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Wages & Hours


Federal Work-Study student employees must be paid according to local jurisdiction minimum wage laws.

Please refer to the Student Employment website for additional resources and policies on, 

  • Current Minimum Wage,
  • Wage Groups and Pay Raises,
  • Pay Increases, and
  • Timekeeping

Fringe Benefits

Federal regulations prohibit FWS wages to be used to pay fringe benefits. If a student will be sick, and they have accrued sick time, please see the information on the Timekeeping webpage on the Student Employment website. 

Pay Increases

Merit and longevity pay increases are at the supervisor’s discretion, however, we do suggest a $.05 hourly pay increase for each quarter of continuous service.

The pay increase added to the base salary should, ideally, not exceed the range of the wage group . We recommend that supervisors and students have a one-on-one performance review conversation at the end of the academic year with increases in effect for the following year. 

Pay Advances

Students must work in order to earn their FWS. Pay advances are not permitted. 

Hours and Schedule

Northwestern Human Resources prohibits temporary employees from working in excess of 1,000 hours in a rolling 12-month period due to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). To avoid hitting this threshold, students paid FWS wages may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year (fall, winter, and spring quarters) excluding academic breaks (winter recess and spring break) in which a student may work up to full time (37.5 hours). Most students work between 6-10 hours per week on average based on job requirements and students' academic responsibilities. 

Please review the Student Employment website to learn more about required Timekeeping policies. 

Preferred Hours Calculator

Once you have determined your employee's hourly wage, it is wise to use this calculator to determine the optimal schedule so they do not exceed their FWS wage limit. Supervisors and employers may request this information from the student, the student’s financial aid office, or the Federal Work-Study program. If a student has multiple jobs, it is their responsibility to tell their supervisor, which may impact the total hours they may work in your area.