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California State University, Long Beach
CMS: Common Management System

Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) Supervisor Guide

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Table of Contents

Other Attachments:

  • Position Announcement Form #1
  • Salary Schedule #2
  • Referral Form #3
  • Student Employment Payroll Transaction Form #4
  • Award Conversion Chart #5


Thank you for your participation in the Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).  As a FWS supervisor, you are an integral part of the FWS Program.  In many instances you will serve as a student's first contact with the working world.  You can help the student gain valuable skills, which will be useful in their future employment.  You are also helping them earn needed funds for their college expenses.

This Guide is designed to make you aware of the policies and procedures of the FWS Program as well as the benefits to you, your department and students you employ.  Additionally, since both Federal regulations and University policy govern the FWS Program, you are encouraged to familiarize yourself with the information in this Supervisor's Guide.  Lastly, in order to remain informed of any recent changes/ updates regarding the FWS program in general; make sure that you keep in contact with the FWS coordinator throughout the year.  All of us at the Office of Financial Aid at CSULB look forward to your commitment to the FWS program.  We will do our best to ensure that the program remains mutually beneficial to you and to the student(s) you employ.

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What is Federal Work Study?

Federal Work-Study, also referred to as FWS, is one of six major federal student financial aid programs authorized under Title IV of the Higher Education Act.  It is designed to provide part-time employment to undergraduate, graduate or professional students who have established significant financial need according to federal guidelines.  The federal government pays a percentage of the student's salary; the University or off-campus employer pays the remainder.  The primary goal of the Federal Work-Study Program is to provide students with the opportunity to gain work experience and offset some of their educational costs.

The work a student performs must be in the public interest either on-campus or off-campus with non-profit organizations.  Job responsibilities must not promote religious doctrine or involve political lobbying, and the student may not replace or fill a permanent staff position.  FWS jobs range from basic services to highly technical lab or computer positions. Many students seek a position related to their career objective.  Others seek positions that offer skill development.  In either case, the FWS Program is intended to provide a balance between the interests of the student and the needs of the department or agency.

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Who is eligible for Work-Study?

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is awarded according to the standard financial aid application and statutory need analysis procedure.  In order to be eligible for a FWS award/ funds, a student must:

  • Be determined eligible and be awarded FWS allocation by the Office of Financial Aid.  Students must complete the application process by filing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and meet the March 2nd priority filing deadline.  Recipients must reapply for the FAFSA each year.

  • Be regularly admitted to CSULB.

  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. National or Permanent U.S. Resident.

  • Be enrolled in at least 6 units for each semester he/she is employed.

  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) as determined by the number of units attempted and completed at the end of each academic year (undergraduate students).  Graduate students' SAP statuses are monitored at the end of each semester.  Please contact the Office of Financial Aid if you need more detailed information about our SAP policy.

  • Not owe a repayment to any Title IV grant program nor be in default on any Title IV loans received at any school.

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Steps to hire FWS students

  1. Submit a Position Announcement form to the Office of Financial Aid.

    • One Position Announcement form should be submitted for each different type of position within your department.  If you are hiring more than one student for the same position, only one form is necessary.  (See attachment #1)

    • The duties listed on the form should describe the position, not the individual to be employed.

    • The Classification Level/Pay Rate must be commensurate with the job duties according to the enclosed Student Assistant/Work-Study Salary Schedule.  (See Attachment #2)

    • The Office of Financial Aid will review the position description, classification level, and pay rate and will assign a job number.  A copy of the reviewed form will be returned to the employing department.

  2. Interview and select prospective FWS employees.

    Annual Job Fair - The Office of Financial Aid hosts an annual FWS Job Fair.  The Fair provides an excellent opportunity for you to promote your department or agency.  It also provides an opportunity for you to talk with many students, all eager to begin working.

    • Job Listings- Position announcements will be available to students in the lobby of the Enrollment Services Office, Brotman Hall 123.  Students may select a position at a particular department.  The student will then be referred by the Office of Financial Aid to make arrangements for an interview.

