Student Employment

Any candidate for a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute degree who is registered for at least six credits may be hired as a student worker. Rensselaer offers a wide variety of part-time jobs for students. These jobs are available to all students who wish to work on campus. 

For support with student employment related systems or questions, submit a request.

For instructions on how to submit a support request, click here

Job Postings and Research and Teaching Assistantships

Required Documents

All student workers must have a valid Student Employment Card. 

  • Cards for U.S citizens/Permanent residents are issued by program student employment liaisons or student employment. 
  • Cards for foreign nationals are issued either by the student employment liaison if an I-9 is already on file or by Payroll/Student Employment if an I-9 needs to be completed. 


Students are required to complete an online Form I-9 on or before their first day of employment. In compliance with the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, Rensselaer must verify a student's eligibility to work in the United States with an I-9 form. You must present original unexpired documents such as a U.S. Passport or a driver's license and social security card to a certified representative in the department you will be working for and complete Section 1 of the form on or before your first day of work. Students are encouraged to complete the Form I-9 as early in the job search process as possible. Completion of this form generally is required only for your first job on campus. Once the form is completed online and identity documents are verified by a student liaison the student will be issued a student employment card. This card should be shown to the student's supervisor prior to the first day of actual work.

Form W-4 needs to be completed so that Rensselaer can withhold the correct federal income tax from your pay. Consider completing a new Form W-4 each year and/or when your personal or financial situation changes.

Rensselaer Self-Service Information System W-4 Tax Form Instructions

Form IT-2104, is completed by an employee and given to the employer to instruct the employer how much New York State (and New York City and Yonkers) tax to withhold from the employee's pay. The more allowances claimed, the lower the amount of tax withheld. Form IT-2104-E should be completed annually if you qualify to claim exempt from paying New York State tax. Please note that only one of these forms need to be completed. 

Rensselaer Self-Service Information System NY State Tax Form Instructions

Getting Paid

Inquiries about the hours paid should be directed to your department administrator. For all other inquiries submit a request.

To be paid on time, hourly paid student workers must report hours worked by the due dates. Rensselaer currently has two methods to report hours worked:

Your department administrator will tell you which option you will be required to use to submit your hours.

Students are paid every other Friday. The payroll schedule has important dates for pay periods, timesheets, and pay dates.

Students can be paid either by direct deposit into their bank account or by check:

Tax Information

Students are not automatically exempt from having to pay taxes. Some important information for you to read below:

During the academic year, students registered for a minimum of six (6) credit hours and working on campus are exempt from having Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from their paychecks.

United States citizens and permanent residents who qualify may claim exemption from Federal income tax withholding by completing Form W-4. This form is used to specify your marital status and deductions or if you wish to claim exempt from federal tax withholding. Determine your eligibility carefully to avoid any tax penalties.

Rensselaer Self-Service Information System W-4 Tax Form Instructions

International students will receive assistance from the Payroll Office during the hiring process.

United States citizens and permanent residents who qualify may claim exemption from New York State income tax withholding by completing Form IT-2104E. Determine your eligibility carefully to avoid any tax penalties. New York State has two different forms, one if you are claiming exempt and a different form for non-exempt. If you do not wish to claim exempt from New York State tax, complete Form IT-2104. Only one IT-2104/E form needs to be completed. 

Rensselaer Self-Service Information System NY State Tax Form Instructions

The Rensselaer payroll staff will not give advice on completing any tax forms. If you have questions, please talk with your parents or a qualified tax professional. If these forms are not received by the Payroll Department, the government requires a default setting of single claiming zero exemptions.

If you claim exempt, you will need to complete a new Form W-4 and Form IT-2104E each year.

International students will receive assistance from the Payroll or Student Employment Office during the hiring process.

Income paid must be reported to the Social Security Administration on a W-2 form. The Payroll Department is required to report payments made to students who receive income during any calendar year. Students may be required to file tax returns on which they declare not only this kind of income but also any taxable stipends they have received during the calendar year. By law, taxes may be required to be withheld from graduate fellowship payments made to international students. 

Students who are US citizens for tax purposes do not have any withholding on their fellowship stipends which are generally for tuition, nor are these amounts reported to the Social Security Administration. However, all stipends and fellowships are considered by the IRS to be taxable income, to the extent that they exceed the cost of books, fees, equipment and supplies required of all students in a course of instruction.

It is recommended that students access their Form W-2 via the Student Information System (SIS). However, the student must first sign up to receive the W-2 electronically. Students may print the Form W-2 from the Student Information System (SIS).

Rensselaer is required by the IRS to furnish all employees with a Form W-2 no later than January 31 of each year for the purpose of completing their annual tax return. Rensselaer encourages employees to consent to receive their annual Form W-2 electronically rather than by mail; there many benefits to doing this, including the following:

  • Provides arlier access to your Form W-2. Typically, electronic W-2s are available by the second week in January, while paper W-2s are not mailed until January 30. Please be advised that only those employees who have consented to electronic-only W-2 delivery will be able to view their W-2 on the RSS/SIS site.
  • Eliminates potential for lost, stolen, delayed or damaged W-2s sent via the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Access is available 24/7 at the same easy-to-use secure web site at which you access your Payroll and Human Resources information.

Employees can enroll to receive electronic W-2s by following the steps below. Once an employee has given their consent, they do not need to do it again.

  1. Sign into the Rensselaer Self Service.
  2. Enter your secure userID and password.
  3. Click on Human Resources/Payroll Menu.
  4. Click on Tax Forms.
  5. Click on Electronic W-2 Consent.
  6. Check the box labeled Check To Receive W-2 Electronically.
  7. Click Submit.

Tax-related information is provided on the International Services for Students and Scholars web page; click on the accordion labeled Taxes. Please also review the International Student Worker section of this website for important non-resident alien tax compliance website information through Glacier. 

Form 1042S (International Students Only)

International students may receive a W-2 only, or a 1042S only, or both. The Form 1042S will report fellowship stipends and payments exempt under a tax treaty; all other payments are reported on a W-2. International students should wait until both forms have been made available before filing their tax returns. 

1042S forms are not accessible on SIS. A printed form will be mailed to the student's permanent address, and Payroll makes every effort to send the form to campus if the office knows the student is still on campus. The 1042S forms must be available to students on or before March 16. 

The Office of International Students and Scholars website contains information specifically pertaining to international students, and that Office may sponsor a tax workshop in the spring that many international students find helpful.


The Student Worker Employment Handbook includes information to clarify federal rules and regulations, as well as Rensselaer's policies and procedures for student workers. Topics include:

  • Defining a Student Worker
  • Finding a Job
  • Types of Jobs
  • Required Paperwork
  • Student Rights and Responsibilities
  • Training
  • Compensation and Getting Paid

Student workers will be held to the standards outlined in this handbook; including accurate and timely submission of time worked. Failure to follow these procedures may result in disciplinary action for both student workers and supervisors. We recommend that you thoroughly review this information.

Parents can play an important role in assisting students to find employment and maintaining academic balance in order to be successful. Three major ways that parents can assist their students are:

  • Help to ensure their student has the necessary documentation and identification to complete mandatory employment forms. Please refer to the Forms page (found in the student section of the website) to see what forms are required and what documentation is needed to complete the paperwork. The required documents must be the original; photocopies, PDFs or faxes will not be accepted. Students must fill out this paperwork on or before their first day of employment.
  • Encourage their student to explore employment options while maintaining balance with their academics. Students are not allowed to work for than 20 hours per week during academic terms. Determining the appropriate balance is important and the right amount of hours will be different for each student.
  • Talk to their students about the work they are doing in their job. By exploring career paths now, many students are able to identify future goals. While maintaining employment provides positive financial benefits, the experience also assists students as they explore what they may want to do in the future.

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