Student hourly work limitations are established by State of Iowa law.  Student employment exists to support students in the pursuit of an academic degree.  In order to insure success, both in the classroom and on the job, balance is the key. Too many work hours may place a student's academic success at risk.

It is important to note that college coursework doesn’t take place just in the classroom.  Information from the University of Iowa Handbook for New Students, provided during Orientation, recommends that for every semester hour of credit, a student should expect to have one contact hour in the classroom and two study hours out of the classroom. A student who works more than 20 hours per week may find it difficult to schedule enough study hours which could negatively impact success in school.

The limitations below apply regardless of the number of student jobs a student has or the number of semester hours for which they are enrolled (i.e., enrolled in one class or full-time).

Students who work over 40 hours per week will be paid overtime; however, per federal regulations, Work-Study cannot cover overtime wages.

Student Hourly, Part-Time Only

  • 20 hours per week maximum (all hourly jobs combined). Exception: 40 hours over Thanksgiving, winter, and spring breaks, and summer.

Student Hourly, Work-Study Only

  • 20 hours per week maximum (all hourly jobs combined).  Exception: 40 hours over Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks, and summer.
  • Although these are the hour limitations by law, the Work-Study dollar eligibility of the student will determine the average number of hours per week a Work-Study student can work before the Work-Study award is earned. This may limit the average weekly work hours to less than the maximums listed above. The following example is for a student awarded $1,750 Work-Study per semester who is earning the minimum wage of $8.20/hour:
    • The student can work an average of 9.7 hours per week during the 22-week fall period, which includes winter break ($8.20 x 9.7 hours x 22 weeks = $1,749.88)
    • The student can work an average of 11.8 hours per week during the 18-week spring period ($8.20 x 11.8 hours x 18 weeks = $1,741.68)
  • Many employers can continue to employ a student after the Work-Study award is earned.  The student should discuss this option with the employer before developing their weekly work schedule.

Student Hourly in Addition to Salaried Employment (merit, professional, or graduate assistantship)

  • 40 hours per week maximum (all hourly and salaried jobs combined).

International Students

Residence Hall Assistants (RAs)

  • Per University Housing policy, RAs are not eligible to work at a student hourly position during the academic year.  Exception: During winter break, 40 hours per week is allowed.