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Supervisor Payroll Policies & Procedures

All hiring forms must be received and processed by the Federal Work-Study Office and Northwestern Human Resources, before the student can access the University Timekeeping System to record their hours and be paid!

Reporting & Approving Hours

On-Campus Employers:

Students are responsible for recording their hours in the timekeeping system. It is a federal regulation that federal work-study students' timecards must be approved by their supervisor or designated backup each pay period.

Supervisors should submit their approval by 5 p.m. on the Friday before the end of the pay period to avoid issues. However you have until Northwestern Payroll's 1 p.m. CST Monday deadline following the end of the pay period. Note, if submitting approval on Monday following the pay period, be sure to change the pay period on the timecard from "Current Pay Period" to "Previous Pay Period!

If you miss Payroll's Monday deadline, you are required to print and sign the student’s timecard showing the dates and hours worked during the previous pay period and provide the signed copy to the Work-Study Office and Northwestern Payroll Office by Friday of that week.

  • Instructions for approving bi-weekly time sheets in Workforce Software can be found here

On-campus supervisors may delegate a timecard approver. The delegate should be someone who working in your department. If you will be on a leave from the university, please make sure you designate a delegate in the timekeeping system prior to your leave.  

Off-Campus Employers:

Students are responsible for recording their hours in the University timekeeping system and submitting the Off-Campus Timecard Approval Form. Both hours entered into the University timekeeping system and the Off-CampusTimecard Approval Form must be completed and submitted by the student by 5 p.m. CST on the second Friday of each pay period (unless otherwise stated). 

It is a federal regulation that federal work-study students' timecards must be approved by their off-campus supervisor each pay period.

A copy of the Off-CampusTimecard Approval Form and student's timecard will be sent to the off-campus supervisor. The off-campus supervisor approval is due by 8 a.m. CST on the Monday following the end of the pay period. The Northwestern Federal Work-Study Liason will record the approval and enter it in the University timekeeping system so the student may be paid. 

If you miss the 8 a.m. CST Monday deadline, please contact the Federal Work-Study Liason as soon as possible. Failure to do so may prevent the student from being paid.

Over Earned FWS Allotment

The student's net pay which includes the 75% federal wage subsidy and on-campus or off-campus wage contribution encompass their work-study earnings. 

  • Our office will notify the student and their supervisor when they are within $700 of earning their total Federal Work-Study allotment limit. 
  • It is the student employee and supervisor's responsibility to calculate how many hours they may work until their allotment runs out. 
  • Once students earn their total allotment, they are not eligible to be paid federal work-study wages.

On-Campus Employers:

You may terminate the federal work-study employment record at any point prior to the student reaching their total allotment. You may re-hire the student as a Temporary Employee but will be responsible for 100% of the student's wages. 

If the student has earned their FWS allotment, the Work-Study Office will change the student’s employment status from Work-Study to "Temporary Employee" in myHR and you will be notified via email that the student can longer be paid through the Federal Work-Study Program. Any wages earned over the student's FWS allotment will be charged back to your department on the 60120 (Temporary Student Wages) account.  

Off-Campus Employers:

If the student has earned over their allotment you will be notified by our office that the student must stop working immediately. Over-earned wages may be charged back to your organization for 100% of the cost in a separate invoice.

Pay Advances

Northwestern University does not issue pay advances. No hours should be reported for a student before the work is performed.  

Sick-Time Policy

Work-study students may accrue paid sick leave hours once they have worked 80 hours in a 120 day period. Students will earn one hour of sick time for every 40 hours worked. Up to half of the unused hours may be carried over to  the following year if you will be employed in the same position. If you or your student have questions, please contact

Timesheet Falsification

Federal Work-Study is a Federal Student Aid program and therefore must follow strict rules. Students should only be paid for hours actually worked. Known timesheet falsification by student or supervisor is a serious offense and consequences will be implemented. 


Students are paid bi-weekly on the Friday after Workforce hours are due. Students are strongly encouraged to set up Direct Deposit. If there is a problem with a student's paycheck, on-campus employers should contact Payroll (847-491-7362) and off-campus employers should contact the Work-Study Office.


Work-Study earnings are taxable by both the state and federal governments however, social security and Medicare taxes (FICA) are exempt for students who are pursuing a course of study. 

Northwestern Payroll mails W-2 forms to students at the end of January. Students should contact the Payroll Office (847-491-7362) if no W-2 is received by February 15th.