Community Service for Employers

Hiring students

Create an appropriate job description and assign an appropriate wage rate for the position. For guidance, you may refer to the guidelines used at Western Michigan University by visiting Career and Student Employment Services.

  • Complete and submit the Western Michigan University Community Service Work-study Agreement. The agreement must be signed by the appropriate representative of both the off-campus site and Western Michigan University.
  • Work with WMU Career and Student Employment Services to recruit student employees to your site and if you wish, list your position on Handshake.
  • When you find a potential student employee, confirm that they have received a Federal Work-study offer. Students who have been offered Federal Work-study may view and print their offer letter any time using GoWMU. Please ask them to provide whatever documentation you desire to confirm their offer.

Please note that WMU will reimburse the site for up to 75% of the student’s wages. The site must contribute the remaining 25%. If the student does not have a Federal Work-study offer, the site will not be reimbursed.

Calculate the number of hours per week the student may work within the limits of their offer. Please note that the calculations assume the student is working all pay periods assigned to the semester/session.

Fall or Spring

Student's offer amount / hourly pay rate / 18 weeks = hours per week.

Summer l or Summer ll

Student's offer amount / hourly pay rate / 8 weeks = hours per week.

Processing payroll

The community service site or employer is initially responsible for paying the student or employee for hours worked. Sites may only request reimbursement from WMU after the student has been compensated for hours worked.

You must collect a timesheet for all hours worked during each pay period. After the student has received payment for the pay period, the site should submit the Request for Community Service Payroll Reimbursement form. The request must be signed by the student, and certified by the student’s direct supervisor. After each pay period, email signed requests and supporting documentation to the Federal Work-study coordinator at

  • Only hours that have been compensated by the site are eligible for reimbursement. Future hours will not be reimbursed from Federal Work-study.
  • Each site is responsible for tracking the student’s earnings against the amount of their offer. Once the offer maximum is reached, additional earnings will not be reimbursed. Maintain a record of gross wages paid to date and subtract them from the amount of the student’s Federal Work-study offer.
  • Unused offers will automatically carry forward to the next semester/session if the semester/session receiving the carry forward is within the same financial aid year (Summer II, Fall, Spring, Summer I) and the semester/session receiving the carry forward also includes a Federal Work-study offer.

Staying on course

Off-campus community service sites who compensate students using the community service Federal Work-study program must:

  • Maintain a job description for each student in the program.
  • Assign appropriate wage rate for community service positions.
  • Collect timesheets for hours worked. Timesheets must be signed by the student and the student’s supervisor, certifying that hours worked were authorized and the time reported accurately represents hours worked on tasks related to the employer’s normal course of business.
  • Maintain a copy of timesheets used for calculating student wages.
  • Make these records available for review upon request from WMU Student Financial Aid.
  • Compensate the student(s) for hours worked at the community service site.
  • Provide direct supervision for each student in the program.

When you employ a student you must compensate them regularly for hours worked. It is not appropriate to permit a student’s hours to accumulate. Students who are paid using Federal Work-study must work to earn wages. Please do not use Federal Work-study to compensate students for hours of study or other non-work-related activities. To do so would be a violation of federal, state and University guidelines.