Appropriate Use of Student Labor

All students working in the Berea College Labor Program are provided a position description that outlines specific duties and learning opportunities. All positions retain a degree of flexibility to meet changing needs with the department. However, it is inappropriate and against College guidelines and Federal Work Study regulations to utilize student labor for personal / non-College-related gain (e.g., babysitting, errands, housekeeping, home maintenance, or other strictly non-work-related endeavors).  Students can only be paid for work they were contracted to perform through their labor department.

Work Colleges Program- Federal Guidelines

The Higher Education Amendments of 1992 authorized the Work Colleges Program. Schools that satisfy the definition of “work-college” may apply with the U.S. Department of Education to participate in the program. A work-college may transfer funds from its allocation for the FWS Program and/or Federal Perkins Loan Program to fund the school’s Work Colleges Program.

The Work Colleges Program recognizes, encourages, and promotes the use of comprehensive work-learning programs as a valuable educational approach when used as an integral part of the school’s educational program and as a part of a financial plan that decreases reliance on grants and loans. The program also encourages students to participate in community service activities.

The term “work-college” is defined as an eligible institution that:

  • Is a public or private nonprofit school with a commitment to community service.
  • Has operated a comprehensive work-learning program for at least two years.
  • Provides students participating in the comprehensive work-learning program with the opportunity to contribute to their education and to the welfare of the community as a whole.
  • Requires all students who reside on campus to participate in a comprehensive work-learning program.
  • Requires providing services as an integral part of the school’s educational program and as part of the school’s educational philosophy.

A “comprehensive work-learning program” is defined as a student work/service program that:

  • Is an integral and stated part of the institution’s educational philosophy and program.
  • Requires participation of all resident students for enrollment, participation, and graduation.
  • Includes learning objectives, evaluation*, and a record of work performance as part of the student’s college record.
  • Provides programmatic leadership by college personnel at levels comparable to traditional academic programs.
  • Recognize the educational role of work-learning supervisors.
  • Includes consequences for nonperformance or failure in the work-learning program similar to the consequences for failure in the regular academic program.

*See the section on assessment for further details.

Job Descriptions

The Labor Status Form is considered a companion piece to the Job Description and will contain some the required information below.  Each FWS position should have a job description (along with a status form) that includes the following:

  • The name and address of the student’s employer (department, public agency, nonprofit organization).
  • The purpose of the student’s job.
  • The student’s duties and responsibilities.
  • The job qualifications.
  • The job’s wage rate or range. (status form)
  • The length of the student’s employment beginning and ending dates.  (status form)
  • The name of the student’s supervisor.  (status form)

The job description has several purposes:

  • It clearly defines whether the job qualifies under the FWS Program.
  • It provides the information needed to explain the position to a student and help him/her select the type of employment most closely related to his/her education or career objectives.
  • It helps the financial aid administrator, the student, and the supervisor determine the number of hours of work required at the specified wage rate to meet a student’s financial need.
  • It establishes a written record, for both student and employer, of the job’s duties and responsibilities so that there will be no misunderstanding.

If a student is employed with an agency or organization that provides community services, the school should, as with any other FWS position, have a job description that includes the duties and the responsibilities for the position. Schools should use the job description to verify that the job meets the definition of community services in the FWS regulations.

Federal Work Study Employment During Periods of Non-Attendance

A student may be employed under FWS during a period of nonattendance, such as a summer or equivalent vacation period or the full-time work period of a cooperative education program. To be eligible for this employment, a student must be planning to enroll (or to re-enroll) for the next regular session. The student’s earnings during this period of nonattendance (earning minus taxes and job related costs) must be used to pay his/her cost of attendance for the next period of enrollment.

A student whose eligibility for summer FWS employment was based on anticipated enrollment in the subsequent term may fail to register or may decide to attend another school. When a student fails to register for the subsequent term, the school that employed the student must be able to demonstrate that the student was eligible for employment and that the school had reason to believe the student intended to study at that school in the next term. At minimum, the school that employed the student must keep a written record in its files showing that the student had accepted the school’s offer of admittance in the upcoming session.

