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freesoft's avatar

Graduate Student Employment Status in North America?

Asked by freesoft (61 points ) January 24th, 2013

Suppose you are a graduate student, when filling out forms for credit cards, what do you specify as employment status if the student option is not provided?

In particular, if you want to apply for a standard personal credit card (you already have a student card, excellent credit and enough scholarships to cover the required minimum annual income). The main reason I ask is because i would like to have some of the extra benefits of non-student cards. Since I do get paid as a graduate student and meet all the requirements, could I apply for a standard personal credit card and list my employer as my university?

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19 Answers

prasad's avatar

I guess you cannot use University as your employer. Look for “Other” option. I don’t know the rules there, but I wouldn’t use the University as my employer.

Call up their customer service or call center and better ask them.

JLeslie's avatar

Who pays you? If you actually do a jon and the university pays you, they are your employer. What are you paid for? Are you a TA? Help the professor with research? Are you simply just paid for just being a student? On some sort of fellowship? If you just get some sort of stipend for being a student, then that is not really an employment check, but it is money coming and should count. If there as an other box as @prasad suggests, I would pick that and write in the explanation.

glacial's avatar

^ Agreed. If you are TAing, or have done anything for money there at all, put the university as your employer. Be prepared for them to ask you for a contact they can phone to verify that you work there.

JLeslie's avatar

Ugh, computer glitch, couldn’t edit. Should be a “job” not jon, and the end of the paragraph should read I agree with @prasad about using an other box if there is one and explain the money you receive.

wundayatta's avatar

You are employed by the University. In some universities, your position is protected by a union who negotiates for salary increases and health benefits. It’s a real job with real pay, and you should consider it as such. No need to check off “other.”

BhacSsylan's avatar

If you are a grad student, you are a full-time student, not staff. You can list the university as your employer, however you are still a student.

And I’m also a graduate student, by the way. Though, I also have several non-student cards, so I’m not sure why you wouldn’t be able to do that. Being a student doesn’t stop you from getting a standard card, it just lets you get a student card.

livelaughlove21's avatar

I’m with @BhacSsylan. I’m a student and neither of my credit cards are student cards. Why would that be an issue?

wundayatta's avatar

@BhacSsylan Where are you a student? If you can’t say the name of the institution, just the state or the region of the country would be sufficient. Labor laws are different in different states.

BhacSsylan's avatar

University of Arizona. The difference is pretty obvious to me, as Faculty/Staff and Student benefits are quite different. May not be so for the OP, but as a graduate student, you take >=12 credits per semester, making you a full-time student. We are Graduate students, after all. Post-doctoral positions are staff, though, as there is no classes there.

JLeslie's avatar

@BhacSsylan The OP is a student who is paid for something.

BhacSsylan's avatar

…yes? So am I.

JLeslie's avatar

@BhacSsylan If you are earning money you are an employee.

BhacSsylan's avatar

You are also, and primarily, a student, and do not qualify for staff benefits.

JLeslie's avatar

@BhacSsylan What does staff benefits mean?

BhacSsylan's avatar

As in, benefits for being a full time employee. We are considered part-time at best. Insurance coverage,, etc.

JLeslie's avatar

@BhacSsylan Why would a credit card company care about that? Employment is employment, whether the company offers benefits or not.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Which is what I said above. We’re not full time, but I did say that it shouldn’t matter.

JLeslie's avatar

@BhacSsylan You seemed to put the emphasis on student and not being staff, but you are staff from the outside worlds point of you. Part of the working staff. I think I just misunderstood where you were going with what you wrote. Thanks for clarifying.

glacial's avatar

The status of the student depends totally on the institution. In the university that I currently attend, I am considered a full-time student, not an employee – because my money comes totally from scholarships. At my last university, I was considered both a full-time student and an employee – because I had a TAship and part of the money I received was salary. I was a part of a union of teaching assistants. My income was taxed. I was a graduate student at both schools.

None of us can say definitively whether the OP is an employee of the university, because our individual experiences cannot be generalized to all universities. The OP needs to determine where his income comes from (this is not always obvious), and decide from there. In my experience, the bank will ask for a reference at the institution to verify that the applicant is employed. They know that it is not always clear-cut.

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