Off-Campus Work-Study Policies and Procedures

To qualify for the Work-Study program, students must meet federal eligibility guidelines.

If a student’s eligibility changes at any time during the academic year or summer program, Boston University Financial Assistance may need to adjust or cancel his or her Work-Study award. Circumstances which may require this include, but are not limited to, withdrawal from the University, failure to maintain a satisfactory grade point average, or the addition of financial assistance from outside sources.

Please Note: If a student’s Work-Study award is canceled, the student is no longer eligible to work in the Work-Study program. Any hours the student works beyond the cancellation of the award must be paid in full by the employing agency. Students may not volunteer for the same position after working in that position under the Work-Study program.

In order to hire Boston University Work-Study students, an off-campus agency must meet both of the following criteria:

  • The agency must be a nonprofit, incorporated organization. Any organization that is classified as tax-exempt, by either the I.R.S. or the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, meets this requirement.
  • The work of the organization must be in the public interest. That is, the work performed must benefit the public at large, not just a specific group of people.
Please Note: BU Work-Study reserves the right to determine whether an agency’s request to hire a Work-Study student will be approved.

If You Have Previously Hired BU Work-Study Students

Supervisors who have hired Boston University Work-Study students within the past two years are sent an job posting request email prior to the publication of each job directory (spring, summer, and fall). To list a position in our job directory, simply reply to this email with your request and the job number(s) you wish to post.

If the job you wish to list is a new Work-Study job, submit a job description to BU Work-Study either by e-mail or by fax (617-353-9200). Include supervisor contact information, job location, and pay rate. If the job description meets University and Federal Work-Study guidelines, we will list your position in the current or upcoming Work-Study job directory.

If You Have Not Previously Hired BU Work-Study Students

Prospective supervisors should submit a job description to BU Work-Study either by e-mail or fax (617-353-9200). The job description should include the supervisor contact information, job location, and pay rate.

If the job description meets University and Federal Work-Study guidelines, we will store your job electronically and make it available to Work-Study students seeking specific types of off-campus Work-Study employment.

A Work Agreement Contract with a new agency will be established only when Work-Study receives an Off-Campus Authorization Request form that reflects a specific BU Work-Study student’s intent to work at that agency.

Students contact organizations and agencies directly to inquire about available jobs.

Upon finding a Boston University student you wish to hire, submit the Off-Campus Authorization Request Form, which students are instructed to bring to interviews. Submit this form only if you plan to hire a BU Work-Study student. This form should also be used to rehire Work-Study students at the beginning of each program (summer and academic year).

New agencies will be asked to sign and return the formal Work Agreement Contract, which is required of all off-campus agencies. Work Agreement Contracts must be updated every two years. We will notify you when the your contract must be updated.

New agencies may also be asked to submit additional information, such as the agency’s mission and funding source(s), as well as proof of nonprofit status.

Please Note: A student may not begin working until the employing agency has completed the Off-Campus Authorization Request form and has received written notification that the placement has been approved by Work-Study.


Placement approval usually takes between one and seven business days. Work-Study staff will notify the agency of placement approval by email.

Work-Study students and supervisors should complete the top portion of the Federal Work-Study Off-Campus Authorization Request together, including the date the form is issued to the student; the student’s name, Boston University ID number, and award amount (Maximum Earnings Level) or award balance; and the current program dates (academic year or summer). Contact Work-Study staff to obtain this information if there are any questions.

The form requests approval to work only during the program indicated. You must receive separate written authorization from BU Work-Study to hire (or rehire) a student for another program (e.g., to rehire a student from the academic year into the summer).

When completing the authorization request form, indicate the BU Work-Study job number. If you do not know the job number, or if the position is new, indicate the job title and give a detailed description of job responsibilities. We will then assign a job number to the position.

Students who work off campus must be paid on an hourly basis. The minimum pay rate for off-campus Work-Study jobs is $11.75 an hour. Supervisors should establish a rate based on the complexity and responsibility of the job. Students who return to a job, having worked during a prior program, may receive an increase to their pay at the discretion of the supervisor/agency.

Work-Study staff will determine the student’s start date based on the day the authorization request is approved.

Once a placement has been approved, you will be sent payroll procedures and timesheets.

The off-campus agency must provide 50% of the student’s earnings (with the exception of America Reads and America Counts tutoring programs, which are funded 100% by FWS funds).

A student’s earnings must not exceed his or her Maximum Earnings Level, which is established by Boston University Financial Assistance.

Students working off-campus are paid weekly by Boston University, based on submitted off-campus timesheets. Agencies never pay students directly.

Agencies will be billed either in advance or by monthly invoice. Payment is due within thirty days of each invoice.

Boston University Work-Study students may work a maximum of twenty hours a week when classes are in session during the academic year, and forty hours a week during break periods and the summer. However, a student’s work schedule will depend on his or her award amount and availability, as well as the employer’s needs.

Students are required to take a half-hour unpaid break if they work six or more consecutive hours.

Students employed under the Work-Study program have a Maximum Earnings Level, which is indicated on the Off-Campus Authorization Request form.

The supervisor and the student should establish a weekly work schedule that will enable the student to work throughout the academic year or summer program without exceeding his or her Maximum Earnings Level.

Work-Study staff notifies off-campus supervisors by mail when a Work-Study student is within three weeks of exhausting his or her Work-Study award. However, it is the responsibility of both the student and the supervisor to keep track of hours worked and the student’s award balance.

A student who has reached his or her Maximum Earnings Level is no longer eligible to work on the Work-Study program. Hours worked beyond the student’s Work-Study award must be paid in full by the agency. Students may not volunteer for the same position after working in that position on the Work-Study program.

