University of South Carolina

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Employing Work-Study Students

How to Hire a Work-Study Student

On-Campus Employment:
The Payroll Department requires USC departments to hire all students using a Web transaction via VIP. Departmental authorization for access to the Student Hire System can be obtained by contacting the Payroll Office.

Work-Study students interviewing for on-campus jobs do not need a PBP-3 form to confirm their work-study awards. Confirmation and amounts of awards can be obtained by logging on to the VIP Student Hire System and viewing the student hire screen or by contacting the FWS Administrative Assistant.

Off-Campus Employment:
Students who interview for jobs with agencies located off campus must request a PBP-3 form be prepared for them by the Financial Aid Office.

Expected Earnings (amount of award) is always determined by the Financial Aid Office. It represents the 100% figure to be earned by the student. It is the responsibility of the employer and student to ensure that the students earnings do not exceed the amount of the award. On-campus employers should not hire students on departmental funds hoping to be reimbursed if a Work-Study award is made.

Whom Should Your Hire?

The ideal Work-Study positions allow students to work their way through school while receiving practical work experience in their chosen field. While this is not always possible, students from the various colleges, schools and programs that make up USC give your agency or department a variety of skills and interests to draw upon.

In many ways, hiring a Work-Study student is like hiring any other employee. You may require academic background for a particular job, or testing (typing, computer operations) to assure applicants have the skills you need. But remember: the higher the skills, the higher the pay.

NOTE: The University of South Carolina System provides equal opportunity and affirmative action in education and employment for all qualified persons regardless of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, veteran status or national origin. The University of South Carolina System has designated as the ADA and Section 504 coordinator the Executive Assistant to the President for Equal Opportunity Programs.

Hiring Graduate Students

Graduate students with work-study awards are hired by on-campus employers using the Web. Off-campus employers must complete a paper PBP-3 form to hire graduate students. The hiring process is the same as used for undergraduates, only the class codes differ.

How Much Should You Pay

Students can be paid anywhere between $7.25 and $12.50 per hour. In determining an appropriate rate, the employer must consider the following:

  • the skills needed to perform the job,
  • how much persons with those same skills are paid in the local area for doing the same type of job,
  • rates the employer would normally pay similar non-FWS employees, and
  • any applicable federal, state, or local laws that require a specific wage rate.
  • Any request for hourly rates which exceed the maximum rate allowed must be accompanied by a written request which justifies the higher pay rate.

Wage increases should be provided when you determine that the student has performed a job satisfactorily over a reasonable period of time.

A Note About Overearnings

The Federal Work-Study Program is a form of financial aid. As a recipient of this aid, Work-Study students may not earn more than their total award amount from their Work-Study position. In addition, many students depend on Work-Study employment to meet weekly college expenses. Therefore, it is important that you, as an employer, carefully coordinate the yearly work schedule with the student to ensure you both understand how many hours the student can work and when the award runs out. The "Federal Work-Study Award/Hours Reference Chart/Pay Rates" below can be used to determine how many hours per week students can work and not exceed their award.

The formula is simple: Work-Study Award Amount ÷ Hourly Pay Rate ÷ Weeks in Term = Hours per Week.

Please keep a weekly record of earnings for each of your students. This cumulative record of student earnings can be a reference for you and your employees to track their earnings and the date when the award total will be met. When students earn the total award amount, their Work-Study employment must be terminated. Students must not exceed their awards!

If a student's award amount is exceeded, 100% of the overearnings will be charged to the employer's account. If you wish to continue a student's employment after the total Work-Study award has been earned, you must terminate the Work-Study employment and rehire the student as a non-Work-Study employee. To terminate the Work-Study employment, prepare a "termination" PBP-3 and send to the Financial Aid Office.

