Information for Hiring Managers
Penn/Federal Work-Study is a federal government and Student Registration and Financial Services subsidized work program, which provides on-campus and off-campus employment to eligible undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. While the program offers a variety of job opportunities, students are encouraged to seek community service work and/or work related to the student's course of study. Students are paid for those hours actually worked.
The work-study award represents the maximum earnings potential while employed under the program. The award is not deducted from the student's University tuition bill. Once the student obtains a work-study job, the student is paid weekly by the employing department for those hours actually worked.
Work-study employment can benefit a student in several ways:
- Pay for personal expenses
- Improve time management skills
- Help build a student’s resume
- Serve as a reference for future employment
How to Create a Job
Work-Study jobs are created through Workday@Penn. Contact your department’s business administrator for further instructions.
Note: The use of work-study student labor on non-University or personal projects is considered a misuse of federal or University funds and is forbidden. Violators will be subject to University sanctions and penalties.
How many jobs may a student have?
While it is preferred that a student have one job, we recognize the need for a student to work an adequate number of hours per week (within established limits) in order to cover personal expenses. A student's number one priority is academic achievement.
Workday@Penn – Work Study Job Profiles
- SFS International Work Study
- Work Study Community Service
- Used for jobs designated community service. See definition for Federal Work-Study Community Service. The Office of Student Employment reviews and approves community service jobs.
- Work Study Community Service 2
- Used for special programs designated by the Office of Student Employment.
- Work Study Mathematics Tutor
- Work Study Reading Tutor
- Work Study Off Campus/Community Service 2
- Used by the Office of Student Employment ONLY.
- Work Study Off Campus 2
- Used by the Office of Student Employment ONLY
- Work Study On Campus
The hiring manager must request a copy of the student’s class schedule at the time of the interview in order to ensure there is no conflict between class times and the proposed work schedule.
New student employees are required to complete onboarding, which includes filling out federal forms, W-4 (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate), and online I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). The employing department's hiring manager will begin the onboarding process and instructions will be sent to the student employee via e-mail. After completing the online onboarding tasks in Workday@Penn. New student employees will complete in-person tasks at Onboard@Penn located on campus. Schedule an appointment and learn more by visiting Onboard@Penn.
International Students are limited to on-campus employment, which is defined as working for Penn, on Penn payroll, and on Penn premises.
New international student employees need a valid Social Security Number in order to work in the United States. The instructions and application for Social Security: On-Campus Work Authorization for F-1 and J-1 Students are available on the International Student and Scholar Services website.
Student Workers (Non-Work-Study)
The appointment of a non-work-study student is handled directly by the hiring manager. New student employees are required to complete onboarding, which includes filling out federal forms, W-4 (Employee's Withholding Allowance Certificate), and online I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). The employing department's hiring manager will begin the onboarding process and instructions will be sent to the student employee via e-mail. After completing the online onboarding tasks in Workday@Penn. New student employees will complete in-person tasks at Onboard@Penn located on campus. Schedule an appointment and learn more by visiting Onboard@Penn.
It is the supervisor's responsibility to familiarize the student employee with the departmental standards of behavior and to make sure the student receives proper training in order to accomplish the tasks assigned.
We recommend that the supervisor review the following topics with the student:
- Review the job responsibilities so there is a clear understanding of what is expected of the student
- Review issues of confidentiality and sensitive information
- Safety and health practices (if applicable)
- Use of personal electronic devices
- University Policy on Acceptable Use of Electronic Resources
- In the event of the hiring manager’s absence, to which other staff member can the student direct problems or questions
How many hours can a student work per week?
When classes are in session, students (full-time or part-time) can work a maximum of 20 hours per week.
When classes are officially not in session, U.S. students (full-time or part-time) can work a maximum of 40 hours per week. During school breaks (Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring), F-1 students may work full-time, up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.
A student is required to take an unpaid break or lunch of at least one-half hour after five consecutive hours of work.
How Are Student Employees Paid?
All student workers who receive their pay from Penn will enter their time on Workday@Penn.
A student cannot be paid for lunch, holidays, sick time, and other time off, or for receiving instruction in the classroom, laboratory, or other academic setting.
Work-Study wages are subject to the same federal, state, and local income taxes as any other earned income.
International students have the same taxes withheld that United States students do. Students that are from a country that has a tax treaty with the United States may be able to claim a refund of the taxes withheld when they file their yearly income tax returns. If you have any questions regarding taxation, please go to the Payroll Tax Office, Room 310 of the Franklin Building, 3451 Walnut Street. The service window hours are Monday through Friday, from 10:00am to 2:00pm.
A student and supervisor are encouraged to discuss any work-related problems. Experience has shown that most minor disagreements can be resolved by honest, non-confrontational discussion of the problem. An attempt should be made to informally resolve the disagreement between the student and the immediate supervisor. If the problem cannot be resolved within the department, the student should make an appointment with the Manager, Office of Student Employment, to discuss the problem. Depending on the problem, a student may be referred to another University office for advice and resolution.
Termination of Employment
If a student is unreliable or does not perform assigned duties responsibly, it may be necessary to terminate the student's employment. A student should be treated fairly and courteously, as would any full-time employee. In most cases, the following disciplinary guidelines are suggested in dealing with unsatisfactory performance. Keep in mind that learning also occurs outside the classroom.
- Verbal Warning - Speak with the student and give specific reasons for the dissatisfaction as well as suggested solutions for improving job performance. Give the student a time frame for improvement.
- Written Warning - If the poor performance continues past the time established in the verbal warning, repeat the verbal warning and follow it with a written statement documenting the situation and a new time frame for improvement. A Performance Review Form is available here.
- Termination - If the student's performance still does not improve within the specified time frame, the supervisor may terminate the student's employment. Notice of dismissal should be in writing, and a copy sent to the Manager of Student Employment. DO NOT terminate a student on Workday for cause. This is not the venue for dealing with student conduct in the workplace.
Auditing of Federal Work-Study
Federal Title IV regulations require an annual audit of the Federal Work-Study Program. One segment of this review is to ensure that students are correctly paid and that time reporting is properly monitored and certified by the appropriate supervisor.
Failure to comply with the above-mentioned policies and procedures will result in the department having to reimburse the Federal Work-Study account for all applicable student wages. If there is continued failure on the part of the department to comply, then the department will have its privilege of employing Federal Work-Study students suspended.
Verification of Employment
The Division of Human Resources/Information Management/Records maintains personnel records for all present and past employees, including student employees.
Verification requests received by mail and accompanied by written consent should be forwarded to Human Resources/Records, 600 Franklin Building, 3451 Walnut Street/6205, for inclusion in the student's employment files.
If a call is received by a department from an outside employer seeking employment verification, please instruct the employer to call The Work Number for Everyone at 1-800-996-7566, or go to the website at http://www.theworknumber.com.
Retention of Records
Regulations require that all records supporting federal programs, including the Federal Work-Study Program, must be retained for three years after the end of the award year (academic or summer) for which the aid was awarded and disbursed under the program. Therefore, it is necessary for each department to retain all supporting documents and records for that amount of time.