Unemployment Compensation Insurance

Student workers should be prepared to return to work in their on campus positions when their employing department requests they return.  If a student worker who has been asked to return to work by the University chooses not to return to work, the student may no longer be eligible  to receive Texas Unemployment Compensation Benefits.  Refusal to return to work could result in the student employee owing money back to the state if a post-payment audit were to take place and the student employee was found to be ineligible to receive the funds or was overpaid.

Yes, it is possible for a student worker to file an unemployment claim and possibly receive benefits.  The University does not make those determinations.  As with any employee, the individual circumstances of that employee help make the determination.  It is possible that individuals who have suffered a significant reduction in work hours may be eligible.

The Texas Workforce Commission determines eligibility for unemployment. To learn more about qualifying for UCI benefits, see the Texas Workforce Commission’s Unemployment Benefits Handbook.

Additional resources from the Texas Workforce Commission regarding unemployment and COVID-19:

It may be helpful if the department provides a statement for the student worker to use when filing a claim. The statement could be as simple as one of these:
  • <Insert name> is no longer working for our department because we do not have work for the employee at this time and will not for the foreseeable future due to COVID-19.
  • Due to COVID-19 <Insert name>, hours have been significantly reduced.

Coronavirus Student Employment Related Guidance

Updated December 11, 2020
The following answers are provided to frequently asked questions concerning students working during Texas A&M University’s transition to online classes due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Important new information is included regarding work study student employees. As circumstances are continuously evolving, this guidance may also change. Information will be communicated as quickly as possible.

Requirement to Retake COVID-19 Protocol and Certification Course Before Returning to Campus in 2021

Per CDC guidelines and guidance from the System Offices, TrainTraq course 2114130 : Protocol and Certification for System Member Employees has been updated. Employees are required to retake this course before returning to campus in 2021. The course will be reassigned to all Texas A&M employees (including main campus, Qatar, Texas A&M Health, and Galveston) on December 16.

  • Employees who last completed this course on or after November 4, 2020 will not receive a re-assignment and do not need to retake the course. 
  • TrainTraq course 2114131 : Safe Practices for Returning to the Office During the COVID-19 Pandemic will not be reassigned.
If you have questions regarding these courses or the reassignment, please contact Organization Development at OrgDev@tamu.edu.

It is the responsibility of each supervisor to verify that their student employees have completed their TrainTraq courses before they can return to work. Below are the steps supervisors can take to verify that the student employees have completed the TrainTraq courses. 
  • Log into SSO.
  • Select TrainTraq.
  • Change role to Manager.
  • Select “Transcript” on the drop-down menu under Employee.
  • Select the appropriate employee to review their TrainTraq transcript, which should include the two required courses. 
All employees, including student workers, can find information regarding Emergency Paid Sick leave on the Division of Human Resources website. It is important to note that employees who have received or in the process of receiving unemployment compensation benefits may not use FFCRA leave to be paid for the same work hours.
No. As always, regulations and university Standard Administrative Procedure 33.99.08.M0.01 do not allow students to be scheduled for work during scheduled class times. This includes online courses.
Only students who are considered essential may continue to work on campus. You should consult with your department head to determine if your student worker is essential to your operations. Supervision must be provided as well as appropriate social distancing requirements and other safety measures as noted by campus officials due to COVID-19.

Yes. We encourage departments to be creative in identifying mechanisms to allow student workers to work remotely with the provision that appropriate duties can be assigned and that the department has mechanisms in place to monitor that work. Students on work study may also work remotely. Although strongly encouraged, you are not required to provide remote work opportunities.

Non-Work Study Students (those that are not part of the federal or state work study programs through their award packages offered by the Scholarships & Financial Aid Office)

Students without work study awards or who have exhausted their work study award for 2019-2020 may not be paid for hours not worked. Any student experiencing a financial emergency due to a loss of student employment wages should contact Scholarships & Financial Aid by phone at
979-845-3236, email financialaid@tamu.edu, or via live chat on the financialaid.tamu.edu website.

Work Study Students (those who have available work study awarded as part of their financial aid award packages through Scholarships & Financial Aid)

Per guidance from the Department of Education and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, students paid from federal or state work study who have a remaining balance in their work study award may continue to be paid for hours they were expected to be able to work. The following stipulations apply.
  • Employer is closed for on-site work and remote work opportunity is not available to the student
  • Student has relocated outside of the local area due to COVID-19 and remote work opportunity is not
  • available to the student
  • A student cannot be paid if they have chosen not to work

Work study students who are working on campus as essential personnel or working remotely should continue to submit timesheets for actual hours worked following normal procedures and by published deadlines.

Work study students who are unable to work on campus and are not being provided remote work opportunities should be paid as follows.

  • The student or employer should submit a biweekly timesheet for the hours the student was scheduled to work. The following comment should be added to indicate the student is being paid for unworked hours.
    • Due to the COVID-19 disruption the student received FWS funds for their regularly scheduled work period of “insert pay period dates”
  • Timesheets must be submitted by the usual published payroll deadlines.
  • At this time, the ability to pay work study students for unearned hours is effective beginning March 16, 2020 and extends only through pay period #18, ending May 2, 2020.
  • The student must be paid based on their current pay rate. Changes in pay for student employees who are not actively working during this time will not be permitted.
  • It is imperative that you do not pay students more than they would have earned if they would have been able to continue working.
  • On campus employers are still required to pay the institutional share of work study wages.
  • The student can be paid for unearned hours from work study until their work study award has been exhausted. Once work study is exhausted, TAMU departments cannot continue to pay the student from department funds.
  • It is the responsibility of the employer to keep track of students’ remaining work study awards and to ensure no time is approved that would not be covered by the work study award.

Our office will continue to monitor funding levels and communicate with employers regarding students that are close to exhausting their award. In addition, we will closely monitor our total funding level in all work study programs. The Student Employment Office is available to assist with any questions concerning this information. Our staff will be working remotely beginning March 23rd. Please direct questions to workstudy@tamu.edu or leave a voicemail at 979-845-0686 and someone will return your call.