Federal Work-Study Award / Hours Reference Chart / Pay Rates

Award Amount Number of Hours
at $7.25/hr
Number of Hours
at $8.00/hr
Number of Hours
at 9:00/hr
$1500 6.75 6.25 5.50
$1600 7.25 6.50 5.75
$1700 7.75 7.00 6.25
$1800 8.25 7.50 6.50
$1900 8.75 7.75 7.00
$2000 9.00 8.25 7.25
$2100 9.50 8.75 7.75
$2300 10.50 9.50 8.50
$2500 11.50 10.25 9.25
$3000 13.75 12.50 11.00

The number of hours per week in the chart above are rounded to the nearest 1/4 hour and are based on 30 weeks (2 semesters) in the academic year.

Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 (I-9 Form)

An I-9 Form (Employment Eligibility Verification) must be completed for each student employed on or after July 1, 1987. Completion of I-9 Forms is ALWAYS the responsibility of the department or agency. The Payroll Department will retain I-9's for all student workers. The following procedure outlines the process by which employers must verify employment eligibility for student employees. The procedure will satisfy the requirements placed on student employers by the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986:

  • On-campus employers complete the hiring process on the Web. Off-campus employers complete the PBP-3 form.
  • Present the I-9 Form to each student employee for completion. (The I-9 Form must be completed within three (3) days of the hire date.)
  • On-campus employers should send the completed I-9 Form directly to Payroll.
  • Off-campus employers must attach the original completed I-9 Form to the PBP-3 Form and mail or have the student hand deliver to the Financial Aid Office. Fax copies of PBP-3 hire forms and I-9's cannot be accepted.
  • The Payroll Department will maintain the I-9 Forms for record-keeping purposes. It is suggested that employers maintain photocopies of the I-9 Form and the required documentation in their internal files.
  • Blank I-9's are available at

Completing the Hire Using VIP: On Campus Employers

The following items identified on the VIP Web hire screen are to be completed by the hiring department. Do not omit any of these items.

Home Department - Enter the number of the hiring department.
Begin Date - The date appearing in this space is the earliest date award can be used. This may be changed to the actual hiring date (but not earlier than date of award).
End Date - The award cannot be used after this date. Date may be changed to an earlier date by the hiring department; however, the date cannot be extended..
Job Number - Enter the position/job number of the position that the student will fill. Enter the complete number (not just the last two or three digits).
Student Type - Select appropriate class code from the pull down box. Work-study class codes are as follows: 51422-undergrad student; 51424-nonenrolled student (valid only during summer semesters); 51425-graduate student filling an assistantship position; 51426-graduate student NOT working in an assistantship position.
Hourly Rate - Enter the hourly pay rate student will be paid.
Check Distribution and Time Card Distribution - Fill in department number if different from home department number.
Campus - Select Columbia from the pull down box.
Department and Fund Number - Enter the appropriate account to be charged.
Percent - 025.000000 should be entered here.
Supervisor Information - Supervisor SSN, class code and slot#
Contact - Department contact name should be entered here.

Click here for a visual representation of these items as seen on the VIP Hire Page.

NOTE: "Hrs/Week" is hard coded as 40.0; this is set by Payroll and cannot be changed. Students may not work more than 20 hrs/wk when classes are in session.

Completing the Hire Using the PBP-3: Off-Campus Employers, Including Community Service and Carolina Reads

The following items identified on the PBP-3 are to be completed by the hiring department. Do not omit any of these items.

Position Classification Number - Enter the position classification number of the position that the student will fill. **Carolina Reads job # has been completed by the Financial Aid Office.
Employing Department Name - Enter the name of the agency where the student will work.
Department Contact - Enter the name of the agency contact person to be called if questions arise. (The students supervisor may be listed as the contact person's name if preferred.)
Contact Phone Number - Enter the phone number of the agency's contact person.
I-9 Form - Please check the appropriate statement.
Hourly Rate - Enter the hourly rate the student will be paid. **Carolina Reads pay rate has been completed by the Financial Aid Office.
Signature/Date - To be signed by the authorized agency contact person. The student does not sign this form.

Click Here for a visual representation of these items, as seen on an example PBP-3 form.