Skip to main content

Information for:


Guidelines for Student Wages

All payments for work performed are processed by Dartmouth College Payroll. As a general rule, all students employed by Dartmouth College are expected to be paid hourly using the biweekly pay schedule. There are very few generally accepted exceptions to hourly pay for student employment. For more details regarding what these exceptions are, or questions about what process to use when issuing payments to students, please review the How to process Payments to Students at Dartmouth College Guidelines.

Setting an Hourly Rate

As a campus, we strive to ensure that student pay is administered equitably and consistently. A student's rate of pay should not be based on the number of hours worked or the funding availability. Instead, supervisors are strongly encouraged to use the Dartmouth Student Employment Office "Recommended Student Hourly Rate Structure" worksheet (PDF, 325KB) as a guide to set a fair and equitable hourly wage for student positions.

The minimum rate of pay for each range is determined by reviewing the following factors:

  • The range and complexity of the job's duties
  • The knowledge and skill requirements necessary to perform the job
  • Equity, including wage relationships with other student employees doing similar work across campus.

Generally it is expected that a student's starting hourly wage will begin at or near the minimum salary within a wage grade and receive increases with longevity and performance, but the following factors may support an hourly wage closer to the middle of the range:

  • Market conditions, working conditions, nature of the work involved, and/or recruitment difficulty
  • Prior related work experience and training

A standardized scale allows employers to pay students a wage commensurate with the skills and experience required to successfully perform the job and offers an opportunity to provide students with promotional incentives. All wages and wage increases are subject to the availability of funds within the department.

back to top

Federal Work-Study: What an Employer Needs to Know

Federal Work-Study (FWS) funds will offset 75% of a student's hourly wage if the position is funded by outside grants, Tuck School of Business, Thayer School of Engineering or Geisel School of Medicine until the student exhausts their FWS eligibility. This wage subsidy only applies to hourly-paid positions. It is not applicable if the student is paid in a lump sum.

back to top

Wage Increases :

Differential Pay refers to additional compensation earned by an employee for working less desirable shifts (e.g., 2nd or 3rd shift) and it is computed as a percentage of the employee's rate of basic pay. If a department chooses to offer differential pay for particular shifts, it is recommended that the differential pay be not less than 10% and not more than 25% of the student employee's base pay rate.

Longevity increases are designed to reward students for continuous employment within a department and to encourage retention. While the awarding of student wage increases is at the discretion of the department, an hourly wage increase of 2% is recommended for every student employee whose work performance is satisfactory or above satisfactory and who returns to the same department in the same or similar position each academic term. All wages and wage increases are subject to the availability of funds within the department.

This chart below is provided to allow for easy calculation of wage increases for each term worked. It uses the minimum hourly wage for each of the compensation grades in the Student Hourly Rate Structure. If you use a starting wage other than the minimum, you may change the calculation on the Wage Increase Formula excel spreadsheet (MS Excel, 12 KB) simply by entering a different rate into the highlighted cell.

Merit increases allow supervisors to reward student employees who perform at a level beyond expectation for a continued period of time. In order to provide a merit increase, a supervisor should complete a formal Student Performance Evaluation with the student. We have included two sample performance evaluations below that you may adapt to fit your student position. The results of the performance evaluation should be "Excellent" or "Outstanding."

Merit increases should add no more than an additional 2% increase (beyond the 2% already given for longevity) and only after at least two terms of exceptional service in the position. All wages and wage increases are subject to the availability of funds within the department.

standard increases in pay

back to top


Any hours in excess of 40 hours per week (not 80 hours in a biweekly pay period) are considered overtime. This policy applies to all work a student may perform for any number of departments at the College in a workweek. If a student has two or more different jobs at the College, the overtime hours will be pro-rated equitably among the employer accounts. The employer is responsible for 100% of the overtime hours, paid at 1.5 times the rate of pay.

As a supervisor, you should ask the students who work for you if they are working anywhere else on campus and how many hours per week they are scheduled for in that department. This will help to prevent unexpected overtime. Overtime hours are not eligible for subsidy by Federal Work-Study funds.

back to top

Last Updated: 3/20/15