    • Interview- At the time of the interview, students must present to the interviewer a FWS Referral/Placement form, with Section A completed by the Office of Financial Aid.  Section A certifies the student's maximum allowable earnings for the academic year and indicates the department, job number, classification, and pay levels for the position for which they are being interviewed.

    • Selection Process- Establish a standardized selection process to ensure consistency in the interviewing process.  Be sure the applicant understands the required skills, job duties and required days and hours to be worked. 

  3. Complete Section B of the Work-Study Referral form and the Student Employment Payroll Transaction form.  (See attachments #3 and #4)

    • Both forms must be completed and submitted to Office of Payroll and Benefits BEFORE the student can begin working.

    • Student must bring both forms along with their Social Security Card and another form of picture ID such as a driver's license or green card.

    • Students whose Referral/Placement form and Student Employment Payroll Transaction form have been processed by the Office of Payroll and Benefits may begin work.  Vouchers submitted before the payroll process is complete may be charged as student assistant expenditures against the employing department.

    • Students can not earn in excess of their most recent FWS award.  Any wages earned beyond that amount will result in reduction of the student's other financial aid, a billing to the student for aid received, and/or a charge to the employing department for over earnings.

  4. 4.  Introduce the student to the workplace.

    Your FWS student may arrive in your office with little or no work experience.  It will benefit both you and the student to take the time to introduce the student to the workplace.

    • Describe the goals and activities of your department.

    • Discuss the student's duties and responsibilities and how he or she is expected to interact with other members of the department.

    • Outline your expectations of the student's work.  Agree on a specific work schedule and on procedures for reporting absences or delays.

    • Assign a work station and show the student where to find work materials and where to secure personal belongings.

    The Office of Financial Aid does not place students in Federal Work-Study positions.  We refer students by job number to prospective employers who have listed positions with our office.  We are also here to answer policy and procedure questions.  Please feel free to contact our office with any questions you might have throughout the year.

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Payroll Process


The hiring process is complete when the student presents the following to the Office of Payroll Services, Brotman Hall 353:

  • FWS Referral/Placement form with sections A and B completed.

  • Student Employment Payroll Transaction Form with the pay rate and classification reviewed by the Office of Financial Aid.

  • Social Security Card.

  • A second picture ID such as a driver's license, a state ID card, or a green card.

Pay Periods and Pay Days

The FWS pay period runs from the 24th of one month through the 23rd of the following month. Students are paid by check from the Cashiers windows on the 15th of every month.  If the 15th falls on a Saturday, students are paid on Friday.  Likewise, if the 15th falls on a Sunday, the students are paid on the following Monday.

Payroll Vouchers

One of the major responsibilities of the student's supervisor is to ensure that payroll information is accurate, complete.  Vouchers must also be submitted to the Office of Payroll and Benefits in a timely manner.  It is important for departments or school fiscal officers to coordinate and inform all FWS supervisors within their areas regarding payroll dates and procedures.  It is also important to let the Office of Financial Aid know who, in addition to the student's supervisor, should be notified of changes in the student's award.

The student should submit a signed payroll voucher no later than the last day of the payroll period - the 23rd of the month - to his/her FWS supervisor.  The payroll voucher should indicate the actual dates, days, and time worked.  The FWS supervisor must verify all information on the payroll voucher before signing the voucher.  According to federal regulations, FWS students must receive payment for all hours worked.

For the first payroll voucher, the employing department must fill in Section A (including position number and rate of pay) as well as Section B (hours worked).  For all subsequent pay periods, the department will receive the student voucher from Payroll Services with Section A already printed. 

Completed vouchers must be signed by a department representative authorized by Payroll Services and must be submitted by the 24th of the month to assure payment on the 15th of the next month.

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Monitoring Students' Earnings

Exceeding Award amounts

CSULB's Federal Work-Study policies include a provision that student workers cannot earn in excess of their academic year award.

