Hire a Student

Per federal regulation, all work-study students must be supervised by a permanent staff member, not another student of the department or organization. This supervisor must sign all forms and approve timecards. The supervisor must also be present on a regular basis to review the performance of the students. 

We maintain a list of employers whose names appear as supervisors on the Work-Study Authorization Form. All correspondence is sent to this person. The contact person is then responsible for passing information along to the appropriate supervisors. Employers should notify us immediately if the contact person changes.

Review the steps below outlining the hiring process. 

Set Up an Account

Before hiring a work-study student, an employer must first establish a University chartstring from which the employer's share of the student's wage is drawn.

On-campus employers should contact the Budget Office to open account codes 60122 (Federal Work-Study) and 60120 (Temporary Student Wages) on their chartstring. This account must be replenished every year.

Off-campus employers are billed on a quarterly basis. When they pay their agency match, we will deposit the check into a University chartstring. Each organization will have its own chartstring number with the University. To ensure credit to the proper account, all checks should clearly state the organization's name and chartstring number.

Conduct Interviews

Individual employers determine the manner in which they make their employment decisions; most employers conduct several interviews and select from a pool of applicants. Students should bring a Work-Study Authorization Form with them to the interview.

Submit Required Hiring Forms

The Authorization Form must be completed whenever a student begins a new job or returns to a job from one year to the next. Since financial aid packages are revised annually, employers should remember that a student may not have the same award from year to year. Also, some students may be confused regarding work-study and may claim to be eligible when, in fact, they are not. Please contact us if you have questions about a student's eligibility.

When a student is hired, the Authorization Form must be completed by the student and their supervisor. Completed Forms can be dropped off at our office or submitted via email, fax, or intercampus mail.

In addition, first-time hires (students who have never been paid through the NU Payroll system) are required to fill out a Personal Data Form, Federal W-4 Form, Illinois State W-4 Form, Direct Deposit Form, and I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification). These forms can be downloaded from our website on the Forms page under Payroll Forms.

Establish a Schedule

Once a student is hired, the employer and employee should determine a mutually convenient work schedule. See Set Wages and Hours for more information on this process. Work-Study students may generally work from the Monday of the first week of classes through the last day of final examinations in June, including breaks.

The maximum amount of hours that a student can work is 15 hours per week. Students scheduled during winter and spring break may work full-time; however, pay for overtime hours (any time over forty hours per week) is not permitted on work-study funds. Employers must pay these hours from their own account. The Federal Work-Study Program cannot pay for any work in excess of 15 hours a week. Please remember that money earned during vacation periods counts towards a student's earnings limit. The Federal Work-Study Program is intended to help students offset the cost of their educational program, not to replace employees in the work place.

Tax Form W-2

Student employees will receive a W-2 from the University at the end of January. Students should contact the Payroll Office at 847-491-7362 or payroll@northwestern.edu if no W-2 is received by February 15th. For all other questions about Payroll Forms please contact the Payroll Office.