Federal Work-Study (FWS)

Student Handbook

A Message from the Financial Aid Office

The Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships would like to thank you for your interest in the Federal Work-Study Program. Work-study students serve as a valuable resource for our College and your assistance is greatly appreciated. This handbook was designed to help you better understand the Federal Work-Study Program and the opportunities that it provides. Recent studies have shown that work-study participants often perform better academically and develop a solid connection to the institution. The job opportunities offered by Blue Ridge enables students the ability to obtain “self-help” financial aid and an opportunity for career, social, personal, and educational development.

If you have any questions about our work-study program please contact the Work Study Coordinator at 540-453-2223 or at simmerss@brcc.edu.

Section I. Introduction to Federal Work-Study

A. Purpose

The purpose of this handbook is to define the rules and regulations of the student employment program at Blue Ridge Community College. The Federal Work-Study Program was established to allow students an opportunity to not only earn money, but to gain valuable experience through the work-study program. The faculty and staff depend upon the students for much of the work essential to the daily operation of the College.

B. Eligibility

To be considered for a Work-Study award, you must first complete the Free Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), which determines your financial need. Funding for the Federal Work-Study Program at Blue Ridge Community College is limited; therefore, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of completing this application early. Applications are available for the following year beginning April 1st.

After completing the FAFSA you must then complete the Work-Study Student Employment Application, and submit your completed application to the Financial Aid Office.

If eligible, you will receive an award notification indicating the maximum amount of gross pay to be earned per term.

C. Federal and Institutional Requirements

Under Federal regulations, a student may be selected for employment under the Federal Work-Study Program only if he/she meets all of the following requirements.

  • Enrolled in a minimum of 6 credits.
  • A U.S. citizen, or in the U.S. for other than a temporary purpose with the intention of becoming a permanent resident.
  • Capable, in the opinion of the institution, of maintaining a good academic standing while employed under the program.
  • In need of earnings from such employment in order to pursue a course of study at the institution.

D. Conditions of Employment

A student’s FWS award will usually allow him or her to work from 12 to 18 hours per week. Student Financial Aid will attempt to notify you when you are within $500 of the earnings limit.

If the student is working hours to make-up time missed from work, he/she may not work more than 20 hours per week or 8 hours per day. Students can only be employed in one FWS position at a time unless the student has received 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; however, the student may hold another non-work-study job.

Students are not allowed to work when regular College employees are not at work. In addition, students may not work during their scheduled class periods.

E. Benefits

The FWS Program offers no sick leave, compensatory time, vacation or holiday pay. As a Work-Study employee, you will have the opportunity to gain far more than a paycheck. Each day will bring rewarding new experiences and opportunities. The following is a list of benefits you may attain in your work-study position:

  • Opportunity to explore different career fields
  • Letters of recommendations
  • Increase computer and office skills
  • Experience for resume/portfolio
  • Networking connections
  • Time management strategies
  • Communication skills
  • Task organizational skills

F. Wage Rates and Calculations

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

Student employees may not earn more than the dollar amount of their award. The amount is determined by the Student Financial Aid Office. The award is divided in half to determine the work-study award amount per semester.

G. Summer Work-Study

Summer FWS is offered from funding remaining in the spring semester and also the impending fall semester. Since summer FWS is determined by this residual amount, it is not always offered during the summer months. If funding is available, students must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours) in both the summer and impending fall semester to be considered for FWS during the summer.

Section II: General Instructions and Procedures

A. 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. 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.

B. Timesheets

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 5 pm every Friday. Late time sheet submissions will not be processed until the following pay period.

C. Checks

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.

D. Schedules and 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.

Section III: Office Etiquette

A. Confidentiality and Integrity

Confidentiality is supreme. Do not share student information with anyone outside of the office. Students are required to sign a Confidentiality Statement, which the Student Financial Aid Office keeps on file with the student’s records. 

As an employee of the College working through the Federal Work Study program a student should maintain the utmost respect and integrity for the office in which they are employed as well as the College as a whole.

B. Office Attire

Students should dress appropriately. Many times the work-study student is the first impression visitors have about the College. College policy is business casual attire. Check with your immediate supervisor with questions about or variations from this policy.

C. General Office Guidelines

  • Students should be punctual and follow the schedule set by the student and their supervisor. If you must arrive late, leave early, or miss a day, notify the supervisor as soon as possible. Remember, this is a job, and you have a responsibility to the position.
  • Cell phones should not be used during working hours. If students need to make a call/text, they should ask their supervisor for permission, and remove themselves from the office area while making a personal call/text.
  • Do not use social networking sites on College computers while working.
  • Students should refrain from visiting with friends while working.
  • Homework is not allowed unless the student has received permission from their supervisor. However, all tasks for the office should be completed before permission is granted.

Work-study students are a valuable asset to the College. You are part of a team and should feel free to ask questions and give input on processes. We strive for efficient and high quality work. If you have a problem or concern, discuss it with your supervisor.