An Employer’s Guide to the Federal Work-Study Program
AN INTRODUCTION TO THE FEDERAL WORK-STUDY PROGRAM
Simply put, if your organization qualifies for the Federal Work-Study Program and you hire a student who qualifies for the program, the federal government provides your organization with money to pay a portion of the student employee’s wages.
The federal government developed this program to encourage businesses to employ students and to encourage students to seek employment in community service organizations.
This government program is administered on campus by Walla Walla University's (WWU’s) student employment manager. The manager connects eligible organizations with students who meet the business’s employment qualifications and the government’s Work-Study qualifications.
QUALIFYING FOR FEDERAL WORK-STUDY PROGRAM FUNDING
In order to receive Work-Study Program funding, your organization must:
- In cooperation with the student employment manager, enter into an agreement with WWU that confirms the organization’s eligibility to participate in the Work-Study Program and reflects the organization’s willingness to comply with all program requirements.
- Submit proof of nonprofit status if applicable.
- Submit a detailed job description—including the pay range—for each position offered.
- Not deny work or subject a prospective student employee to different treatment on the grounds of race, color, sex, national origin or any other form of discrimination prohibited by law.
In order for a job to qualify as a Work-Study position, the following conditions must apply:
- Staffing the position with a student employee must not displace regular workers (including those on strike) and must not impair existing contracts for service.
- The job must be non-sectarian. (Religious material must not be used for tutoring in reading, and the job must not involve constructing or maintaining part or all of a building used for sectarian instruction.)
- The job must serve the public interest rather than that of a specific group and must not involve political activity—partisan or nonpartisan.
PAYING A STUDENT EMPLOYEE IN THE WORK-STUDY PROGRAM
The following guidelines apply to matters of remuneration and reimbursement:
- Pay rates must be based on the skills required for the job, must meet or exceed minimum wage and should be comparable to the rates of non-student employees doing similar work.
- Pay undergraduate students an hourly rate for all hours worked. Graduate students may be paid an hourly rate or a salary. Do not accept voluntary service from Work-Study Program participants.
- Pay students at least once a month. They may be paid by check or by direct deposit. Notify students of any pay-rate changes.
- Students’ earnings are subject to federal taxes, FICA (Social Security), worker's compensation, etc., which must be withheld from the student’s paycheck. The employer is responsible for a portion of these deductions.
- A student’s wages may not be garnished to pay any debt other than the costs of attendance the student owes WWU.
- Pay the student first. Then, to claim reimbursement, submit a properly completed Federal Work-Study Program time sheet, in pen, not pencil,for each Work-Study employee—to the student employment manager within 15 days after the end of the pay period. (Your signature is taken as verification of the student’s information and of yours, so sign and date the time sheet after the student does.) It takes about three weeks for employer reimbursements to be processed.
- Blank time sheets may be obtained from the student employment manager. Students are not permitted to deliver completed time sheets.
- The student’s employment records must be retained for seven years.
In addition to the requirements outlined above, your organization is responsible for meeting the following conditions in order to begin or continue receiving Work-Study Program funding:
- Do not allow a student to begin working until the student has presented a letter from WWU indicating Work-Study eligibility. This letter will include the student’s name, dates of work eligibility and the student’s Work-Study award limit.
- Complete the bottom portion of the student’s eligibility letter. Return it to the student employment manager before the student begins working.
- Provide student employees with appropriate breaks for rest and meals as required by state and federal labor standards.
- Supervise—to a reasonable extent—work performed by the Work-Study Program participant so that the responsibilities of the position are fulfilled and the student realizes the educational benefits of the job.
- Monitor the student employee’s earnings to make sure they do not exceed the award limit./li>
- Record each student’s Work-Study eligibility dates and terminate the student’s employment on the ending date or when the student ceases to be enrolled at least half-time at WWU.
- Do not allow students to work during their class time.
Become acquainted with WWU's financial aid and student employment programs to better understand the school's educational objectives. Access information at the Financial Aid page and the Student Employment page.