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?

The FWS eReport is no longer a good resource for monitoring balances. Those with the Workday Fiscal security roles have access to run the Federal Work Study Status Report, which can be located in Workday by using the Search feature at the top of the page. Those who manage students directly can see some of this information during the timesheet approval process, and by looking up specific students using External Student.  

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 after 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 cap test errors.  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 that 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.  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 pay rate range it was assigned. Why can't I change the pay rate range on a FWS position?

Per regulations related to the work-study program, the administrators of the program are responsible for ensuring the pay rate 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 FWS staff can assign pay rate ranges for FWS positions, although we do work closely with Compensation to ensure these ranges are not too different than those of regular wage earners. If you have a question about why a position was assigned a particular Pay Range, start by discussing this with your Talent Acquisitions staff in your unit.  

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

From a work-study perspective, yes! As long as the pay increase is within the pay rate range the student was rehired on, you may simply submit a request in Workday for the pay increase.  However, if the increase is greater than the assigned pay rate range for that position, it's time to create a new position to justify the pay rate range.  Please work with your HR department to walk you through this process. 

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/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 course load. 

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 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