What is work-study? How can I hire a work-study student?

Work-study provides part-time employment for students who need income to help meet the costs of education. MU Student Financial Aid determines eligibility and allocates funds. The MU Career Center develops employment opportunities, assists students with the selection of positions and provides training for employers.

The amount for which students are eligible varies. Students earn their awarded work-study funds by working approved positions, so there is no cost to you or your department. The rate of pay depends upon the level of work performed (see the Human Resources Student Wage Guidelines). Work-study funds are unavailable for summer.

Your fiscal or payroll officer will enter available work-study positions that will be posted on the Work-Study website. Students view the website to find available positions. Work-study students may choose from thousands of positions. If you wish to engage a work-study student in your research, emphasize the academic and career benefits when you post the job.

What kind of things can I hire a student to help me with?

Generally faculty hire undergraduates to assist with laboratory work (washing dishware, making solutions, caring for animals),  library work (finding and copying articles, filing) or other tasks (entering data into a spreadsheet, indexing a book manuscript).

I have grant money, and I want to hire a student to help me with my research. What do I need to do?

Faculty members directly hire part-time students. The student’s payroll will be processed your department’s fiscal/payroll office. Once you have identified the student you wish to hire, contact the fiscal staff member in your unit and let them know the student’s name, rate of pay, number of hours per week and the account number. Don’t forget to notify your fiscal staff member when you have “terminated” the student’s employment with you (at the end of the semester, upon graduation, at the end of the project, etc.)

What is an appropriate wage for student assistants?

Contact your fiscal officer to find an average rate of pay for your department. Your fiscal officer can suggest job levels and rates of pay, based on the level of work performed, needed expertise and independence of the employee. Student Assistant Levels are to be determined by the duties to be performed, rather than academic level. Visit Human Resources Student Wage Guidelines for more information.

How can I advertise the opportunities that I have for students?

I don’t have grant money, but I want to get students involved. What can I do?

Many students desire experience, and pay is not their top priority. Advertise using the methods listed above, and indicate that you need volunteers to help with a study. Detail the experiences and skills they will gain through participation.

How can students get academic credit?

When students are conducting their own research project (i.e., not performing support work such as washing dishes, entering data, photocopying, etc.), they may register for academic credit with approval from the appropriate department. Students should check with their major department for details. Students typically will register for three hours of research credit during the semester if they are spending 12-15 hours per week on their own project.

Students enrolled in the Honors College may wish to check into special course numbers through the Honors College; however, it is usually more useful for their degree completion to register for credit in their own major department.

Students also should be encouraged to talk with their academic adviser to determine if their undergraduate research credit will fulfill degree requirements and/or the senior capstone experience requirement. Typically, the faculty member supervising the student provides the grade to the department for the course the student is enrolled in at the end of the semester.

What programs are available on campus to pay for students?

A complete list of funded programs can be found on this website.

How are students selected for these programs?

Most of these programs require students to identify a faculty mentor and a project prior to the application deadline. The student and faculty mentor should discuss potential projects and work to refine the project proposal several months in advance of the application deadline. Selection also is usually based on the student’s academic record, personal statement, letters of recommendation and career interests. It is important to note that applications are student applications, not faculty applications.

How are students paid in these programs?

Most programs administer stipend payments on a regular basis (i.e., $2,000 paid in four installments during the academic year). These payments are processed through Student Financial Aid. Students are encouraged to speak with their financial aid advisor prior to accepting a stipend from a program, as it may impact their financial aid package.

Can students get academic credit and get paid?

Yes. A student conducting his or her own research project may earn academic credit and receive a stipend.

I have funds from my grant, and I wish to pay the student a stipend to conduct a research project (not hourly pay for support work). How do I set this up?

Contact your department fiscal officer and let them know that you wish to pay the student a specified amount and that it will need to be set up as a stipend through the Student Financial Aid. You will need to provide the staff member with the student’s name, MU student identification number, amount of stipend and the account number. Because this is not an employment arrangement, the student will not need to complete payroll paperwork. It is paid as a scholarship.

I am looking for an opportunity for my student to present her/his research. What opportunities are available at Mizzou?

In addition to the Undergraduate Research and Creative Achievements Forum, there are a number of discipline specific “research days” such as Cardiovascular Day, Nutritional Sciences Week, Life Sciences Week and Neurobiology Poster Day.

A select group of students is offered the opportunity to present their research at the Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol each year. These students must be Missouri residents and participate in a screening process and preparation workshops. Contact the Office of Undergraduate Research for further information.

The Office of Undergraduate Research will periodically need undergraduates to present or discuss their research to visiting VIPs, at open houses, or to prospective students. If your student is looking for additional opportunities to share their work and would be a good ambassador for Mizzou, contact the Office of Undergraduate Research to put their name on a list of potential student ambassadors.

I would like to take my student to a professional conference in our academic discipline. What sources of funding are available?

Many professional societies and meetings provide reduced registration rates for students or student travel awards. Check with your professional organization or meeting coordinators first. The MU Undergraduate Research travel grant provides some funding opportunities.

The Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (LS UROP) awards travel funds to undergraduate students presenting their life sciences research. Applications are due a minimum of six weeks prior to the meeting and students need not be LS UROP interns.

The McNair Scholars Program provides funding for McNair students to attend meetings with their mentors.

Faculty may also wish to check with their dean’s office to inquire about additional funding opportunities.

My student has published a paper or is making a presentation at a professional meeting. I want to make sure he gets recognition on campus. What can I do?

Contact the Office of Undergraduate Research. The office will make sure that the student completes a Hometown Connections form so that the MU News Bureau can send something to their local newspaper. Other Mizzou offices and staff members who can use this information will also be notified.

I want to write in funds for undergraduate research in my next grant proposal. Can I get some assistance with budget figures and text?

Yes. Contact Linda Blockus, PhD, (BlockusL@missouri.edu) in the Office of Undergraduate Research. She can provide paragraphs you can paste into your proposal and give you suggestions on budgeting to support undergraduate researchers. As appropriate, she can offer suggestions for incorporating your undergraduate researchers into existing programs so that they have a peer group and educational activities to supplement their faculty-mentored research experience.

I have a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant. How can I get an undergraduate supplement?

Contact Linda Blockus, PhD, (BlockusL@missouri.edu) in the Office of Undergraduate Research. She can provide you with the NSF Web site that provides details on NSF undergraduate supplements and help you drafting a request. You also are encouraged to contact your program director. Undergraduate supplements requests are reviewed as they are received. There is no specific deadline.

I have a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. How can I get an undergraduate supplement?

NIH provides supplements for minority undergraduates and undergraduates with disabilities. Contact Linda Blockus, PhD, (BlockusL@missouri.edu) in the Office of Undergraduate Research. She can provide you with the NIH Web site that provides details on NIH undergraduate supplements and help you drafting a request. You are also encouraged to contact your program director. It takes eight to 10 weeks for undergraduate supplements to be reviewed. There is no specific deadline.

What is CUR?

CUR stands for the Council on Undergraduate Research and is a professional organization/network that aims to support and promote high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship. CUR provides publications, sponsors conferences and workshops, and provides leadership related to involving undergraduates and faculty in shared research experiences. For more information, visit the CUR website. CUR actively seeks individual memberships from faculty and administrators interested in the benefits of undergraduate research.

I am interested in mentoring non-MU students in the summer. What programs are available?

The Office of Undergraduate Research coordinates a number of programs during the summer that are open to non-MU students. Contact Linda Blockus, PhD, (BlockusL@missouri.edu) for more information.