Federal Work-Study Employer FAQ

How do I create a work-study position? Can a position be both work-study and regular wage?

First, discuss your proposed student position with your Human Resources Consultant (HRC).  They will be able to review the various student Job Profiles (Student Assistant 1 - 3) as they relate to different target hiring ranges for the duties in your proposed position.  The target hiring ranges for work-study positions are assigned by work-study administrators during the requisition review process, and require that job descriptions and qualifications be clearly represented on the job post.    

Once you have clarified these details with your HRC, you will create your work-study job requisition in Workday. You may choose to create your position to include both work-study and regular wage students if your budget can accommodate wage earners.  While not mandatory, it is best practice to have a back up plan for paying your work-study student employees should they exhaust their funding, or fall out of eligibility.  


What is the first/last day my student(s) can work for the semester?

We keep a toolbox of helpful resources available in the Employer Services​ section of this website. The Federal Work Study Calendar lists the first/last days students can work per semester.

How are students made aware of my job post, and how can I reach more students?

Students often find positions that might interest them using the keyword search function on the job board. The available positions offered by our community partners are highlighted on a separate page​ because this employer demographic does not have the option of posting physical fliers or promoting posit​ions in the classroom. We recommend reviewing Federal Work-Study Recruitment Tips​ for more ideas on how to reach work-study students. 

How will I be informed of important updates to the program that might be time sensitive?

We keep a listserv of individuals associated with the program and send communications out periodically. You do not need to be an official contact for your department in order to be on the listserv. Simply email sfa-jobs@osu.edu, include what role you play in working with FWS students or the program, and we will add you to the listserv. When turnover occurs in departments, we try to be proactive and update the listserv accordingly, however your help in that endeavor is appreciated.

How can I monitor the FWS balances of my students?

Please note, FWS balances and award amounts are FERPA protected data.  Only those with the Workday Manager, Manager Liaison (both initiator and approver), and Fiscal support security roles will have access to run the Federal Work Study Status Report.  

For Managers and Manager Liaisons the report will display results for the FWS student employees that you manage directly.  Results for Fiscal support staff will vary depending on unit need, which is evaluated when access is granted. 

Managers and Manager Liaisons have this access built into their security roles, however not all Fiscal support staff do.  These staff members may by submitting a Service Now form to the Access Management team. Please include the supervisory organization(s) you are required to monitor FWS balances for in your request. If you are not a Manager, Manager Liaison, or Fiscal staff member, you will need to obtain this data from those holding these roles within your unit.

The Federal Work Study Status Report in Workday will display amounts that are valid on the day the report was downloaded. For best results run this report the Monday prior to the check date for the pay period. Depending on when you are reviewing FWS remaining balances, that data may be one pay period or more behind. For this reason, it is wise to subtract an estimation of one additional paycheck from the balance in order to avoid running out of funds sooner than expected (aka cap test error).  

If the student has been submitting time daily, depending on your security role, you will be able to see an estimate of yet-to-be-processed pay by visiting the Pay section in the student’s profile.  This may be useful when determining an estimated amount.  This is the same information that alerts supervisors and students that the student is at or near their FWS offer cap prior to timesheet approval in the timekeeping system.


Why was my FWS student paid with departmental funds?

Using FWS balance information in Workday will allow fiscal staff to see when a student has exhausted their work-study funds, and cases where the overall FWS award amount was reduced/cancelled.  During the timesheet approval process, supervisors will also be able to see when all or a portion of the hours submitted were not FWS eligible due to being more than two pay periods behind, or exceeding the 20 hour per week limits. Other eligibility factors, such as under-enrollment, SAP suspension, or outstanding To Do List items will not be communicated in Workday. Per FERPA we are limited in terms of what we can share, but questions regarding eligibility can be directed to us at sfa-jobs@osu.edu.

How far back in time can a department request FWS funding for a student?

The payroll system will automatically use the FWS fund for eligible students one pay period back in time.  Anything more than this would require an exception request to our office.  Permitting the student to work prior to the completion of the hiring process, hiring the student as a wage earner in error, or submitting multiple timesheets all in one pay period are not considered exceptions.  

I just had a FWS job requisition approved, but I don't agree with the target hire range it was assigned. Why can't I change the target hire range on a FWS position?

Per regulations related to the work-study program, work-study program administrators are responsible for ensuring the target hiring ranges for work-study positions are consistent across the university, and are otherwise meeting criteria for the program. This is one of many reasons why only work-study administrators can assign target hiring ranges for work-study positions.  

