University of Vermont

Supervisor's Guide to the Federal Work-Study Program

UVM offers over 3,500 jobs to students who are eligible to receive over $2,000,000 of Federal Work-Study funds. Students who work are more likely to earn a degree, and part-time work during college is a significant factor in post-secondary career choice and success. Your role as a supervisor is critical to the management and development of one of our community's most important resources: our student work force. Let us help you!

What is the cost to your department/organization when hiring a work-study student? Federal Work-Study is a form of financial aid, funded by the federal government, which helps students meet educationally related expenses by paying hourly wages for part-time employment. At UVM these student wages are paid from a combination of federal and University funds. There is no charge to the participating departments/organizations.

What employment status do work-study students have? Federal Work-Study students are considered employees of the university. As such, they are afforded the same rights and privileges as all other temporary employees.

UVM listserv icon
Stay in touch with other work-study supervisors: Join our listserv!

How? Send an e-mail message to the listserv manager at: LISTSERV@LIST.UVM.EDU

In the body of the email (not the subject line), please write: subscribe WORKSTUDY your first name your last name (i.e. subscribe WORKSTUDY Jane Smith). You will receive a subscription confirmation e-mail that you may want to save in case you have a question about the operation of the listserv.

Explore these areas for more information:

Filling out formsNecessary forms and tips for getting started

Because this is a federal program, certain items are needed to make sure UVM is following guidelines:

On-campus requirements (from the list above)

*You will need a flash reader to view our videos and training. Download Adobe Flash here.

Off-campus requirements (from the list above)
*You will need a flash reader to view our videos and training. Download Adobe Flash here.

Recruiting and hiring Federal Work-Study funded employees

Student and employerThe majority of students who are eligible to receive Federal Work-Study pay look for jobs in the beginning of the fall semester. There are always students who are changing positions, looking for a second job, or waiting until the spring semester to work. All positions are posted in Catamount Job Link. Students are encouraged to look for positions in this online database, and then contact the supervisor for an interview.

Organizations frequently post flyers around campus as well. Eligible students, whether they view the positions on the Web, hear about it from friends, or see your posters around campus, will contact you directly to obtain information and/or to set up an interview with your organization.

How do I choose a student?

As a supervisor your goal should be to hire the best qualified applicants. We recommend that you manage the selection process as you would any other hire in your department/agency.

You may choose to use an application form to help with the process. You may conduct job interviews and base your selection on the qualifications presented. In addition to finding better candidates, expecting students to apply and compete for positions has the advantage of teaching students valuable job search skills.

Students should arrive at the job interview prepared to answer questions pertinent to the position and s/he should bring her/his schedule showing commitments and available work hours. At the interview, the employer should provide applicants with a job description and as much position information as possible.

You've found your person, how do you hire?

Step 1: Make sure the student is eligible by seeing their authorization form and their certificate of completion for the Federal Work-Study Student Orientation. If you hire a student without these form, you have NOT hired the student as a UVM Federal Work-Study employee. Therefore, your agency/department will be required to pay the student out of your own agency's/department's budgets.

Step 2: Student and supervisor must complete all areas on the authorization form and sign where required. Based on the wage range, the supervisor will assign an hourly rate when hiring a student using the wage guidelines and levels chart. The minimum wage is $8.06 per hour and the maximum is $13.00. To determine the number of available hours, divide the amount of the award by the hourly wage of the position. Most students choose to work between 5-8 hours per week.

Step 3: Make sure your new or reinstated work-study student has filled out their necessary forms.

Step 4: Career Center processes the information and forwards the appropriate information to UVM's Payroll Office. Note: Students are employees of the university and are therefore required to take the Online Preventing Sexual Harassment Tutorial. The student needs to submit the certificate (which states they have completed the training) to his/her supervisor. It is the supervisor's responsibility to make sure this certificiate is on file.

Payroll process

Pay Here sign
  • Supervisors are responsible for training students on the use of the electronic payroll process submission.
  • Supervisors are expected to approve student timesheet submissions prior to the 3:00 pm deadline every other Monday by logging onto Peoplesoft with their valid netid and password. Students have to submit hours by 12:00 pm and supervisors need to approve by 3:00 pm. Supervisors are expected to keep a written record documenting the hours worked for verification purposes.
  • Payroll automatically runs the bi-weekly process after 3:00 pm on the deadline date (see Bi-Weekly Payroll Schedule).
  • If submissions have not been completed by 12:00 pm or approved by 3:00 pm, students will not be paid until the subsequent payroll. Early submission deadlines may be announced for holidays.
  • Supervisors are to keep a log outside of PeopleSoft. Use this Tracking Sheet to help you stay organized.
  • UVM pays students by check or direct-deposit on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Payment is received on the Friday following the Monday deadline.
  • Business managers and off-campus supervisors have access to run a report in PeopleSoft that details the remaining amount of work-study dollars the individual student has in her account. See the forms section on this page for details on how to run the report.
  • Students working in off-campus organizations will receive their checks at their local mailing address. Students working on-campus will receive their checks at their work location.

