevant interactions and events
  • Concerns you have regarding interactions and events
  • Preferred and alternative outcomes
  • Effort and actions you are willing to undertake as part of the problem-solving process.

Be mindful that you will not likely get an immediate outcome. Your supervisor’s supervisor will need some time to understand the circumstances and consider alternatives. End your meeting with an agreement about when you may receive follow-up information.

Student Employment Center Assistance

If you feel that your dispute has not been resolved after speaking with your supervisor and working with others in the department, student employees may contact the Student Employment Center manager. Taking this step is essential in preserving the option to submit a formal complaint in the future. The manager will review the circumstances with you and help you determine your next steps. Recommendations may include contacting higher levels in the supervisor’s organizational structure or working with the unit’s vice president or provost. The manager will provide a written recommendation to the student employee which serves as the beginning date for the 30-day period in which a formal complaint may be filed by the student employee.

3) Complaint Process

When a dispute cannot be resolved satisfactorily using other available channels and resources, a student employee may file a complaint using the student employee complaint procedure. The complaint procedure is available to student employees and to students whose termination is part of the complaint. The complaint process is available to students as long as they are currently admitted and eligible to enroll as a student at WWU.

Procedural Steps

  1. A student employee submits a written complaint to the Student Employment Center manager after fully using the dispute resolution process. The complaint must be submitted within 30 days of the Student Employment Center manager’s written recommendation to the student employee as provided in the dispute resolution process.

  2. The Student Employment Center manager will notify the student employee’s supervisor that a complaint was submitted and a complaint review is in process. The Student Employment Center manager will further examine the dispute circumstances and make a recommendation to the parties to resolve the complaint.

  3. If the Student Employment Center manager’s recommendation is unable to resolve the dispute, or is unacceptable to either the complainant (student employee) or the supervisor, the Student Employment Center manager will form a complaint review committee. Committee members may include faculty, staff, and students as selected by the Student Employment Center manager. Students on the committee will be peers of the complainant (for example, undergraduate students for an undergraduate complainant; graduate students for a graduate student complainant). The complainant and the employing department will have the opportunity to review the committee member roster and alert the Student Employment Center manager of potential conflicts of interest. If there is a conflict of interest involving the Student Employment manager, the Assistant Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services will appoint a substitute in place of the manager.

    The committee may obtain written and verbal information from the student employee, the employee’s supervisor, and others in the employee’s unit as needed to review and understand the complaint. The committee may also request to meet with the student employee and the supervisor together or separately as needed. Both the student employee and the supervisor have the right to invite a support person or advocate to attend any complaint review meeting in which they have been requested to attend. The employee and the supervisor must respond to the meeting request within ten calendar days of the request.
  1. The complaint review committee will consider all information obtained during the review and provide a decision on the complaint within 30 days of the complaint submission to the Student Employment Center manager. The decision may include recommendations or alternatives that are presented to the student employee, the employee’s supervisor, and the department head.

  2. If the student employee is not satisfied with the complaint review committee’s decision, the student employee may appeal the decision to the appropriate vice president or provost. Determinations made by a vice president or provost are final and may not be appealed.


Other Resources

Student employees seeking additional help in articulating their complaint or developing a plan for interacting with their supervisor may find the following resources helpful:

  • WWU Counseling Center – If you are experiencing anxiety or stress associated with a difficult workplace situation, counselors are available to help you cope with the anxiety. Visit the Counseling Center in Old Main 540, or call (360) 650-3164 for more information.
  • Tips for Communicating Effectively with Your Boss, Employee Assistance Network, Inc. – The Employee Assistance Network provides work-related training and education programs. Review their helpful tips to prepare to interact positively with your supervisor.
  • How to Talk to Your Boss about Problems, Communication Skills Power Blog – This blog offers simple and helpful ideas on how to talk to your boss about problems.
  • Negotiation as a Healing Process, Journal of Dispute Resolution, Vol. 1996, No. 1 – an academic journal that discusses the social and personal cost of leaving conflicts unresolved and offers steps leading to genuine reconciliation.
  • How to Resolve Workplace Conflicts, Society for Human Resource Management – offers a summary of 10 tips to resolving conflict.
  • Seven Steps for Effective Problem Solving, – Another approach to resolving problems.



