The following provides a brief overview of Trinity College's Federal Work-Study Program for students and employers. For more details, access related websites or contact the Financial Aid Office or Payroll Office directly. To access a printable version (PDF) of this information please click here
The Federal Work-Study Program (FWSP) is a federal program established by Congress as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 that provides part-time employment opportunities to students with financial need. The FWSP is directed by the Financial Aid Office and adheres to congressional legislation, which is regulated by the U.S. Department of Education. Work-Study is a federally-subsidized program where costs are shared by the federal government and the individual employer.
The purpose of the FWSP is to promote part-time employment, including community-based opportunities, for students while providing work experience related to a student’s interests and academic pursuits. Federal regulations mandate that student employees must not displace or replace existing employees (including those on strike). Federal Work-Study students are instructed that their job is second only to academics, but both students and employers should remember that each has responsibilities toward the employment relationship.
FWSP for Students
Eligible students are awarded Work-Study as a component of the overall financial aid package. To be considered, the student must submit a FAFSA
and other documents related to their financial aid by the posted deadlines to the Financial Aid Office. The Work-Study award is directly tied to the estimated $2,000 cost of books and personal expenses. The award is not credited to the student’s account; it is paid to the student as earnings for hours worked. The recommended job at the beginning pay rate would assume approximately 9 hours of work per week. Students are not required to work, nor are they penalized for not working. However, if a student chooses not to obtain employment, the College will not replace this portion of their aid.
Finding a Job:
Students who are awarded Work-Study are responsible for obtaining their own employment by contacting and interviewing with the hiring department. Hiring practices (interviews, applications, etc.) vary between departments or different positions and are at the discretion of the supervisor. The Financial Aid Office maintains the Joblist
, where many available on and off-campus jobs can be found. The Joblist
also includes affiliated community-based employment opportunities, which students are encouraged to explore. Opportunities like 'America Reads Program,' where students work as reading tutors at local public school, allow Work-Study students to contribute to Trinity’s surrounding community.
As part of the hiring process, students should know how much, if any, Federal Work-Study they have been awarded and provide this information to their potential supervisors. Students can see if they have been awarded Work-Study by checking their financial aid status at FAStatus
Once a student has secured a job, they must complete the necessary paperwork. All students are required to complete an I-9
(Proof of Citizenship), a W-4
(for federal tax withholding), and a CT-W4
(for CT tax withholding) only once during their time at Trinity, all of which must be submitted to the Payroll Office (M-F 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.). These forms are state and federally mandated and must be completed prior to the issue of the first paycheck. Students should bring the following acceptable documents to complete their forms:
U.S. Citizens (1, 2, 3):
- Passport, or
- A picture ID AND either an actual, original Social Security card or a notarized copy of it, or
- A picture ID AND your original birth certificate or a notarized copy of it.
In addition, once a student has been hired, a Work Authorization Form
must be completed by the student and employer and returned to the Financial Aid Office. These forms are needed for each position worked.
Students hired as Work-Study employees should recognize that their employment is a serious agreement between the employer(s) and themselves. They are expected to
- submit all necessary paperwork to the appropriate office by the posted deadlines
- inform employers of their Work-Study award amount
- provide employers with a copy of their class schedule
- arrive for work on time
- perform the work assigned to them based on the agreed upon responsibilities
- provide ample notice if unable to work a scheduled shift
Students should not consider their employment an opportunity to complete school work unless instructed to do so by a supervisor. Except in documented cases of a class cancellation or expressed permission by an instructor, students should never work during scheduled class time* (refer to Student Scheduling Policy (SSP) below).
Hours and Earnings:
It is recommended Federal Work-Study students work no more than 15 hours a week; otherwise, special permission must be obtained from the Dean of Students. A desirable range is 8-10 hours per week. Please refer to the Schedule of Estimated Earnings
for more information on hours worked and projected earnings.
If a student’s earnings exceed their allotted Work-Study award, they must be removed from the FWSP. While removal from the FWSP does not automatically mean the student will be terminated from their position, their employer will now be responsible for 100% of the wage rate. In the event of FWSP removal, the student and employer should discuss the student’s continued employment and/or the possibility of working a reduced number of hours.
Pay checks are currently issued on a bi-weekly basis. Students will receive their checks in their campus mailboxes on the Friday afternoon of pay weeks. Also, Direct Deposit is available for students who elect to participate. For a schedule of pay dates, please contact the Payroll Office
Students may cash checks at the Bookstore. There is a check cashing fee of $1.00 per $100 of check value. The Bookstore will cash personal checks up to $30.00. Only one check a day is allowed to be cashed, no third-party check and there is a $25.00 bounced check fee.