It is both the student and employer's responsibility to maintain a cumulative record of the student's gross earnings.  FWS students must stop working once they have earned their full allotment. Any earnings above the student's FWS allocation will result in a reduction of the student's remaining financial aid, a billing to the student for aid received, and/or a charge to the employing department for the earnings beyond the student's FWS award.


The Office of Financial Aid will send a "warning" notice to the student's supervisor when his/her earnings reach a certain threshold (40% for Fall and 80% for Spring).  The student and supervisor should carefully review how many hours the student has left to earn and plan accordingly.

The student's FWS award should be earned over the entire academic year, 50% of the FWS award within each semester.  Students may not earn their full award during July and August or during only one semester.  If a student does not earn the full 50% of his/her award during the Fall semester, the remaining FWS funds may be earned during the following Spring semester.

Financial Aid Award/ FWS Revisions

A student's FWS award may be revised at any time during the academic year to compensate for other types of aid such as Pell Grant, Cal Grants, or outside scholarships or fellowships.  The Office of Financial Aid will issue a revised award letter to the student and send a notice to his/her supervisor regarding the change.  If the FWS award is revised, both the maximum earnings and number of hours worked per week will be affected.  Therefore, the student's ability to work and/or remaining hours must be re-evaluated.

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Merit Salary Increases/ Reclassification

Salary/ hourly rate

FWS students are initially attracted to a position by its complexity, level of responsibility, and skills a position can offer.   Also, the salary or hourly rate can attract the most qualified student to your position.  In order to match the appropriate hourly rate to your position, please review the Salary Schedule enclosed in this guide.  The different levels of the hourly rate, also know as Classification Levels I to IV, describes the level of skill, experience, and categories your position may entail.  Since students are attracted to the position that best meets their needs and interests, it would be to your department's advantage to advertise the most appropriate Classification Level to your FWS position.  (See attachment #2)


Work-Study students may be considered for a merit salary increase only after they have worked at least 280 hours.  The employing department must complete a Student Performance Report, available from the Office of Staff Personnel, and submit it to the Office of Financial Aid for review. 


FWS positions may be reclassified only if the student's level of responsibility and/or complexity of duties have changed. 

To request a reclassification of your department's position, the department should submit a revised FWS Position Announcement to the Office of Financial Aid, along with the Student Performance Report, describing the new duties and required qualifications.  If approved, the Office of Financial Aid will forward all documents to the Office of Payroll and Benefits.

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A student's employment may be terminated for several reasons.  A student:

  • Must be terminated when the full FWS award allocation is earned;

  • May be terminated at the student's request;

  • May be terminated when the student's performance is unacceptable based on an objective assessment.

  • If the FWS student was terminated for unsatisfactory performance, the student should confer with the Federal Work-Study Coordinator.  The student may be provided a referral to another position at the discretion of the Office of Financial Aid.

  • FWS students may be employed in one position at any given time. Students may choose to change positions.  However, in general, they are discouraged from making more than one position change during the academic year.  The Office of Financial Aid may limit the number of referrals a student is provided.

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Corrective/ Disciplinary Problems

A student may be disciplined for various reasons. 

If there is a disciplinary problem with a student employee, the discipline can range from an oral admonition, written warning (with terms and conditions of continued employment), to termination.  If the student is not satisfied with the resolution, if any, reached with their immediate supervisor, the student may appeal to the department head.  If a resolution is not obtained with the department head, the student may appeal the department head's supervisor.  This process should be completed as expeditiously as possible, normally not to exceed 30 days.

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Employment Policies

Working Hours

A student may work up to 20 hours per week each semester and up to 40 hours per week during winter break, spring break, and summer. He or she may earn 50% of the FWS award during the Fall semester and 50% during the Spring semester.  In order to spread the earnings out throughout the year, you and your student employee should consider the amount of his or her FWS award and rate of pay when determining the number of hours to work each week.  