A student in an eligible program of study abroad may be employed during the summer preceding the study abroad if he/she will be continuously enrolled in his/her American school while abroad and if the student’s study is part of the American school’s own program. In such a case, a student may be employed in a qualified position in the United States, at the American school’s branch campus in a foreign country, at a U.S. government facility abroad, or in an American company abroad.

Summer Graduates Requesting Extended Summer Labor Hours

Graduates enrolled in summer courses at Berea in order to complete a degree program are expected to work a minimum of 10 hours per week while in class.   Once all course work is completed and the degree requirements have been satisfied, students are no longer permitted to work through the Labor Program.

Payroll Records

In school records, schools must distinguish expenditures for FWS compensation from other institutional expenditures. Program and fiscal records must include:

  • A payroll voucher containing sufficient information to support all payroll disbursements.
  • A non-cash contribution record to document any payment of the school’s share of the student’s earnings in the form of services and equipment.
  • A certification by the student’s supervisor, an official of the school (or off-campus agency) that each student has worked and earned the amount being paid. If students are paid on an hourly basis, the certification must include or be supported by a time record showing the hours each student worked in clock time sequence, or the total hours worked per day.

Accident Reporting

Should a student have an accident while working in their labor assignment, Public Safety should be notified immediately so that medical care can be provided. As well, the individuals responsible for workers compensation in Human Resources should be notified as well.  Public Safety will complete an accident report and advise appropriate individuals with any follow-up recommendations. The Labor Program and Student Payments Office should also be notified of the incident as soon as possible.

Questions regarding Worker’s Compensation should be directed to the Human Resources Office, which works with a third party administrator to determine applicable benefits. When a student is off work due to an injury or illness, a “Release to Return to Work” slip will need to be signed by a physician and submitted to the Labor Program and Student Payments Office before further work is permitted.

When students request an adjustment in his/her hours requirements due to illness or injury, the request must be accompanied with documentation indicating the diagnosis, treatment and release dates along with any work restrictions and limitations.

Unemployment Insurance

College student workers are excluded from filing claims for unemployment compensation under the Kentucky Unemployment Insurance Act, KRS Chapter 341.

Employment Conditions and Limitations

The following provisions apply to all work, whether on or off campus.

Federal work study (FWS) employment must not displace workers (including those on strike) or impair existing service contracts. Also, if the school has an employment agreement with an organization in the private sector, the organization’s workers must not be replaced with FWS students. Replacement is interpreted as displacement.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, prohibits employers (including schools) from accepting voluntary services from any paid worker. Any student employed under FWS must be paid for all hours worked.

A student may earn academic credit as well as compensation for FWS job. Such jobs include but are not limited to internships, practica, or assistantships (e.g. research or teaching assistantships). However, a student employed in a FWS job and receiving academic credit for that job may not be:

  • Paid less than he/she would be if no academic credit were given.
  • Paid for receiving instruction in a classroom, laboratory, or other academic setting (e.g., enrolled in and serving as a TA for the same class).
  • Paid unless the employer would normally pay the person for the same job.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, state and local government, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. It also applies to the United States Congress. To be protected by the ADA, one must have a disability or have a relationship or association with an individual with a disability. An individual with a disability is defined by the ADA as a person who has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having such an impairment. The ADA does not specifically name all of the impairments that are covered. Section 504 states "no qualified individual with a disability in the United States shall be excluded from, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance…” For more information see or contact the Institutional Compliance Officer.

The Office of Disability and Accessibility Services at Berea College offers a broad range of services upon request.  The office is currently located at 111 Lincoln Hall, ext. 3237.

Sexual Harassment

Title IX protects students from unlawful sexual harassment in all of a school s programs or activities, whether they take place in the facilities of the school, on a school bus, at a class or training program sponsored by the school at another location, or elsewhere. Title IX protects both male and female students from sexual harassment, regardless of who the harasser is.