If serious personnel issues are found during the dispute resolution process, the Student Employment manager will notify Human Resources, Equal Opportunity Office, or University Police as appropriate for further investigation.


Injuries and Accidents

Workers’ Compensation insurance coverage for on the job injuries or illnesses is purchased by Western Washington University from the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (LNI).The Environmental Health and Safety Department (EHS) is responsible for administering the University’s industrial insurance benefits and programs in accordance with the Revised Code of Washington (RCW), the Washington Administrative Code (WAC), and University Policy.  If a student is injured during the course of their student employment position at Western, please contact EHS immediately, or visit their website for instructions.

Full benefit coverage is provided for all paid faculty, staff, and student employees who are injured or develop an industrially related illness while acting within the course and scope of their duties. Coverage begins automatically on the first day of employment. Each employee contributes a part of the medical aid portion of the coverage premium through payroll deduction.

Section 9: Student Employee Recognition

National Student-Employment Week

Western Washington University employs roughly 2,500 students each academic year. Our student employees contribute to the academic and extra-curricular aspects that makes Western such an excellent place to educate students. Not only do the students help keep Western functioning, but the combined contributions of mentors, supervisors, and peers help our students enter the workforce as better employees.

In an effort to recognize the excellence of our student employees, the Student Employment Center works with the National Student Employment Association and the Western Association of Student Employment Administrators to award a Western Washington University student employee a Student Employee of the Year Award. The award winner is traditionally announced during National Student Employment Week, the second full week of April each year. National Student Employment Week is a week designated to honor and recognize the contributions of all student employees of Western Washington University.

How can your office help to celebrate NSEW?

  • Create your own celebration/award ceremony
  • Take your student employees out to lunch
  • Bring cookies/cake for the students.
  • Have “Secret Pals” throughout the week between full-time and part-time staff
  • Give gift certificates to local restaurants or movie theaters
  • Write them a note of thanks
  • Prepare a “Thank You” goodie bag
  • Give them flowers or balloons
  • Create a bulletin board honoring the students in your department/office. Take pictures of the student employees and list what wonderful things they do for your department
  • Coupon Booklets - this is always a hit with students! Insert coupons for a free can of soda, movie night at the boss' house (everyone needs to redeem for this one), one dozen home baked goodies, etc. Be creative in designing your own coupons
  • Notes Home - send a note to the families of your student employees. Let them know what the student does, how their work impacts your department, and how terrific the student is.
  • Buy low cost, blank certificates to show appreciation or make up silly awards for students: best telephone voice, best web-surfer, etc.
  • Friendship Plants - take cuttings from a plant in the office and give to each student as a live "connection" to the office.
  • Bright Ideas - spray paint a light bulb gold, screw into a jar of play-dough and make a label around the jar naming who is receiving the "Bright Idea" award.
  • Good Egg Award - buy plastic Easter Eggs, fill with goodies and give out with "Good Egg" certificates. List what the student did to deserve this award.
  • Pat on the Back - Draw an outline of your hand on a piece of paper. Photocopy enough copies for all students in your office. On each hand write a note that tells the student why they deserve a "Pat on the Back".
  • Look around the office or at home for a white elephant item. Name the item for the award (Employee of the Month/Week, Great Idea Award, Gotcha Award) -catch someone in the act of doing something good and then make the first presentation of it during Student Employment Week.
  • Make a banner to hang for the whole week in your office.
  • Chalk the sidewalk in front of your office saying "thanks" to your student workers.

Student Employee of the Year (SEOTY) Award

For the first time in 2008, the Western Washington University Student Employment Center facilitated the national Student Employee of the Year (SEOTY) competition. The award honors an outstanding student employee for the contributions he or she has made to the university and community over the past year. Nominations are accepted online starting in January and due back to our office by February. The Western Washington University award winner is then nominated to the regional level and the regional recipient is nominated to the national level.

Nominees must be Western Washington University students performing in the Student Employee capacity. See Student Employment Eligibility requirements for criteria.

A committee comprised of University staff and student body personnel will select the Student Employee of the Year. The student employee selected will be announced during the National Student Employment Week celebration.

The Student Employment Office hosts a reception to honor On- and Off-Campus student employee of the year nominees during the week. All nominated student employees and their employers are invited to attend. There is a short presentation and award ceremony to present the Western Washington University Student Employee of the Year followed by refreshments.