For example, Marie is working at a pay rate of $6.75 per hour and her FWS award is $2500 for the year ($1250 each semester).  Her employer would like her to work the same number of hours each week throughout the semester.  Therefore, if she works 9 hours every week, she will earn approximately $1250 each semester.

$6.75/hour  x  11.5 hours/week  x 16 weeks/semester  =  $1,242.00

We have included a chart in this packet that will help you decide the number of hours your student employee should work each semester.  However, you are free to set any schedule that meets the guidelines above and does not result in the student earning more than 50% each semester.  (See attachment #5)

If the student does not earn the full 50% of his/her FWS award during the Fall semester, the remaining funds may be earned during the Spring semester.


A student employee must notify the supervisor no later than the beginning of the scheduled work period when unable to work.  In the case of an extended absence, the anticipated duration should be reported to the supervisor as soon as possible.  The supervisor is responsible for authorizing all absences; however, FWS supervisors are urged to consider that the academic demands of the student should take priority.


On-campus:  If a student employee is injured while on the job, the student is covered by the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF).  The student should then report to the Health Center.  Off-campus: FWS students are covered by the employing agency's insurance fund.  All injuries, no matter how trivial, should be reported to the supervisor immediately.


A student working a consecutive four-hour period is entitled to a 15-minute break with pay.  A student working a six to eight-hour period is entitled to two 15-minute breaks with pay and no less than a 30-minute lunch break without pay.  Paid breaks may not be taken at the beginning or end of the work period and are not cumulative.  The breaks should be taken when they will not place an undue burden on the department/agency.

Employment Benefits

Every student employee is covered during working hours by Worker's Compensation for work-related injury/illness.  It is imperative that the employee immediately report any job-related accident or illness to his/her supervisor and to the Student Health Center.  Additional information regarding Worker's Compensation is available from the Office of Payroll and Benefits.

Students employed in off-campus agencies must be covered by the employing agency's insurance fund.  The Student Health Center should not treat students employed by off-campus agencies for a work-related injury or illness.

Student employees are not eligible to receive other employment benefits such as overtime pay, shift differential, paid holidays, vacation, or sick leave, retirement benefits, unemployment insurance, or permanent status.

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FWS Monitoring

Business Process Guide (BPG)

This Supervisor's Guide contains a FWS Business Process Guide (BPG).  The BPG provides steps which will help you obtain information about your student(s)' FWS earnings recorded on the CSU Work-Study Monitoring View web page in PeopleSoft®.  The information within the following pages will show you how to access the CSU Work-Study Monitoring web page and other web pages.  Among other types of information, these web pages will provide you with important data regarding your FWS student(s)' award amount, most recent earnings, and remaining FWS award for the year.

As of the printing of this Supervisor's Guide, the Office of Financial Aid is developing the most efficient approach to provide both FWS employers and students the most accurate and reliable information regarding FWS.  In the near future, there may be some additional enhancements as we acquire more knowledge of CMS in general and PeopleSoft® in particular.  We are committed to sharing this information with you.  As we learn more areas of CMS, we will communicate any updates or changes in this process.

1.0 CSU Work Study Monitoring View

Use the CSU Work Study Monitoring View page to view information on a FWS student. 

Navigation: Home > CSU Baseline > CSU Financial Aid > Use > CSU Work Study Monitoring View

screenshot of navigation menu

Steps to Complete

Step 1 Navigate to the CSU Work Study Monitoring View page by clicking on the hyperlink, as shown above. This will display the CSU Work Study Monitoring View search page as shown on the next page.

1.1 CSU Work Study Monitoring View search page

Use the search page to find a FWS student.

Navigation: Home > CSU Baseline > CSU Financial Aid > Use > CSU Work Study Monitoring View

screenshot of lookup page

Steps to Complete

Step 1 Enter any search criteria in order to find the correct student. The Academic Institution (LBCMP) and Aid Year fields are required.

