Federal Work-Study Rules and Policies

Getting a Job

A student's primary resource in finding a work-study job is the Work-Study Jobs section of the Work-Study website. The student can search for both on- and off-campus jobs. On-campus jobs are searchable either by department or by job title. Off-campus jobs are searchable by organization. Each job lists the department, job title, a brief description, a list of desired qualifications, the pay rate, and contact information. When a student finds a job listing of interest, he or she should call or email the contact person listed and arrange for an interview. If the interview is successful, the student may be hired for the position. If the student is not hired, he or she should continue calling employers or ask for assistance from the Financial Aid Office staff.

Once a Student is Hired

Hiring Authorization Form

Immediately upon being hired, the supervisor should complete a Work-Study Authorization Form. The Work-Study Authorization Form will outline the number of hours the student is eligible to work, the rate of pay, etc. The student will return this form to the Student Financial Aid Office Work Study Coordinator. The student must then obtain all of the necessary documents that must be completed prior to beginning work from the Work Study Coordinator. Once the student has successfully completed this paperwork this must be turned into the college’s Human Resource Office.

Payroll Forms

Before an employee is put on the payroll, he or she must complete an Employee Essential Information form, a Federal W-4 tax form, a State Form VA-4 tax form, Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) I-9 form (The I-9 form is required by federal law before anyone is hired in a new job. It proves identity and employment eligibility), a Background Check Release form, a Commonwealth of Virginia’s Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs Certification and a Division of Child Support Enforcement Certification, and if applicable a Notification and Release Form (must be completed if student has lived out of state at any time in the last 7 years).


Tax forms--and taxes in general--can be very confusing to both students and employees. Although the Federal Work-Study Program receives funds from the Federal Government, income earned through the Work-Study Program is not exempt from federal or state taxation. Therefore, each student must complete state (Form VA-4) and federal tax withholding (W-4) forms. Any questions regarding payroll forms should be directed to the Financial Aid Office or Payroll Department.

Confidentiality Agreement

Work-study student employees who handle private or sensitive information in the performance of their jobs must be informed of the University policy on confidentiality, and will be asked to sign a confidentiality agreement. The signed agreement must be kept in the Financial aid Office.

VCCS Ethic Agreement

Work-study student employees who are granted access to the Virginia Community College System's local and wide area computer systems will be required to complete this certification statement.

Electronic Time Sheet

All hours worked must be recorded the Electronic Time Sheet. Pay periods are two weeks long. If the student begins working during the middle of a pay period, it is important to enter the hours in the correct week on the electronic timesheet. The supervisor is responsible for approving the hours; therefore, students are responsible for submitting their time sheets when due to their direct supervisors in their department. Signed times sheets are due in to the Financial Aid Office by 3 pm every Friday. Late time sheet submissions will not be processed until the following pay period.


Checks are issued biweekly by the Payroll Office on the Friday two weeks after the end of the pay period. Thus, any student starting at the beginning of a pay period will not receive his first check for four weeks. Checks are mailed to the work study student’s mailing address. Students should ensure that they keep their mailing address current with the College Admission’s Office.

Wages, Benefits, etc.

Work-study students do not receive benefits such as sick or vacation leave. However employers should offer student employees a minimum thirty-minute lunch/dinner break if scheduled for six or more hours.

Schedules & Breaks

When hired, the student and employer should establish a work schedule which is convenient for both parties. To ensure that a student meets, but does not exceed, his or her earnings limit, it is best to divide the student's limit by the number of weeks to be worked and the wage rate. The result will be the approximate hours per week the student should work. The Financial Aid Office will provide the student worker with their wage rate and the average number of eligible employment hours they may work each week. Once this schedule is established, the student is responsible for working those hours. A new schedule should be revisited at the beginning of each semester. Students should not work more than twenty (20) hours per week, and should not work over forty (40) hours per pay period. Work during scheduled breaks is permitted if mutually agreed upon by the student and supervisor. However, please remember that the income earned during these vacation periods will count towards the student's work-study award limit. If you work four or more hours a day you are entitled to breaks and/or lunch.


The current wage rate is $8.00 an hour for on-campus positions and $11.00 an hour for off-campus community service positions.

Changing Jobs

The Financial Aid Office encourages students to remain in their positions the entire academic year. We realize, however, that school work is the student’s primary responsibility. Should a conflict arise between classes and work schedule, or the job does not allow sufficient time for studies, the student can terminate his or her position, or transfer to a different department. Students dissatisfied with their positions should attempt to work out the difficulties with their supervisor before requesting a transfer. The Financial Aid Office can provide counseling for anyone experiencing difficulties. In the event you decide to transfer you must give two weeks advanced notice to your present supervisor.

Additional Work-Study Jobs

Supervisors and students alike are asked to implement a work schedule that will ensure that students reach their earnings limit by the end of the award year. For this reason, no student may be employed in more than one department at any given time without prior permission from the Work-Study Coordinator. Any student desiring such authorization should contact the Coordinator in person. Permission is granted if the student cannot reach their award limit through his/her present job alone or if the second position is more relevant to his career interests.

Job Termination


Students are expected, although not required, to work a minimum of one semester before changing jobs. It is preferred that students change jobs between semesters, if possible. A student must give the supervisor two weeks notice when terminating; however, it is acceptable for a supervisor and student to agree upon a shorter period of notice. A student must have the employer complete a Job Termination Form and an Employee Performance Evaluation Form before leaving the job. These forms must be received in the Financial Aid before the student may obtain a new Authorization Form for another job.


Supervisors may terminate a student's employment for any of the following reasons: 1) the student is unable to perform his tasks in an acceptable manner; 2) budget cuts require laying-off a student, or 3) dishonesty or other activities requiring immediate dismissal. If an employer is not satisfied with a student's performance, the following steps should be taken:

  1. Discuss the problem with the student;
  2. If the problem continues, write the student a letter/email describing the problem, the previously held verbal discussion(s), and a statement of consequences if the behavior is not corrected. (You may wish to give the student a particular time frame in which to correct the problem.) A copy of this letter/email must be forwarded to the Work-Study Coordinator immediately; and
  3. If there is no correction of the behavior, the student's employment should be terminated. The supervisor should notify the student and should complete both a Job Termination Form and an Employee Performance Evaluation Form, being sure to state the reasons that the employee was terminated. Problems such as dishonesty or theft call for immediate dismissal from the Program. Supervisors should contact the Work-Study Coordinator as soon as possible in such instances.

When a poor evaluation and/or termination is received by the Financial Aid Office, the Work-Study Coordinator will contact the student and provide counseling regarding the situation. If a supervisor initiates a termination for a non-negative reason, such as budgetary constraints or the completion of a project, the termination should be handled similar to a student-initiated termination with the supervisor giving the student at least two weeks notice. The Financial Aid Office will make every effort to assist in placing a student terminated for such reasons.

Falsification of a time record by a student is a serious offense. The consequences are:

  • Immediate removal from the Federal Work-Study Program.
  • The amount of Federal Work-Study awarded will be cancelled and will not be replaced with any federal or institutional assistance.
  • A Termination Notice will be placed in the student's file indicating the reason for removal.
  • This matter will be referred to Student Affairs for appropriate disciplinary action.
  • Payroll will be notified of the correct hours worked.
  • The Virginia State Police will be notified regarding a possible criminal investigation.
  • Since federal funds are involved the United States Office of Inspector General must be contacted concerning the offense.