Skip to main content

Payroll and Timekeeping

Students are paid for hours worked and receive a bi-weekly paycheck to use for educational or personal expenses.  Students are paid at least the minimum wage ($13.00 per hour for positions based in Evanston or $15.00 per hour for positions based in Chicago).  Most students earn between $13.00 and $15.25 per hour.  

Time Keeping System

You and your supervisor are required to approve your hours prior to being paid every two weeks. 

  • If your department uses a time-clock, swipe in and out of each shift with your WildCARD.
  • All other students  must record their hours worked in Kronos, Northwestern’s time keeping system, by 5 p.m. CST on the last Friday of the pay period (unless otherwise notified). When finished, click Approve. To make edits, click Remove Approval.
    • America Reads and off-campus community service students must also submit the Off Campus Time-Card Approval Form which will automatically be sent to your off-campus employer to approve your hours worked that pay period. 
  • Your employer will approve your timecard by 1 p.m. CST on the Monday after the end of the pay period

To use Kronos from off-campus or University housing, you must connect to NU VPN first.  Students who have trouble accessing Kronos should contact the Kronos Help Desk at

Learn more about Kronos Time Entry.

Tracking Hours and Wages

Use the Work-Study Award Tracking Sheet or access CAESAR > Financial Aid > Work-Study Earnings by Date to monitor your cumulative work-study earnings after each pay date. Our office will notify you when you are approaching your allotment limit. Once you reach your FWS allotment, your are no longer eligible to be paid work-study wages and you and your supervisor will be notified. Your employer will determine if you can continue working in their department and transition your position to a Northwestern temporary wage worker with Human Resources with their department paying your full wages.

  • To use the Award Tracking Sheet, begin by writing your FWS allotment on the total award line. (This amount can be found in CAESAR.) After your first paycheck, record the gross (pre-tax) amount from the check and enter on the gross pay column for the appropriate pay date on the form. The remaining award amount can then be calculated by subtracting the gross pay from the total award. Each subsequent paycheck should be recorded in the same manner, subtracting the gross pay from the remaining award balance of the previous pay period to determine the current amount left to earn.

Scheduled Hours Calculator

The calculator below will help you determine the maximum hours you may work each week. The calculator is based on 30 weeks of employment throughout the regular academic year and does not include winter or spring break for which you may work. The basic formula behind these figures is:

(Work-Study Allotment ÷ Weeks per Academic Year) ÷ Hourly Wage = Hours per Week

Work-Study Award Hourly Pay Rate Calculate Hours/Week
(Ex: 3600) (Ex: 13.00)  

If you work during winter or spring break, any wages earned will count toward your annual work-study allotment limit.   

Meals and Breaks

If you will be working 7.5 continuous hours or more, state law requires a meal period of at least 20 minutes. The meal period must be taken no later than 5 hours after beginning work. The meal period is unpaid. Illinois has no law regarding breaks.

Work-study students who enter their hours in Kronos must deduct 20 minutes from their time entry if they worked 7.5 hours or more. Students who swipe at a Timeclock station must swipe in and out for lunch periods. 

Sick-Time Policy

Work-study students may accrue paid sick leave hours. To be eligible, student-workers must work 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 have questions about your eligibility, please contact

Time Sheet Falsification

Falsification of a time sheet by a student is a serious offense.   Possible consequences include:

  • Immediate removal from the Federal Work-Study Program,
  • The amount of Federal Work-Study awarded will be cancelled and will not be replaced with any federal or institutional assistance, 
  • A Termination Notice will be placed in the student's file indicating the reason for removal, and/or
  • This matter will be referred to Student Affairs for appropriate disciplinary action.

Prior to being allowed to return to the Federal Work-Study Program, a written petition, requesting permission to return, must be submitted to the Financial Aid Office. If approval is granted to return to the Federal Work-Study Program, your current employer is not required to re-hire you as a work-study employee.


Federal and Illinois State taxes are automatically deducted from your paychecks.

W-2 Wage Statements are issued each calendar year by the Northwestern Payroll Office.  The document outlines all income earned from Northwestern and all taxes withheld that year.  You will need this document for filing your federal or state taxes.  Save these documents for your records!  You may need to provide them for financial applications in future years.