Federal Work-Study Rules and Policies

Getting a Job

The primary resource for finding work-study jobs is the Work-Study Jobs section of the Work-Study website. Students 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. Job listings include 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 to arrange an interview. If the interview is successful, the student may be offered the position. If the student is not hired, he or she may continue calling employers, or ask for assistance from the Financial Aid Office staff.

Once a Student is Hired

Hiring Authorization Form

When a student is hired, the supervisor should complete a Work-Study Authorization Form. The student will return this form to the Student Financial Aid Office Work Study Coordinator. The student must complete the necessary documents prior to beginning work. Once the student completes this paperwork, it must be turned into the College’s Human Resource Office for processing.

Payroll Forms

Students must complete a State Application and the Employee packet. The Employee packet contains the Employee Essential Information form, a Background Check Release form, a Notification and Release Form (must be completed to include the last 7 years of residency and if student has lived out of state at any time in the last 7 years) and the list of acceptable documents for the I-9 form. Other documents required to set up a student’s payroll account are 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 Commonwealth of Virginia’s Policy on Alcohol and Other Drugs Certification and a Division of Child Support Enforcement Certification. These documents can be completed online through SilkRoad Onboarding and information to complete these will be sent to a student’s VCCS email account.


Income earned through the Work-Study Program is NOT exempt from federal or state taxation. Students must complete state (Form VA-4) and federal tax withholding (W-4) forms. Questions regarding payroll forms should be directed to the Human Resources Office.

Confidentiality Agreement

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

VCCS Ethics 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 on 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. Supervisors are responsible for approving the hours; therefore, students must submit their time sheets when due to their direct department supervisors. Signed times sheets are due in to the Financial Aid Office by 5 pm every Friday. Late time sheet submissions will not be processed until the following pay period.


The Payroll Office issues checks biweekly 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 a first check for four weeks. Checks are mailed to the work-study student’s mailing address, or the student may opt for Direct Deposit when completing their HR forms. Students should ensure that their mailing address is correct with the College Admission’s Office.

Wages and Benefits

The current wage rate is $8.00 an hour for on-campus positions and $11.00 an hour for off-campus community service positions. Work-study students do not receive benefits such as sick or vacation leave.

Schedules & Breaks

Students and employers should establish a work schedule that 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 that may be worked 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 fifteen (15) hours per week, and should not work over thirty (30) hours per pay period. Work during scheduled breaks is permitted if mutually agreed upon by the student and supervisor. However, remember that the income earned during these vacation periods will count towards the student's work-study award limit. If you work six or more hours a day, you are entitled to breaks and/or lunch.

Changing Jobs

The Financial Aid Office encourages students to remain in their positions the entire academic year. We realize, however, that schoolwork 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 may terminate his or her employment, 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 having trouble. In the event you decide to transfer, you must give two weeks’ 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, students may not be employed in more than one department at the same 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 tasks in an acceptable manner or 2) dishonesty or other activities requiring immediate dismissal. If an employer is not satisfied with a student's performance, the following steps should be taken:

  • Discuss the problem with the student;
  • 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; and
  • 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 the Financial Aid Office receives a poor evaluation and/or termination, 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 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.
  • Termination Notice placed in the student's file indicating the reason for removal
  • Referral to the VP of Student Services 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.