Boston University pays Work-Study students in full for hours worked. Agencies should not pay Work-Study students directly. The University will bill agencies either in advance or on a monthly basis for their portion of student earnings.

Within one week of placement approval, Work-Study staff mails the following materials to the supervisor:

  • An authorized signature card
  • Timesheets for the current semester
  • A schedule of early payroll deadlines for the current semester
  • An explanation of payment procedures

Authorized Signature Card

Sign and return the authorized signature card for each student under your supervision by fax (617-353-9200) or email before submitting a timesheet. We use the authorized signature card to verify the supervisor’s signature when processing off-campus timesheets. No off-campus timesheet will be processed until a completed authorized signature card has been received.


Only the preprinted Boston University off-campus student timesheet will be accepted for payment for an off-campus position. Supervisors are responsible for completing the daily start/stop record, total hours to be paid, and supervisor signature sections on the timesheet. A timesheet must be submitted each week a student works.

In order for a student to be paid on Friday, the completed timesheet (for the previous week) must be submitted to Boston University Student Payroll by noon on Monday.

Holidays may necessitate early deadlines.

The timesheet may be emailed ( or faxed to 617-353-9200. It is the supervisor’s responsibility to ensure that a faxed timesheet is properly transmitted and received by BU Student Payroll. The original timesheets should be retained by the agency until requested from Work-Study at the end of each semester.


Federal Work-Study earnings are subject to federal and state taxes. Each January, the University issues the student a W-2, which reflects all earnings for the prior calendar year.

Student Paychecks

Students working off campus should sign up for Direct Deposit. Direct Deposit Authorizations can be found in the Work section on the Student Link.

Contact Work-Study staff if you have any questions regarding the payroll process.

We recommend that you set aside time to orient newly-hired students. Use this opportunity to reinforce relevant topics discussed at the interview as well as discussing:

  • Variations in work schedules for holidays, break periods, and examination periods.
  • Safety and health practices.
  • The student’s responsibility for agency facilities and equipment.
  • Performance standards.
  • Dress code and other relevant policies and procedures.
  • Confirmation of pay rate.
  • Supervisory personnel.

When discussing supervision, it is important to provide answers to the following questions:

  • Who is the student’s supervisor?
  • Who is the alternate supervisor?
  • To whom should the student direct problems or questions?
  • Whom should the student contact in case of absence or change in work schedule?

While each agency has its own standards for supervision of employees, supervisors of Boston University Work-Study students must also comply with those established by BU Work-Study.

When supervising Work-Study students, supervisors are expected to:

  • Explain to the student his or her role in the agency and/or department.
  • Explain the standards of behavior expected of employees.
  • Provide training in skills and procedures necessary to perform tasks.
  • Ensure adequate supervision of student work.
  • Keep lines of communication open, clear, and constructive.
  • Ensure that students are not scheduled to work during established class times.
  • Treat all students in accordance with their rights, which are the same as all employees’ rights as defined by applicable state, federal, and University regulations.
  • Monitor the student’s Work-Study award balance.
  • Ensure the accuracy of student timesheets.
  • Give students a half-hour (minimum) unpaid break if working six or more continuous hours.
  • Provide a work space that is free from hazards.
  • Report any student workplace accidents or injuries to the BU Work-Study Manager immediately.

Click here for more information on Student Employee Job Responsibilities.

Click here for more information on Student Employee of the Year program.

Off-Cycle Increases

If the student’s job duties do not change significantly, but you wish to give him or her a pay raise, send a brief memo to BU Work-Study giving the reason for the requested increase. Common reasons for pay raises include exceptional performance, increased responsibilities, or pay equity with other student employees and interns at the agency.



If the student’s job responsibilities increase substantially or a proposed pay raise exceeds the base pay rate of the next job grade, you should promote the student to a higher-grade position.

If your agency does not have a higher-grade position already established, contact Work-Study staff for assistance in creating one.

We encourage employers to give students ongoing feedback about their work. In addition, you must formally evaluate Work-Study students’ work performance at least once per program (academic year and/or summer).

Evaluation forms are emailed to supervisors in April for the academic year and in August for the summer program.

For each of your Work-Study students:

  • Complete the form.
  • Discuss the evaluation with the student.
  • Return the evaluation to BU Work-Study.

The evaluation will be reviewed and become part of the student’s employment record.

We also request that students complete a confidential evaluation of their work experience at your agency. These evaluations are available to students through the BU Student Link.

Supervisors may terminate a student for poor performance, gross misconduct, or lack of available work. Notify Work-Study staff whenever you terminate a student.

Poor Performance

If problems with a student arise, notify the Work-Study Manager. We recommend that you discuss specific areas of concern with the student, issue him or her a written warning, and allow an opportunity to improve within a specific time frame before deciding to terminate.

If satisfactory performance does not occur within the designated time frame, you may proceed with the termination. We recommend that supervisors give students two weeks notice of termination.

Gross Misconduct

Immediate termination is expected for gross misconduct, which includes, but is not limited to, actions threatening the safety of others, malicious use or theft of agency property, or falsification/forgery of timesheets or other documents. Report such cases immediately to the Work-Study Manager.

A student’s record of involuntary termination for gross misconduct may result in further disciplinary action by the University.

Lack of Available Work

If it becomes necessary to terminate a student mid-program due to lack of available work in the agency, we recommend that you give him or her two weeks notice.

Be sure to inform the student that the termination is not a reflection of work performance. You should also refer the student to BU Work-Study so that we may help him or her find another suitable position.