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Darnise Samuel
Program Manager, Job Location & Development

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Frequently Asked Questions

What paperwork must I complete in order to start working? 

You must complete the I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form, available through Human Resources or your supervisor, within three (3) days of your start date. In order to complete the form, you must present original documents that establish your identity and employment eligibility. If you are under the age of 18, you must also obtain a District of Columbia Work Permit; contact Human Resources for more information. Additionally, you should complete the Federal Tax Form (W-4), listing your permanent address, and the appropriate State Tax Form (D-4 for DC, MW-507 for MD, VA-4 for VA) based on your student residency to avoid being taxed at the highest bracket. Submit all paperwork through your supervisor or directly to Human Resources. Be sure to check with your supervisor what the hiring process is for your specific position. 

Can I claim exempt on my tax forms since I am a student? 

You cannot claim exemption from withholding if (1) your income exceeds $950 and includes more than $300 of unearned income (e.g. interest and dividends) and (2) another person can claim you as a dependent on his or her tax return. For more information, review our online guide (PDF) or consult a tax advisor. 

How and when will I be paid? 

You will receive biweekly payments every other Friday, provided that you sign your timesheets according to the payroll schedule. If you elect direct deposit, which is recommended, funds will be transferred automatically to the checking, savings, or EagleBucks account of your choice. If you do not elect direct deposit, you must pick up your paycheck from your supervisor each payday. 

How do I sign my time sheet? 

From the HR / Payroll Connection located in the myAU portal, select "Time Sheets." Enter the number of hours worked and electronically sign and verify your time sheet so that your supervisor can approve and submit it. If you sign your time sheet after its due date, your payment will be delayed. 

How many hours can I work? 

On average, FWS students work 8-10 hours pers week, no more than 20 hours per week during the academic year.  

As an international student, am I eligible for student jobs? 

Depending on your work authorization, you may be eligible for student employment. However, U.S. citizenship is required for the Federal Work Study Program. Please utilize International Student and Scholar Services before you begin your job search. 

Who is eligible for the Federal Work Study (FWS) Program? 

Students, who are U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents, complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and have demonstrated financial need, which is the difference between the cost of attendance (COA) at American University and the Expected Family Contribution (EFC) as determined by the FAFSA, are eligible. 

How would I know if I have been awarded Federal Work Study? 

If you met FWS eligibility requirements, the Financial Aid Office would have included a FWS award in your financial aid package. In order to start earning FWS funds, you must accept your award through the Eagle Service portal

Will my FWS award be applied to my tuition? 

No. Federal Work Study is an employment program; like other part-time student jobs, you will earn a paycheck every two weeks and may choose how best to spend your money. 

What is the difference between a FWS job and other part-time student jobs? 

There are two main differences. First, employers often prefer to hire students awarded Federal Work Study because 75% of FWS students' wages are covered by the U.S. Department of Education. Second, FWS earnings do not impact students' Expected Family Contribution (EFC), whereas other part-time income may affect EFC and reduce students' financial aid eligibility in subsequent years. 

How do I find a FWS job? 

View student job postings and consider opportunities that are on or off campus. To support AU faculty and staff, search according to AU department. To tutor children look at the DC Reads program. When you are ready to apply, follow the job's application instructions and seek guidance from your career advisor if necessary. 

Can I have two jobs at the same time? 

You may only hold one (1) FWS position at a time; however, you may pursue another part-time job or internship in addition to your FWS position. On average, FWS students work 8-10 hours per week. If working in multiple AU positions, do not work more than 20 hours per week during the academic year. 

Do I have to keep the same FWS job all year? 

No. You or your supervisor may terminate your employment at any time. If you are no longer able to fulfill your duties or want to change positions, provide advance notice to your supervisor and formally resign before starting a new FWS position. 

When can I start my FWS job? 

In general, you may start working as soon as you have accepted your FWS award through the myAU portal, secured an FWS job, and submitted necessary paperwork to Human Resources. To become a DC Reads tutor you must have also proven to have tested negative for TB (tuberculosis) within the past 12 months and have participated in a mandatory training.