Work-Study: Students

The Federal Work-Study program is designed to promote part-time employment for students who qualify for help in financing their education. The financial aid office determines eligibility for the program.

Students who have been approved for financial aid and would like to use their Federal Work-Study award should follow these steps to get started:

Steps for Using the Work-Study Award

  1. Review your financial aid award amount here. After logging in, select Financial Aid and then Federal Work-Study. 
  2. To search for a job, log in to the Work-Study system with your UNI and password.
  3. Once you find a position meeting your search criteria, follow instructions to apply online.
  4. After you have been offered a position, new students should complete required forms. No forms are required for continuing students once they have been hired. 
  5. You will receive notification from the Work-Study Office once your new job has been approved.
  6. Report to work.
Work-Study Guidelines
  • Both the student and the employer should monitor the student’s FWS award balance.
  • Students may not be paid from FWS funds beyond their FWS award. 
  • Students may not be paid from FWS funds beyond the employer’s allocation.
  • Students may not work during their own scheduled class hours.
  • Students may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year (including Spring Break), except as noted on the pay schedule, and 35 hours per week during the eligible winter and summer break.
  • Students may be paid a minimum of $9.00/hour and a maximum of $16.00/hour depending on the job title and job classification assigned by the employer. 
  • Students may not work more than 6 consecutive hours without taking an unpaid half-hour break. Should a timesheet be submitted for more than 6 consecutive hours of work, the break will be deducted from the total number of hours submitted for payment.
  • FWS pay periods are bi-weekly and timesheets should be submitted in agreement with that schedule. In accordance with federal regulations, students must be paid within four weeks of work performed.
  • Students can only submit late timesheets for the past four weeks, not including the current pay period.
  • Students who work off campus and do not have Direct Deposit can pick up their checks at the Work-Study Office located in 210 Kent Hall. 
  • FWS students are not eligible for fringe benefits such as paid breaks, paid sick days, paid vacation days, paid holidays, or unemployment benefits.
  • FWS earnings are fully taxable. The University issues a W-2 to the student at the end of the calendar year that reflects all University earnings for that year.
Timesheets and Getting Paid


In order to receive your paycheck, you must submit a timesheet for each period worked.  To do so, complete the following steps:

  1. Follow the listing of pay periods on the Work-Study pay schedule.
  2. Go to the My Timesheets section of the FWS system.
  3. Create an online timesheet for the corresponding period.
  4. Submit timesheet to supervisor/departmental administrator for approval by the due date on the FWS Pay Schedule.

A full guide to creating and submitting timesheets is available in the Online System Users Guide section.

Your paycheck may be delayed if an incomplete or incorrect timesheet is submitted.

Direct Deposit of Paychecks

Columbia University offers the convenience of having paychecks directly deposited into an employee's bank account.  You can sign up for direct deposit safely and securely through myColumbia.  For further instructions on how to set up your direct deposit, see Direct Deposit Online Instructions.

Monitoring Earnings

An earnings limit is established for each student by his or her financial aid office. Both students and their employers are responsible for monitoring a student’s earnings. Students may monitor earnings through Netpartner; select Financial Aid, then Work-Study. Students may also check their status through My Timesheets, which displays the remaining award balance.

Once the FWS award limit is reached, students will not be paid through FWS unless the award is increased by the financial aid office before the pay period due date.

Program Dates

Federal Work-Study Award Period

The Federal Work-Study program runs from July through May of the following academic year. Students may work and be paid through FWS only during the following dates:

Summer Employment# of Hours

July 1, 2015 - September 6, 2015

35 per week
Academic Year Employment# of Hours
 September 7, 2015 - December 20, 201520 per week
 December 21, 2015 - January 17, 201635 per week
 January 18, 2016 – May 15, 201620 per week

University Holidays

Students may work on University Holidays.


Making Changes

Change in Hourly Rate

If a change is made in the hourly salary rate, a memo must be sent to the FWS Office at least one week prior to the pay period due date. This memo should be on the department’s letterhead and should include the student’s name and the new rate. No retroactive rate changes are allowed.

Transferring from One Job to Another

Students may change from one job to another. In order to transfer to another job, the original employer must remove the student from the position. The new employer should then hire the student through the standard job application process online.

Changing Withholding 

Students can make changes to the W-4 form online through My Columbia. For all other forms, please visit the FWS Office for assistance.

Online System User Guide
Using the online Work-Study system, students can search and apply for jobs and submit timesheets. This guide provides basic instructions on how to use these functions.
Help on pages within the online system can be accessed by clicking the icons or emailing questions to

Getting Started

Now you can find a job, receive information about jobs and submit timesheets, all online in one place.

Main Student Page

Quick Links

  • Find a job - Browse available job listings and apply online.
  • JobMail - Sign up to receive email when new jobs are posted matching your criteria.

Posted Jobs

My Timesheets

  • My Timesheets – Once you’ve been hired and begin work, edit and submit timesheets online.

