How to hire a work-study student


What is Community Service Work-study?

What are the benefits?

Am I an eligible employer?

How to hire a student?

How to pay a student?

Contact us

Dates and Deadlines


What is Community Service Work-Study?

The Community Service Work-Study is a federally funded financial-aid program. The program connects Federal Work-Study (FWS) eligible undergraduate and graduate students to meaningful off-campus Community Service Work-Study jobs with local nonprofit, governmental, and community-based organizations.

If you qualify as an eligible employer, FWS funding will cover 75 percent of the wages of your work-study student workers.

Work-study job opportunities can be advertised for term time, during the winter break, or even the summer. During the semester, MIT students will be able to work up to twenty hours per week in the Cambridge/Boston area. During breaks, employers nationwide can hire MIT students up to forty hours a week.

We encourage employers to consider MIT students as problem solvers and creative thinkers. Work-study student workers bring with them a wealth of resources to help with your organization's immediate needs and so much more! Work-study student workers can be involved in activities such as:

  • Designing a new website
  • Mentoring a child in different subjects
  • Doing environmental research
  • Helping with your fundraising campaign
  • Assisting with a GIS mapping project

If you would like to discuss adding a student worker to your staff, please contact the Community Employment Administrator.

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What are the benefits?

Student workers:

  • are talented, versatile, and enthusiastic
  • are passionate and full of energy
  • are usually tech-savvy
  • offer new skills and a fresh perspective
  • bring new ideas and “think outside the box”
  • enhance diversity
  • connect you to the bigger MIT community
  • can help with special projects
  • can bring about change
  • and they are cost-effective, since you will only pay for a quarter of their wage!

Are there other benefits that you would like to suggest? Let us know!

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Am I an eligible employer?

To qualify as an eligible work-study employer, you must be a federal, state, or local public agency or a private nonprofit organization.

In addition, to qualify for work-study, the positions you offer must not displace employees or impair existing service contracts and meet the definition of community service. Community services are services identified by MIT, in collaboration with local nonprofit, public, and community-based organizations, as designed to improve the quality of life for the community, particularly low-income individuals, or the environment, and to solve particular problems related to their needs. These services include:

  • Health care, child care, literacy training, education (including tutoring), welfare, social services, transportation, housing and neighborhood improvement, public safety, crime prevention and control, recreation, rural development, community improvement, and emergency preparedness and response;
  • Support services for students with disabilities (including students with disabilities who are enrolled at the school); and
  • Activities in which an MIT student serves as a mentor for such purposes as tutoring, supporting educational and recreational activities, and counseling, including career counseling.

Community Service Work-Study must be in the public interest. Work in the public interest is defined as work performed for the welfare of the nation or community rather than work performed for a particular interest or group.

For more information on work-study eligibility talk to our Community Employment Administrator.

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How to hire a student?

Community Service Work-Study aims to connect eligible employers with MIT work-study students, but we do not place or select CSWS student workers on behalf of employers. Here are the required steps to advertise your work-study position:

  1. Make sure your agency and the position you offer qualify for work-study. Ask our Community Employment Administrator when in doubt!
  2. Request a copy of the Employer Responsibilities handout and read it carefully!
  3. Get approved by sending the following documents to our office (ask us copies of the documents and handouts):
    • Proof of nonprofit or tax-exempt status;
    • Employer agreement
    • Job description
  4. Post the job on the MIT Student Job Board; choose the “Community Service” category and the “off-campus” location.
  5. Screen and select candidates.
  6. Inform the Community Employment Administrator once you identify a hire. We will need to confirm the student’s FWS eligibility and ask him or her to complete some paperwork before he or she can begin working with you.
  7. It is important that a student does not begin working until both of you have received an official hiring email from the Community Employment Administrator, or your agency will be responsible for the full pay.

Important: Remember that work-study student workers cannot work more than twenty hours per week during the school year, and forty hours a week during the winter or summer breaks, including hours worked in other MIT positions.

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How to pay a student?

Work-study student workers will be on the MIT payroll and paid by MIT weekly. You will refund MIT for 25 percent of each student’s wage at the end of each billing cycle (fall, winter break, spring, and summer). See below how:

  1. Select a wage that is comparable to those of other employees performing similar jobs, and at least $11 per hour.
  2. Collect, sign and submit student time sheets every Friday by 5 pm. For weekend hours, sheets can be sent in by 10 am on Mondays at the latest.
  3. Late time sheets will result in student pay being delayed, and in some cases, it may become your responsibility to pay the student the full wage.
  4. Pay 25 percent of the student’s wages as billed each billing term by the MIT Student Financial Services. An additional employees benefits charge applies to less than full-time students during the semester and any undergraduate student in the summer. Invoices must be paid within a month of the billing date.
  5. If this presents a hardship, contact the Community Employment Administrator for information about financial assistance.

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Talk to us

Email: studentworker@mit.edu
Office: Building W20-549
Phone: (617) 253-8065


Dates and Deadlines

Recommended Job Posting Windows

Priority will be given to employers posting work-study positions during the recommended job posting windows below:

  • Spring 17: Dec 23 – Feb 10
  • Summer 17: Apr 24 – Jun 9
  • Fall 17: Jul 31 – Sep 8 (for year long positions through spring 2018, window is extended to Oct 20)
  • IAP 18 (Jan 4-week break): Nov 6 – Dec 22