When entering an Aid Year as search criteria use the following methodology:

Academic Year 2003 - 2004   =   Aid Year 2004

Academic Year 2004 - 2005   =   Aid Year 2005

Step 2 Click the Search button.

NOTE: You can only navigate to this page for a student once he/she has accepted their work study award and HR has processed the student by placing them with a job code.

If your search returns multiple results, the search results will be displayed on the search page. Find the correct student from the list and click on the student's information. The CSU Work Study Monitoring View page will be displayed for the student selected, as shown on the next page.

If your search only finds one match, the CSU Work Study Monitoring View page will be displayed automatically, as shown on the next page.

1.2    Work Study Monitoring View

Use the CSU Work Study Monitoring View page to view information on a FWS student.

Navigation: Home > CSU Baseline > CSU Financial Aid > Use > CSU Work Study Monitoring View

screenshot of Work Study Monitoring View

Field Definitions

Estimated Balance
This field displays the balance (of the FWS Accepted Award amount minus the Estimated Disbursement) amount.
Estimated Disbursement
Displays the amount the student has earned year to date.
Earnings Detail
Displays the student's earnings history by pay period.
Paid-  The amount the student received on his/ her paycheck.
Transmitted-  The amount of FWS funds earned in pending status.
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Summary of Responsibilities

Office of Financial Aid

  • Provide an up-to-date listing of FWS positions.

  • Provide job referrals to eligible Federal Work-Study students.

  • Notify students and employers when their students' Federal Work-Study awards are revised.

  • Notify employers of any FWS program, policy, or procedure change.

  • Serve as the university contact for program audits.


  • Complete the FWS Position Announcement form.

  • Interview and hire Work-Study students after providing equal employment opportunity.

  • Provide appropriate direction and training to each FWS employee.

  • Notify the Office of Financial Aid when positions have been closed, re-opened, or duties change.

  • Follow the hiring process by completing the Referral/ Placement and Student Employment Payroll Transaction forms.

  • Notify the Office of Financial Aid if there is an apparent problem with the student which cannot be resolved within the department/agency.

  • Notify the Office of Financial Aid when a student's employment is terminated.

  • Report payroll information accurately and timely.  Be certain time sheets and student vouchers are completed and signed by authorized individuals.

  • Monitor the student's earnings monthly and be aware that the amount of the student's FWS award may change.

Student Employee

  • Complete the hiring process by taking the completed and signed Referral/Placement form and the Student Payroll Transaction form to the Office of Payroll along with the appropriate identification documents.

  • Notify the supervisor of any changes in his/her FWS award.

  • Keep accurate records of hours worked so as not to exceed the FWS allocation.

  • Complete and submit time sheets to the appropriate supervisor no later than the 23rd of each month.

  • Maintain enrollment of at least 6 units per semester.

  • Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress according to the policies and procedures of the Office of Financial Aid.

  • Addendum for Off-Campus Employers


Off-campus FWS employers must contract with CSULB Financial Aid Office in order to employ Federal Work-Study students.  Contracts must be renewed annually.


Students must be paid at least once a month but may be paid more often in accordance with your organization's payroll policies.

Pay rates should be consistent with the classification of the position.  See the chart enclosed for details of pay rates and classifications.

Contractor must comply with all laws regarding its employees, including the payment of F.I.C.A. taxes.

Each month the Contractor must submit a copy of each student's signed time sheet and payroll voucher, accompanied by documentary evidence that the student received payment for the work.  This is required for the Contractor to be reimbursed for the federal share of the student's earnings.

Matching Costs

All non-profit, auxiliary, and off-campus employers are responsible for 25% of a student's gross earnings; the federal government is responsible for 75% of the student's gross earnings.

Off-campus employers must pay the student in full.  An invoice must be sent to CSULB Student Financial Services for any reimbursement.  The address is as follows:

Student Financial Services
1250 Bellflower Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90840

In general, the FWS program may reimburse Off-Campus employers up to 75% of the students' earnings.  Contact Student Financial Services, (562) 985-4167, for invoice information.