Sexual Harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical behaviors related to a person’s gender, sexual identity, or sexuality when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s academic advancement or employment; or
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
  3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.

Sexual harassment contains these two elements:

  • Sexual behavior that is unwanted and unwelcome
  • Sexual behavior related to the gender, sexual identity, or sexuality of the person.

Sexual harassment often occurs in situations where one person is in a position of power or authority over another, but it can occur when there is no evident power differential. Both women and men can be harassed, and harassment can be same-sex harassment.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and in Kentucky, by the Fair Employment Practices Act, KRS 344.010-500, 207, 170.

Berea College specifically prohibits sexual harassment of students, workers, or visitors. The College is committed to investigating and resolving all sexual harassment complaints. Offenses will result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal, whether the offender is faculty, staff, administrator, student, or trustee. Retaliation through discrimination, intimidation, threat, coercion, or any other means against anyone who has reported sexual harassment is prohibited by College policy. Reports of sexual harassment should be directed to the Institutional Compliance Officer.

Non-Discrimination Policy

Berea College, in light of its mission in the tradition of "impartial love" and social equality, welcomes "all peoples of the earth" to learn and work here. It is the policy of Berea College not to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, handicap, or sexual orientation in its educational programs, admissions practices, scholarship and loan programs, athletics and other school-administered activities or employment practices. This policy is in compliance with the requirements of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regulations of the Internal Revenue Service, and all other applicable federal, state and local statutes, ordinances and regulations. (As adopted by the Board of Trustees, February 2001.)

Questions or complaints regarding discrimination should be referred to the office or committee responsible for the activity concerned. In addition, the College has appointed compliance officers under provision of law regarding sex and handicap discrimination. The Vice President for Operations and Sustainability is Section 504 Coordinator. Questions or complaints in the area of handicap discrimination should be referred to Derrick Singleton in 230 Lincoln Hall, at 859-985-3131. Sex discrimination questions or complaints may be directed to a Title VII/Title IX Coordinator by phone 859-228-2323 or by email

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

OSHA's mission is to ensure safe and healthful workplaces in America. Since the agency was created in 1971, workplace fatalities have been cut in half and occupational injury and illness rates have declined 40 percent. Contact the OSHA Manager in Environmental Health and Safety at Berea College for more information or visit

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and USA Patriot Act

FERPA gives parents certain rights with respect to their children's education records and personal information. These rights transfer to the student when he or she reaches the age of 18 or attends a school beyond the high school level. Students to whom the rights have transferred are "eligible students." Records and information of students can only be released with consent of the eligible party. There are exceptions to FERPA's general prior consent rule that are set forth in the statute and the regulations. One exception is the disclosure of directory information, which is defined as follows:

FERPA defines "directory information" as information contained in the education records of a student that would not generally be considered harmful or an invasion of privacy if disclosed. Typically, "directory information" includes information such as name, address, and telephone listing, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, and dates of attendance. A school may disclose "directory information" to third parties without consent if it has given public notice of the types of information which it has designated as "directory information, the eligible party has the right to restrict the disclosure of such information The means of public notification may include publication in various sources, including newsletter, local newspaper, or student handbook. The school may also include the "directory information" notification as part of the general notification of rights under FERPA. The school does not have to notify a parent or eligible student individually.

The USA Patriot Act of 2001 allows senior federal justice officials to obtain a court order requiring an institution to turn over educational records in connection with a terrorism investigation or prosecution. The request must be based on specific facts, giving reason to believe that the records are likely to contain relevant information. The information-gathering powers of the USA Patriot Act apply only to a crime of terrorism. Law enforcement officials seeking educational records in connection with any other crime still must obtain a subpoena.

If a student wishes to restrict access to directory information to others not specified in the FERPA and USA Patriot Act, a written notice should be submitted to the Vice President of Student Life, preferably before completion of registration for the first term of the academic year.

For more information see or