Consistent with its mission, Brown offers its undergraduate students a diversity of opportunities for leadership, teaching, research, volunteer work, and other employment to enhance the student experience in the classroom. Any duties that students may perform for compensation are subject to federal regulation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and the U.S. Department of Labor.
To review undergraduate employment opportunities and to clarify their meaning relative to federal regulations, the categories below define the types of work that turn an undergraduate student into an actual "employee" of Brown. An actual employee of Brown requires hourly wages, thus allowing alternative methods of recognition or payment.
Student Employment – Work that benefits the employing department and related to the duties and responsibilities of the department. The work is necessary to conduct department objectives and creates an employer/employee relationship. This category should be considered the "default" option for any kind of student work.
NOTE: Undergraduate teaching and research assistants always fall into this category.
- Volunteer Work - Service provided voluntarily. There is a mutual understanding that there will be no payment for services performed. Reimbursing or covering expenses incurred is allowable. Some examples are Meiklejohn Advisors, Campus Tour Guides, Orientation Welcoming Committee, and Swearer Center Volunteers.
- Scholarly Award – Work that has an obvious academic or research component designed to advance the student's education or training. Approved opportunities include Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards, Research at Brown Grants, Royce and Mellon Fellowships, Science Fellows, Brown Internship Awards, and the Brown International Scholars Program. View full list of approved Scholarly Awards.
- Program Leadership and Coordination – Activities that have a clear intent to develop the student's capabilities in leadership and program development. These activities are designed so the student's skills and knowledge continue to be evaluated and advanced. Approved opportunities include Meiklejohn Leadership, Swearer Center Leaders, Residence Advisors, Residential Peer Leaders, Minority Peer Counselors, and Writing Fellows. View full list of approved Program Leader/Coordination opportunities.
Please follow these categories when determining the appropriate payment method for student workers. Failure to follow these guidelines could put the University at risk. Email Student Employment with any questions.
Note: Prizes and reimbursements are not considered employment. Please refer to the Controller's Office for additional information.
Student Hourly Wages
Effective January 2023, pursuant to the RI Pay Equity Law requirements, employers are prohibited from asking any wage history from candidates.