Federal Work-Study Supervisor Handbook

A Message from the Financial Aid Office

The Office of Student Financial Aid & Scholarships would like to express our gratitude for your participation in the Federal Work-Study Program. Because of your participation, we are able to employ many talented students each year. These job opportunities allow our students “self-help” financial aid and an opportunity for career, social, personal, and educational development.

The Supervisor’s Guide has been created to help you understand the work-study program better and to help us better manage the program. We hope that you will take the time to read this guide that has been prepared to better acquaint you with the program requirements.

I. Introduction to Work-Study

A. Purpose

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is designed to provide financial assistance to students through part-time employment and encourages recipients to participate in community service activities. In addition to providing opportunities for students to earn a portion of their educational costs, the program provides experience in developing skills, creativity, and responsibility. Student development and preparation for the job market are fundamental goals of the program.

In summary, we seek to provide work-study students with:

  • Opportunities for Career Development
  • Educational Experiences
  • Opportunities to Demonstrate Social Responsibility
  • Provides an Environment to Serve Others
  • Opportunities for Personal Growth
  • “Self help” Financial Aid With Less Long-Term Debt

B. Eligibility

Students must demonstrate financial need to be eligible to participate in the FWS Program. This process involves completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). 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.

Students who have been awarded FWS will receive an award notification indicating the maximum amount of gross pay to be earned per term. Because of limited funding for FWS, we are not able to offer this assistance to all who are eligible.

The selected candidate will be subject to a full background check as a condition of employment.  BRCC is an equal opportunity employer and auxiliary aids & services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

C. Federal and Institutional Requirements

Due to the specific nature of the Federal Work-Study Program, there are many federal & institutional requirements that must be followed to remain in compliance. Failure to comply with these requirements and deadline dates could result in termination from the program.

Listed below are the requirements and deadline dates that you must comply with in order to participate as a FWS supervisor.

  1. A supervisor must comply with the College’s policy on Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment. A supervisor must also comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against a “qualified individual with a disability” in all aspects of employment, including application for employment procedures, hiring, compensation, training, discharge, and benefits.
  2. The Financial Aid Office must have a job vacancy and job description on file before a department can employ FWS student workers. Also, all employing departments must read and follow the Supervisor’s Guide and all procedures and instructions as stated.
  3. Please make copies of the student’s class and work schedules – they should be compared to make sure students do not work during scheduled class time.
  5. To request students for the upcoming academic year, complete and return the Work-Study Request Form to The Financial Aid Office by April 1st of each year.
  6. Job Evaluation should be completed by May 1st each year or upon the student’s termination from the job assignment, whichever occurs first.
  7. All off-campus community service employers must have a contract on file with BRCC.

D. Conditions of Employment

The FWS Program offers no sick leave, compensatory time, vacation or holiday pay. 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 a student is 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; however, the student may hold another non-work-study job. All work should be supervised. Students should not be allowed to work when regular College employees are not at work. In addition, students may not work during their scheduled class periods. FWS employees are paid $8 an hour for on-campus positions and $11 an hour for off-campus positions.

E. 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: Supervision

Supervisor Responsibilities

A FWS supervisor has been entrusted with federal dollars for the student upon hiring the student employee. The student should be treated like any other personnel. In order to be given this privilege of using the Federal Work-Study Program, the responsibilities of the supervisor and the student should be clearly understood and enforced.

Student Employment should mean more than a paycheck for your student workers. It can be used as an opportunity to gain valuable job experiences and skills. Here are a few suggestions to help your FWS student get the most out of his/her job:

1. Establish a Work Schedule

Upon hiring a Federal Work-Study student, the supervisor is responsible for establishing a clearly defined work schedule that is compatible with the time requirement of both the student and the department. The supervisor should provide opportunities for the student to make up time lost from work due to unavoidable circumstances. Students are not allowed to work, under any circumstances, during class time. Make-up time should be reported during the actual period that it is worked. Make-up hours should not exceed 20 hours per week.

Example: A student who normally works 15 hours per week misses 5 hours of work, only working 10 hours that week. A supervisor can allow that student to make up the missing 5 hours in the following week as long as the student does not work over 20 hours in one week.

2. Orientation

The supervisor is responsible for conducting a student job orientation, including but not limited to:

  • A brief one-on-one overview of the office structure and office rules and regulations
  • The student’s job and responsibilities, i.e.
    • What to say when answering the phone
    • How to transfer calls
    • How to put calls on hold
    • Signing onto the computer
    • Answers to commonly asked questions
    • Frequently used phone numbers
    • Areas of responsibility in office
    • Procedures for filing forms, etc.
  • Grounds for any disciplinary action
  • Whom to call if sick or time-off is needed
  • What procedures to follow if his/her work schedule needs to be changed
  • Timesheet training with Coordinator of Work-study

3. Evaluate Job Performance

A written performance evaluation using the Work-Study Job Evaluation is required. Please take the time and effort to complete the evaluation carefully giving the student accurate feedback on his/her performance. After completing the evaluation, you need to schedule time with the student to review the assessment. This information will be helpful if you are called upon to be a reference for the student. The Federal Work Study Job Evaluation form should be completed and turned into the Financial Aid Office.

Section III: General Instructions and Procedures

A. How to Post Job Vacancies

An approved job description must be on file for each vacant position in order to be included on the job list. To hire a work-study student, a department must have an approved Federal Work-Study Request form on file with the Financial Aid Office. A department being included on the job list in no way guarantees that you will receive a work-study student.

What makes for a well-crafted job description?

  • It is concise.
  • It has sufficient detail to communicate a clear understanding of the duties, tasks, and qualifications.
  • It has a short, descriptive job title. Decide on the title last so you can see the full range of job content that is involved first.
  • It concludes with a list of duties or something like, “Performs any other duties as required.” This brings with it the responsibility to be reasonable in what you require, but it affords a useful flexibility if you happen to be dealing with a student employee who wants to be totally literal about what she/he signed on to do!

B. Hiring the FWS Student

Pre-employment Interview

Each student will fill out a Work-Study application. The Financial Aid Office will award eligible students and refer them to the online job listings. They are instructed to review the list and schedule an interview with the contact person for the job(s) of interest to them.

The supervisor should conduct the interview in such a manner as to determine the student’s suitability for the position. It is the supervisor’s decision whether to hire the student. The student is given the opportunity to accept or reject the offer. We suggest that you take the time to really determine a student’s compatibility with a position before hiring. This will alleviate possible future problems.


Upon successfully hiring a student applicant, you will need to complete the Work Study Hiring Authorization Form and instruct the student to return this information to the Work Study Coordinator. The student will need to complete the Work-Study payroll paperwork. Please instruct the student to visit the Financial Aid Office to obtain all of the necessary paperwork prior to beginning work. No student will be allowed to begin until all paperwork has been received and processed by the Human Resource Office.

The selected candidate will be subject to a full background check as a condition of employment.  BRCC is an equal opportunity employer and auxiliary aids & services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

College Policy on Equal Opportunity

It is the policy of the Virginia Community College System to maintain and promote equal employment opportunity, without regard to race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age, or handicap. The College is committed to providing equal educational opportunities to students within the BRCC service region. Inquiries concerning the equal opportunity policy should be addressed to the Vice President of Financial and Administrative Services, whose office is located in Armstrong Hall, Room C108 and who can be reached at 453-2281 or at pagec@brcc.edu.

C. Payroll Procedures

One of the most important responsibilities of the work-study supervisor is the timekeeping and reporting function. It is important that you implement a process of validating and reporting the hours that a student works and follow this process consistently. This section will outline the process and paperwork recommended for timekeeping. We do not require you to follow these exact procedures; however, you must keep records in your office of actual hours worked in order to satisfy both time reporting and auditing requirements.

Validation of Actual Hours Worked

Keep in mind that:

  • Students must not be allowed to work during scheduled class hours.
  • Students must not be allowed to work more than 8 hours per day or 18 hours a week (a student should only be allowed to work 20 hours to make up hours missed in a previous work week).
  • Students must not be allowed to work more hours per semester than their work-study award will pay.

Departments must abide by these requirements in order to remain eligible to participate in the FWS Program.

Completion of Time Sheets

Students will need to submit their time worked on the electronic time sheet and print off for their supervisor to approve. The student is responsible for returning the time sheet to the Financial Aid Office. The Electronic Timesheet is available through the students MYBRCC account. Supervisors are responsible for the hours reported on time sheets. The signature of the supervisor on the time sheet certifies the number of hours worked and that the work was performed in a satisfactory manner. Students are also required to sign the time sheet.

Please make sure that your students are completing their time sheets completely and accurately.

Receiving a Paycheck

Students will be paid on a bi-weekly basis. Two options are available for check distribution. Checks may be directly deposited into the student's checking or savings account or students may have their checks mailed. 

2019 Biweekly Payroll Schedule
Pay Period BeginsPay Period EndsPay Date
August 2August 15August 30
August 16August 29September 13
August 30September 12September 27
September 13September 26October 11
September 27October 10October 25
October 11October 24November 8
October 25November 7November 22
November 8November 21December 6
November 22December 5December 20

Monitoring Earnings

It is the supervisor’s responsibility to monitor a student’s earnings to ensure that the student does not work more hours than the work-study award will pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, prohibits employers (including schools) from accepting voluntary services from any paid employee. Any student employed under the FWS Program must be paid for all hours worked.

Students are awarded an amount, which will allow them to usually work an average of 12 to 18 hours per week. If a student is allowed to work more than this average, he or she will deplete the allocation before the semester is completed. Departments who consistently submit work-study time sheets for more hours than FWS awards should understand that their student worker may not be able to work the entire semester due to earning their work-study allotment ahead of schedule. The Financial Aid Office will attempt to send notifications, as necessary, indicating the number of hours a student has remaining to work but the student and supervisor should keep a record of this.

D. Termination and Transfer Procedures

1. Normal Annual Termination

Students are automatically terminated from the FWS Program on the last day of Spring semester classes. If the student desires to re-establish eligibility for work-study for the following year, a new application must be submitted.

2. No Longer Interested in the Program

Students may voluntarily terminate their FWS award if they are no longer interested in the program. They are required to give their supervisor a two-week notice, at which time the supervisor will inform the Financial Aid Office by sending our office the termination form downloaded from our website. You must also include an evaluation form as well.

3. Termination by Supervisor

A supervisor has the right to dismiss a student for unsatisfactory job performance. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Repeated failure to comply with the agreed work schedule
  • Unwillingness to accomplish assigned tasks
  • Insubordination or lack of cooperation which results in disturbing other workers or work progress

When a student is terminated from an assignment, the current supervisor is required to contact the Financial Aid Office immediately. Failing to do this may result in errors on the student’s time sheet. The supervisor is also responsible for sending the termination form to the Financial Aid Office.

After receiving the termination form, the Federal Work-Study Coordinator will meet with the student to determine whether the student will be allowed to transfer to another FWS position or will be terminated from the program permanently.

4. Termination by the Financial Aid Office

Student Financial Aid must immediately terminate a student’s employment upon determination that the student no longer meets eligibility requirements. Changes in eligibility may result from:

  • Change in enrollment status
  • Failure to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Receipt of additional resources, which were not known at the time of award (i.e. scholarships, grants, etc.)