How much are students paid? It is the responsibility of the student and the department/organization to monitor earnings and remaining Federal Work-Study funds. Departments/organizations must establish a system to monitor and verify the hours worked. To establish pay rate, see Step 2 above.

Can I give a pay raise? If, during the academic year, a supervisor believes that a student's hourly wage should be increased because of his/her skills, merit, motivation, and/or experience, the supervisor may request a change in the student's wages. The following information can be submited via E-mail to

  • Employee ID*(not 950#)
  • Employ Record number*
  • Current Payrate
  • New Payrate Requested
  • Effective Date
  • Reason for Payrate Increase

*If you do not know how to obtain this information please call UVM's Payroll Office at 802-656-3150 or E-mail


Group of studentsInstances involving sexual harassment, discrimination, criminal activity, fraud, or serious offenses that violate UVM policies must immediately be brought to the attention of the Federal Work-Study coordinator. These serious infractions may result in immediate termination and may jeopardize the student's award. Upon reviewing the complaint, a referral may be made by the coordinator to the appropriate university authorities (Office of Audit Services, Office of Affirmative Action, or Office of Judicial Affairs). However, progressive disciplinary procedures outlined below may proceed in the employment setting (if appropriate) after referral to another university office has been made.

Disciplinary guidelines

If student employees fail to meet reasonable standards of performance, supervisors are expected to take appropriate action in the manner outlined in this set of guidelines. The goal of these steps is to improve job performance, so that the student may continue as an effective member of the working environment.

Step 1: Verbal counseling

  • Schedule verbal counseling no later than one workday after the incident
  • Clearly specify the reason for the action
  • State that this is verbal counseling and failure to improve job performance may result in more progressive action
  • Keep a record of the time and date of the counseling, the reason for the counseling, and the date of the incident

Step 2: Written warning

  • List the job performance problems that have caused disciplinary action to be taken
  • Indicate the dates that specific instances occurred
  • Document previous verbal counseling including actions that were taken
  • Include desired changes in job performance
  • Keep a copy

Step 3: Suspension

  • The supervisor has the option of suspending the student from employment for a period of up to 10 working days (not to exceed)
  • Specify the job performance problems that have caused disciplinary action to be taken
  • Indicate the dates that specific instances occurred
  • Document previous oral and written counseling, including actions that were taken
  • Specify effective dates of the suspension period
  • Note the right of the student to appeal the suspension

Step 4: Termination

If, after returning to work following a period of suspension, a student's performance continues to be unsatisfactory, the supervisor may terminate the student from employment. Notification of the termination shall be made in person and in writing. The written notification of the termination must include the date on which the separation will become effective and a specific statement as to the cause of termination. A copy of a.) the termination notification, b.) the suspension notification, and c.) the written warning must be sent to the Federal Work-Study coordinator for inclusion in permanent files.

That's not all: The Federal Work-Study coordinator can provide you with more information about student grievance filing, policies and procedures. E-mail for more information.

Training student employees

Classroom trainingAs a supervisor of a student employee, you play a significant role in their development — both by assisting them in becoming responsible workers while acquiring the related skills, and in having an impact on their personal adjustment and growth. Supervising student workers can be a most rewarding experience. Orientation for your new employee might include:

  • Staff introductions
  • Tour of the office
  • Use of phone, fax machine, and photocopier
  • Computer usage policy, logging on and off
  • Office etiquette and dress
  • Procedures for recording and submitting hours worked
  • Payroll deadlines and paycheck distribution
  • Security and confidentiality policies (see FERPA under "forms" section)
  • Supervisory role: Who is the student's supervisor?
  • Provide a written job description and communicate job standards and expectations.
  • Take time to train your new employee in the particular skills necessary to perform the job. Training may include time management, phone skills, quality service practices, confidentiality issues, and handling difficult situations.
  • Give feedback early on
  • Federal Work-Study jobs are "real jobs" and should carry high standards. At the same time, it is important to understand that student employees are students first and employees second.
  • Provide a safe and comfortable workspace
  • Treat student employees in accord with their rights
Evaluating student employees and setting goals

Group working over projectLike all of us, student employees deserve and appreciate regular constructive feedback on their work performance. Effective feedback can be as informal as a "pat on the back" or a quick training moment. We recommend that students be formally evaluated at least once during the academic year (contact us for development planning worksheets/evaluation forms). We also suggest that both the supervisor and the student complete the evaluation form independently and meet to discuss performance and develop learning goals. Consider:

  • Provide a copy of the evaluation form to the student for their input on performance - prior to your conference
  • Complete the evaluation form independently of the student
  • Determine in advance what points you want to cover
  • Plan when and where you will conduct the interview (so as not to be interrupted)
  • Explain the purpose of the performance evaluation
  • Talk about the job and review how the student thinks it is going
  • Review performance, discuss areas for improvement, plan future goals, and provide challenges
  • Give equal time to praise and criticism
  • Be positive and direct, especially when providing constructive feedback
  • Be fair; evaluate each student employee as objectively as possible
  • Listen; find out what you can do to help the student achieve his/her goals
  • Set realistic goals and provide the necessary training
  • Re-evaluate and set new goals on a regular basis

Last modified June 20 2016 03:57 PM