Federal Work-Study Employer FAQ

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?

A FWS Balance Report from eReports​ can be downloaded that displays the remaining balance of work-study funds for each student.  The report will display amounts that are valid on the day the report was downloaded, so for best results run this report after payroll processes​​ are complete.  This tends to be the Monday following a pay period deadline.   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 cap test errors.  

Access to download this report varies from department to department.  Before taking action, please check with the FWS Departmental Contact or HR Professional for your area to determine if this data is already being accessed and monitored.

Why was my FWS student paid with departmental funds?

After each payroll process period, an Error Report is generated and sent to the FWS Departmental Contact associated with each student that was paid with departmental funds instead of work-study. The report details the various reasons why a student may not have been eligible to receive FWS funds during that pay period. If you received an Error Report notification, but the results are unclear based on your research, contact 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.  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 work for Ohio State and want to be the main contact for my FWS positions. How do I do that?

Before you choose to take action, please review the Role of the FWS Contac​t manual so that you know what this responsibility entails.

To grant Job Board access to a new individual, we need permission from the current FWS Departmental Contact. If you know who that individual is, ask them to email us their request for transfer at sfa-jobs@osu.edu. If you don't know your contact, email us at sfa-jobs@osu.edu for assistance.

I'm the FWS contact for my department. Why can't I change the rate of pay for a position on the Job Board?

In an effort to standardize what students are being paid for their respective positions, juxtaposing this data against comparable regular-wage earners on campus, it is extremely important that the rates for the positions remain stable. This is one of many reasons why only FWS staff can adjust the Pay Range Rate field on a post. We publicly post the FWS Pay Ranges​ detailing why a position is assigned a specific pay range. If you have a question about why a position was assigned a particular Pay Range, contact us at sfa-jobs@osu.edu.

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

Yes! As long as the pay increase is within the pay rate range on the job referral form the student was rehired on, you may simply submit an HRA requesting the pay increase.  However, if the increase is greater than the assigned pay rate range, it's time to create a new position number and FWS job post to justify the pay rate range.  Please review the Pay Rate Range job aid first to ensure your merit increase request aligns with existing ranges. Once the new job post is approved by our office, best practice is to have the student download the new job referral form to submit along with your request in increase pay.  Because HR processes vary per department, discuss this process with your HRP.

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

For all employers, the presence of a Job Referral Form is the only way for sure you know your student was offered FWS.  Students are instructed by our office to download the referral form off of your job post, and to submit it to you for completion.

For our off-campus employers, it is mandatory, as it is the only record of the specific job number and rate of pay available prior to hiring the student in our HR system.

For on-campus employers, it is not mandatory but best practice. When asked why a student was not paid with FWS funds, we often find either the student never was offered FWS, or was offered with FWS but was hired into a regular wage position as opposed to a FWS position. Using the Job Referral Form will prevent those problems.  

It may also be useful to think of a completed and signed Job Referral Form as an employment contract or offer letter.  Should either party choose to challenge the hiring arrangement at a later date, the Job Referral Form is a signed document that clarifies what the expectations and rate of pay were at the time when the contract was entered into. 

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/40 hour per pay period.

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.  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 courseload. 

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, provided that you have a current job referral form for the year.

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 2020, students must be:
Packaged with financial aid for 2020-2021
Have been offered with and accepted 2021 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