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Supervisor Payroll Policies & Procedures

All hiring forms must be received and processed by 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 Workforce, the University's official timekeeping system. It is a federal regulation that federal work-study students' timecards must be approved by their supervisor or designated timecard delegate, or department power user each pay period (34 CFR 675.19 (b)(2)(i)).

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 in their absence. The delegate should be someone who is working in your department. If you will be on leave from the university, please make sure you designate a delegate in the timekeeping system prior to your leave.  

If a student forgets to enter their hours worked in the timekeeping system, the supervisor should enter a timecard amendment in Workforce as soon as possible to record the student's hours worked so they may be paid on the next bi-weekly or adjustment pay date.

Off-Campus Community FWS 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-Campus Timecard 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-Campus Timecard Approval Form and the 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.

Timesheet Falsification

Federal Work-Study student employees should only be paid for hours worked. Known timesheet falsification by a student or supervisor is a serious offense and consequences will be implemented. 

Warning Notices Over-Earned FWS Limits

The student's net pay includes the 75% federal wage subsidy and employer wage match (25%).

Alerts are sent to student employees and timekeeping approvers when they are within $700 of reaching their FWS earnings limit.

Under specific circumstances, some students may be considered for additional FWS funding. Efforts to increase a student’s FWS earnings limit by adjusting for unmet federal need or converting any rejected/not accepted subsidized loans will be attempted before.  This is not possible for all students, however.

Students may view their FWS earnings totals in CAESAR > Financial Aid > Work-Study Earnings by Date. Amounts are updated after each bi-weekly and adjustment pay date. It is the student employee and supervisor's responsibility to calculate how many hours they may work until their limit runs out.

On-Campus Employers

Once a student reaches their FWS earnings limit, they must be paid with "regular student wages." We will update the salary account code in myHR and notify the student and timekeeping approver of this change. There is no federal wage subsidy for  "regular student wages." If your department is unable to pay a student under these arrangements, you should terminate the employment record for the remainder of the academic year.

If the student over-earned their FWS limit you will be notified by our office. Over-earned wages may be charged back to your department for the difference.

Off-Campus Community FWS Employers

In addition to the information above, if the student exceeds their FWS limit 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.


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.

Pay Advances

Northwestern University does not issue pay advances. Students must work to earn their FWS. No hours should be reported for a student before the work is performed. Additionally, students will not receive a payout of unearned FWS.

Pay Increases

Merit and longevity pay increases are at the supervisor’s discretion. Speak with your supervisor to review your eligibility for a pay increase.

Fringe Benefits

Federal regulations prohibit FWS wages from being used to pay fringe benefits. However, by state law, students are permitted to accrue and use sick time. See more information about this policy on the Student Employment website Timekeeping webpage. If you or your student have questions, please contact

Taxes and Annual Income Statements

Work-study earnings are taxable by both the state and federal governments however, social security and Medicare taxes (FICA) are withheld 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.