To fulfill this task, the Compensation Grade Profile report in Workday is used to determine student target hiring ranges in relationship to the proposed job description and qualifications for the position.  Your Human Resources Consultant can go over these ranges with you and help you choose which Job Profile to use prior to submitting your job requisition for work-study consideration.  


Can I provide my work-study student with a merit increase?

From a work-study perspective, yes! Colleges and units may give a merit increase and/or title changes to students at the discretion of the college/unit. There is no need to alert the work-study office when providing merit increases, please work with your HR department to walk you through this process.  

I would like to give my work-study student a promotion.  What work-study related considerations do I need to take into account?

Students move to the next title level and salary range at the discretion of the college/unit when the requirements of the job have changed. Units are responsible for identifying the level of work and assigning the most appropriate title level and pay to each student. 

However, because work-study regulations state that a student should not be performing work outside of their job description, and we are tasked with assigning target hire ranges to work-study positions, cases where the requirements or duties of the job have changed may require that a new work-study position be created to accommodate this promotion.  

Start this process by discussing the proposed change with your HRC.  They will help you determine if a new position is truly required or not.  If questions still remain, you and your HRC may reach out to sfa-jobs@osu.edu for further input.


Is submitting the Job Referral Form mandatory for hiring a student?

FWS Job Referral Forms will no longer be necessary to use in Workday.


I'm an off-campus FWS employer. Why can't I approve a timesheet whenever I have the time to?

We understand that our off-campus employers tend to be understaffed and are balancing multiple duties. However, FWS is offered to students due to their documented financial need – it is unacceptable to not pay them on time. If you know you will not have time to support the payroll needs of your student, delegate that task to a fellow staff member or your designated back-up person provided they can confirm first-hand what hours the student has worked.

While we do not believe supervisors intend to place their students in a double bind, it is a form of timesheet falsification to submit approval for hours that will be worked in the future, or send written approval for a timesheet that has not actually been reviewed.

In order for students to be paid in a timely manner, the Ohio State Federal Work-Study staff MUST provide timesheet approval to our Payroll Office by the Tuesday following the end of each pay period.  This is why we require that supervisor approval from our external agencies be submitted each Monday by 10am. That way, if there are any mistakes on the timesheet, this gives the student and supervisor time to correct them.

Please note, it is by federal regulation that we need the approval of the student's direct supervisor in writing, verifying the hours worked are true and correct before we can submit that student's timesheet for payroll processing.  This is why it is so important for us to receive that approval the day prior to the final payroll deadline. 

Federal Work-Study usage in Summer

At Ohio State, FWS eligibility is tied to a student’s current enrollment for that term, and summer is the start of our academic year.  A student can use FWS during the summer term provided that they are offered FWS for the new academic year, and are fulfilling the same financial aid and enrollment eligibility criteria as they would during autumn or spring semesters.  Similarly, the maximum hours permitted is also still 20 hour per week.

Any combination of Summer Term, 8-Week, 6-Week, or 4-Week Sessions can be used to meet the 6 credit hour minimum enrollment requirement during summer.  A student can begin working in summer when all HR steps for hire/rehire have been completed (if required by your HR department).  Students that drop below half time at any point in a term immediately cease to be eligible to earn work-study funds. ​It's a good idea to discuss ahead of time with your student whether your department has the funding to support them if they find they cannot successfully carry a half time summer course load. 

Enrolling in summer classes can sometimes impact a student's overall financial aid package that leaves them short on funding in autumn and spring.  In cases when taking classes in summer is not a good option for your student from a financial aid standpoint, you may hire them on wages for summer, and transition them back into work-study in autumn.  You will need to ask your student for confirmation that they have a new, accepted work-study award and confirm their enrollment for the term.

Please also be aware, using FWS during the summer can result in a student exhausting their offer sooner than anticipated.  While we are always happy to review student accounts when they have reached a FWS balance of $500 or less, we cannot promise that we will be able to increase existing offers.  We also cannot consider increasing existing offers until financial aid packaging and appeals for students returning in autumn has been completed, which is usually mid-September.

To work in summer 2021, students must be:

• Packaged with financial aid for 2021-2022

• Have been offered with and accepted 2022 FWS

• Be enrolled any combo of sessions a total of 6 credit hours

• Be meeting all financial aid criteria

• No outstanding verification items on To Do List