Year End W-2s:
W-2 statements are mailed to all students at their home addresses at the end of January each year by the Payroll Office. Each student is responsible for following local, state, and federal tax guidelines as per their own particular circumstances.
FWSP for Employers
Any position for which there is a professional staff person to provide regular supervision is eligible for consideration under the FWSP. Work performed for a professor must be in relation to the work of Trinity College, not for personal projects. Work-Study students may not be employed by graduate students to assist them in research unless the student is hired by the department. All work performed by Work-Study students must be paid labor; employers cannot accept voluntary work.
The FWSP has expanded off-campus community service employment opportunities for students. As defined by federal regulations, community service is designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals, or to solve particular problems related to their needs, including such fields as health care, child care, literacy training, education, welfare, social services, transportation, housing and neighborhood improvement, public safety, crime prevention, recreation, rural development and community improvement.
To continue its expansion of service-based employment, Trinity welcomes the involvement of community organizations in the College’s FWSP. To be eligible, the organization must be a public or private, nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonreligious agency located within Connecticut. A signed agreement with the College must be on-file to participate. For more details on becoming an off-campus employer, please view Trinity’s Off-Campus Employer Information Sheet
or contact the Financial Aid Office
Benefits of Hiring a Work-Study Student:
Because the Federal Work-Study Program is a federally-subsidized program, employers are only responsible for a portion of the employee’s wage rate. The current wage-cost ratio for on-campus employers is 45%. In other words, the on-campus employer pays 45% of each student's wage, and the FWSP pays 55%. For off-campus employers, the wage-cost ratio is the same unless otherwise determined by the Financial Aid Office. This wage ratio is primarily used by the department for budgetary calculations. When determining if a student has exceeded the earnings of their Work-Study award, the student’s total earnings are considered, not just the department’s 45% contribution.
A hiring priority period is in effect at the beginning of each academic year until September 20th, during which time only Work-Study students can be hired. Each department is responsible for determining their hiring practices (interviews, applications, etc.), following federal, state, and local laws, in addition to the College’s established employment policies. Using the Wage Rate Classification
as a guide, employers can also determine the appropriate wage rate according to the position’s corresponding responsibilities. Employers should also compose written job descriptions to establish a record of the position and its responsibilities, which can be used for recruitment purposes. Job descriptions should include:
- title of position
- name of hiring department or organization
- location of hiring department or organization
- name and contact information of supervisor
- responsibilities of the position
- rate of pay
- qualifications for the position
- work period
The Financial Aid Office maintains the Joblist
, where on and off campus job openings can be submitted by employers for posting. Posting criteria can be obtained by contacting the FWSP Coordinator in the Financial Aid Office
Before a student may assume employment, they are required to complete an I-9
(Proof of Citizenship), a W-4
(for federal tax withholding), and a CT- W4
(for CT tax withholding), all of which must be submitted to the Payroll Office (M-F 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.). Employers will need to complete a Payroll Authorization Form for student employees, which is also returned to Payroll. Employers should ensure all necessary forms have been submitted in the appropriate timeframe before students begin working. For more information on completing Payroll documents, please contact Payroll
or visit their website
Additionally, employers and students must complete a Work Authorization Form
for each position worked. This form must be returned to the Financial Aid Office.
As supervisors of Work-Study student employees, employers are expected to
- submit all employee-related paperwork to the appropriate office by the posted deadlines (hiring paperwork, timesheet submission, etc.)
- assign work according to the agreed upon responsibilities
- maintain student records, including hiring paperwork, sign-in sheets, timesheets, class schedules, and any additional documentation
- be flexible in scheduling students around classes and exams
adhere to the Student Scheduling Policy (SSP)*
Hours and Earnings:
For both on and off campus employment, it is recommended Federal Work-Study students work no more than 15 hours a week or otherwise obtain special permission from the Dean of Students. A desirable range is 8-10 hours per week. Please refer to the Schedule of Estimated Earnings
for more information to determine a suitable schedule that aligns with the student’s Work-Study award. As expressed in the Student Scheduling Policy (SSP)*, students should never work during scheduled class time.
If a student’s earnings exceed their allotted Work-Study award, they must be removed from the FWSP. Their removal requires the student be moved to the department’s regular payroll, making the department responsible for 100% of the student’s wage rate. In the event of FWSP removal, the student and employer should discuss the student’s continued employment and/or the possibility of working a reduced number of hours.
*Student Scheduling Policy (SSP)
All supervisors of Federal Work-Study student employees should maintain a copy of all student employee class schedules to ensure students are not scheduled for work during class time. A student may only work during scheduled class time if there is a class cancellation or if the student is given explicit permission from the instructor to forgo class. Both instances should be accompanied by documentation that is maintained along with the student’s file. This documentation should come in writing from the student’s instructor.
Documents for Supervisors and Students: