Becoming a Work-Study Employer

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On-Campus Employers  |  Off-Campus Employers

On-Campus Employers

Departments within Columbia University may qualify as FWS employers if they have been given a FWS allocation. This allocation represents the 100% dollar amount given to your department and the total amount students working in your department may earn. A FWS account will be charged the 60% share of students’ wages. The employer’s departmental account will be charged the employer’s 40% share of students’ wages.


Creating and Posting Job Positions

Departments that have received a budget allocation from the Federal Work Study Office may create and post job listings in the Federal Work-Study online system.  To begin, request permission to log in as an employer.


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Off-Campus Employers

Off-campus agencies may qualify as FWS employers if they are federal, state, municipal, or private not-for profit organizations, they are willing to contribute 25% of the student’s salary, and the employment opportunity they offer meets the requisites listed below. Private not-for-profit organizations must submit a copy of the 501C-3 Letter from the IRS (Tax Exemption Letter). The work to be performed by the student under the Off-Campus Federal Work-Study Program must be work in the public interest, which:

  • will not result in the displacement of employed workers or impair existing contracts for services

  • will be governed by such condition of employment, including compensation, as will be appropriate and reasonable in light of such factors as type of work performed, geographical region, and proficiency of the employee

  • does not involve the construction, operation or maintenance of any part of a facility that is used, or will be used for sectarian instruction or as a place for religious worship

  • does not involve any partisan or nonpartisan political activity associated with a candidate, or contending faction or group, in an election for public or party office


Work in the Public Interest

Work in the public interest is considered work that benefits the community or the public in general. Work that benefits an individual or a particular interest group is not permitted. Work will not be considered to be in the public interest if:

  • it is work for which the political support, affiliation, or affinity of the student is a pre-requisite or consideration for employment

  • it is work to be performed for an elected official other than as part of the regular administration of federal, state, or local government

  • it is work for a membership agency (such as a credit union, a fraternal order, or a cooperative) which is primarily for the benefit of the members of such organizations rather than the public


Furthermore, off-campus employment may not involve lobbying on the federal level, or work for the U.S. Department of Education.

Off-campus organizations may participate as FWS employers if they are given a FWS allocation during the University budget process. This allocation represents the 100% dollar amount assigned to the agency and the total amount students working in the agency may earn.

A FWS university account will be charged the 100% share of students’ wages. Columbia University’s Office of the Controller will then bill the agency for the employer’s share of students’ wages. For further information regarding the budget process, please contact the Federal Work-Study Office.


Required Forms for Off-Campus Employers

Once the off-campus employer has been given a Federal Work Study allocation, the Federal Work-Study Office will provide the agency with the following forms:

  • The Federal Work-Study Agreement outlines the requirements of the Federal Work-Study program

  • The Organization Description requests general information and functions of the agency

All forms should be completed, signed and returned to the Federal Work-Study Office.

Once complete, the Federal Work-Study Office will create an account in the online system for the new employer.  The employer will be required to complete an online job listing which outlines information about the position, including a job description for the student.


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