Find a Job

To search available positions, select Find a Job.

The Work-Study jobs included in the job listings are available for students awarded Federal Work-Study only and who are fulltime or halftime students who have not been selected for verification for the U.S. Department of Education. If you do not know your Federal Work-Study status, you may check it on SSOL. Before you view the details of a job listing, you need to agree to the disclaimer presented to you: You MUST have a Work-Study award and an unearned award balance to be eligible for a job.

Quick Search

Quick Search

Quick search is an easy way to browse available jobs, organized by basic categories like recent postings or hours required.

Data Bank

Data Bank

Total number of jobs available are displayed in the Data Bank at the bottom of the page, including number of jobs, openings and employers.

Advanced Search

Advanced search

To narrow your job search use the Advanced Search function. Advanced Search allows you to find jobs by selecting a combination of search criteria.

Apply for a Job

Apply online for a job directly from the job details page.

Apply for a job

Complete the application form and then submit the application when complete. Note: you will not have a chance to review the application once you submit it, so confirm that the information is correct. Also make sure to answer all required questions or the system will not accept your application.


Employers will receive notification of your application and will most likely contact you by email at the address designated on your application.

My Timesheets/Jobs

The opening page of My Timesheets will provide access to all your timesheets for a particular job, as well as the status of each. If you have multiple jobs, confirm the job listed is the position for which you want to manage timesheets.

Warnings will help remind you of Work-Study regulations as well as the status of current timesheets. Roll your mouse over the << ?>> icon if you need more information about a warning.

Job Time

Timesheets will be listed by pay periods. Select Go to timesheet to access a particular time sheet. If a timesheet is delinquent past a certain point, you may not be able to access it. There may also be other instances in which a time sheet is inaccessible. Contact your supervisor if you have questions.

Timesheets for job

Icons will display to the left of each time period to help identify the status of your timesheets. Roll over the icon for a description.

Details about a job displays general information about your position, like supervisor, wage and start date.

You can also check your remaining federal award balance.

Managing Timesheets

Status of timesheet will be displayed, along with information about the pay period and timesheet deadline, and pay date.

For each pay period, you must start a new timesheet once the pay period begins. Select Start New Timesheet. Even if you there is a pay period you will not work, you must start a timesheet and then dismiss it. Changes made to your timesheet will automatically be saved.

If you need to add a note to your timesheet such as sick days, do so by selecting Add a new note. Notes will be read by supervisors. Notes auto-generated by the timesheet system may also appear in this list.

Add Timesheet

  • To add a new entry to your timesheet, select Add New Entry.
  • After selecting Add New Entry, a new screen will open to enter time.
  • Select the day for which you want to enter time. You cannot enter time for days in the future, only for current or previous days.
  • Enter your time using the drop-down menus. Enter time for breaks in the appropriate column. You can also enter two different entries for the same day. When you have completed your entry for that day, select Add.
  • When complete, select Hand in Timesheet. The page will reload and ask you to review your submission.
  • Review and then select Submit Timesheet. Or to make changes, select Cancel and correct any entries. You will be prompted again to confirm your timesheet submission.
  • Once you submit your timesheet, you will no longer be able to make edits. If you made an error, contact your supervisor immediately. If a timesheet is returned to you, be sure to correct it immediately and resubmit.

Download Online System User Guide (PDF)

View and download a printer friendly version of the online system user guide.
Required Work-Study Forms for New Students

All required forms must be completed after the student has been hired into a position and must be submitted to the Work-Study office before a student may start working. These forms are required if the student has not been paid by Columbia University in the last 3 years, or if the student wishes to make any changes to previously-filed information.

Federal Forms

Employment Eligibility Verification form (I-9).
This form is required to establish both identity and employment eligibility. Original documents, along with a Social Security Number, are required for verification.

  • Complete section one of the I-9 form online here.
  • Once you complete section one, a list of acceptable documents to establish identity and work eligibility will be provided.  These documents must be presented to the FWS Office in order to complete the I-9 process.

Federal Withholding Certificate (W-4, external PDF)
Work-Study earnings are taxable income. This form authorizes the withholding of federal taxes.

New York State Forms

Please complete one (1) of the three (3) forms below. Explanations of who should fill out each form are available on the forms themselves.

Students might find it helpful to consult with their parents and/or a tax advisor before completing the Withholding forms.

All required forms must be submitted to the Federal Work-Study Office office after the student has been hired into a position and before a student may begin working..

Work-Study Wage Classification
Job ClassificationMinMax
Class I$9.00$11.00
Class II$11.25$12.50
Class III$12.75$14.50
Class IV$14.75$16.00
Class V$17.00$20.00 (subject to FWS approval)


For Questions Contact


Location: 210 Kent Hall
Phone: 212.854.2392
Fax: 212.854.4777

Mailing Address:
210 Kent Hall, MC 9207 1140 Amsterdam Ave.
New York, NY 10027

Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday