Guaranteed Summer Funding FAQs
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Why do I need to fill out the 2018-2019 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?
Each year, a substantial portion of the funding for the GSF Program is provided through the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program. Completing the FAFSA is a Columbia Law School requirement which allows the Financial Aid Office to determine your eligibility for FWS. The Law School requires all student interns who are U.S. citizens or eligible non-residents to file a 2018-2019 FAFSA with the federal government. Once processed, the Financial Aid Office will receive your FAFSA data electronically.
Do I need to fill out the 2018-2019 FAFSA even if I don’t have any loans?
Yes. You may be eligible for work-study funding even if you do not borrow loans. Most Columbia Law School students who participate in GSF receive federal work-study funds as part/all of their summer stipend.
If I am not a U.S. citizen or an eligible non-resident, do I still need to file a FAFSA?
No. Students who are not U.S. citizens or eligible non-residents do not need to fill out the FAFSA.
Will participating in GSF impact my financial aid package and loans for next year?
Possibly, if your GSF is being paid through Federal Work-Study (FWS). Because Federal regulations require that summer FWS funds be included as part of a student’s academic year resources, your summer 2018 FWS allocation will be reflected in your award package for the 2018-19 academic year. As such, any summer FWS earnings will reduce your eligibility for educational student loans by the same amount. However, summer FWS awards will typically only impact students who plan to borrow the maximum educational loans for the academic year. In the event that a borrower’s eligibility for student loans is affected by GSF, the Financial Aid Office will work with each student individually to review their particular situation. In certain cases, students may be able to adjust their academic year budget to allow for additional borrowing to offset the FWS earnings (see below for LRAP considerations). If you are concerned about the impact of FWS on your 2018-19 loan borrowing, please contact the Financial Aid Office. The Financial Aid staff will be happy to review your situation and counsel you accordingly.
If my financial aid situation is reviewed and federal regulations allow the Financial Aid Office staff to adjust my academic year budget for additional borrowing to offset part/all of the FWS earnings, will this budget adjustment/offset impact the educational loans covered by LRAP?
No. A budget adjustment approved by the Financial Aid Office to strictly offset a student’s FWS earnings for the GSF Program will not impact the Law School policy regarding eligible educational loan debt covered by LRAP.
Can I receive an advance for housing/travel needs?
No, but if you are concerned with your summer financial situation, we encourage you to speak with the Financial Aid Office staff BEFORE the end of the spring term.
Columbia Law School funds first- and second-year J.D. students who meet the requirements of the GSF program to work full-time public service internships over the summer. Students must adhere to all of the deadlines and meet the requirements of the GSF program in order to receive funding. GSF recipients must work full-time (35 hours per week) over the summer. 1Ls receive funding for eight weeks of work and 2Ls for ten weeks of work.
Is there a minimum requirement of weeks I must work in order to receive GSF?
Yes, 1L GSF recipients must work full-time for eight weeks to receive the full $4,500 (before taxes), and 2L GSF recipients must work full-time for ten weeks to receive the full $6,000 (before taxes). Students who do not work the entire eight or ten weeks will only receive a prorated share of the funding based on the number of weeks worked.
Why do I have to take a break?
As a GSF recipient, you will be an hourly employee of Columbia University. A regular workday generally is 9am-5pm with an hour break for lunch. Your break doesn’t necessarily need to be taken when you eat lunch, but a break needs to be taken for an hour.
Will I be paid for hours spent at office social and networking events?
No, if you are not working the event, hours spent at social and networking events should not be recorded on time sheets. Students are encouraged to take full advantage of all opportunities provided by their summer employer. Note, however, that students will receive compensation only for hours worked.
Will I be compensated for extra hours I spend at my summer placement if I work more than 35 hours per week?
When you receive each work assignment, you should confirm with your supervisor the time expectation to complete the assignment. In the event that you are expected work in excess of the 35 hour per week requirement, your supervisor must seek prior approval for overtime compensation. Provided that happens, you will be paid for actual time worked. Please note that there may be a delay in receiving the overtime compensation.
How do I request overtime hours?
Your supervisor must email the Law School’s human resources department (HR) at [email protected] as soon as it is clear that the work assignment will require more than 35 hours of work that week. The supervisor will be asked to provide the information necessary to justify the additional hours.
Who approves my requested overtime hours?
Your supervisor will receive a response from HR approving or denying overtime requests.
If I work more than 35 hours per week, can I count those excess hours toward my Columbia pro bono requirement?
No. Students that work in excess of 35 hours per week will not receive pro bono credit for the extra time worked. Columbia pro bono credit accrues only for service in a week that you are not paid. You can receive pro bono credit for time worked beyond the required eight or ten week periods. Please see the “Other Important Considerations” section for more information.
How will I receive my funding?
All GSF recipients are hourly employees of Columbia University. You will receive payment on a biweekly basis for hours worked
In order to receive your paycheck, you must submit a timesheet, approved by your supervisor, via Nextgen by the due date for each period. Your paycheck may be delayed if an incomplete or incorrect timesheet is submitted.
Direct Deposit of Paychecks
Columbia University offers the convenience of having paychecks directly deposited into an employee's bank account. You can sign up for direct deposit safely and securely through the myColumbia website after receiving your first check.
How will I be submitting my time sheets?
Timesheets must be completed online via Nextgen.
How will I submit overtime hours?
If your overtime hours have been approved by Law School HR, record any hours worked above 35 hours each week and submit the timesheet as you would regularly via Nextgen.
Who approves my timesheets?
Your supervisor must approve your timesheets online.
When should I expect to receive my first payment?
Refer to the payment schedule provided by HR to map out when you will receive your first payment. If your timesheets are submitted on time, you should be paid biweekly after your first paycheck is received.
Will taxes be deducted from my paycheck?
Yes, your funding through GSF is treated as taxable earnings and reported to the IRS by the university.
As a 1L, I thought I would receive $4,500 for my eight week internship, so why was I paid less than that amount? As a 2L, I thought I would receive $6,000 for my ten week internship, so why was I paid less than that amount?
As an hourly Columbia employee, you are paid for actual hours worked. In order for a 1L to receive $5,600, s/he must work 35 hours a week for eight weeks; a 2L must work 35 hours a week for ten weeks in order to receive $7,000. You will be paid less if you work less than 35 hours a week due to sickness, office closings, or holidays. Students should speak with their supervisors to schedule time to make up lost days. Also, as mentioned above, your summer earnings will be taxed.
What do I do if I have trouble completing the timesheet or I believe my paycheck is incorrect?
You should contact HR at [email protected].
How can I make sure I receive funding in a timely fashion?
Enroll in the university’s payroll direct deposit. [NOTE: This is a different direct deposit process than the university’s student account direct deposit system.]
How do I enroll in payroll direct deposit?
You will receive instructions from Law School HR by email about how to enroll in payroll direct deposit.
What happens if I do not enroll in the payroll direct deposit?
You will only receive one pay check by mail. All other checks will be held in the Law School HR office until you are able to physically pick them up.
Is there an online system where I can view my paycheck?
Yes, you can view your paystub by logging in with your uni at www.my.columbia.edu. Click on the “Faculty and Staff” tab to find a link to “View My Paycheck.”
Other Important Considerations
When is the Early Interview Program (EIP)? Will that affect my GSF if I choose to participate?
Students planning to participate in EIP should plan their internships accordingly, completing their GSF requirement (eight weeks of work for 1Ls and ten weeks of work for 2Ls) prior to EIP in early August or making arrangements with their placement supervisor to complete their internship work after EIP. Be sure to contact your Office of Career Services and Professional Development counselor for all questions regarding EIP.
What if I plan to apply for Law Review?
Students should arrange their summer so that they are able to complete at least eight weeks in a placement organization before returning to school in mid- to late July for Law Review Orientation.
Will my work at an organization this summer count for the New York State Pro Bono Requirement?
Your GSF-funded work will fulfill the "50-hour rule" pro bono requirement provided that it otherwise qualifies under the New York State rule. The rule requires completion of 50 hours of qualifying pro bono work prior to filing for bar admission. For many of you, the work you do during your GSF-funded summer will qualify for the New York 50-hour rule (but not for the Columbia Law School requirement). You must also complete a Form Affidavit of Compliance that describes your work and is signed by your supervising attorney (details below). You can find more detailed information about the New York State Pro Bono Requirement on the SJI website. If you have any questions about whether your work is likely to qualify under the New York rule, contact Laren Spirer, Director of Pro Bono Programs, at [email protected]. Also be sure to read the full New York rule and FAQs on the Court's website.
Do I need to collect any paperwork from my employer during the summer to get credit for the New York State pro bono requirement?
As soon as you have completed your placement, you should complete a Form Affidavit of Compliance, which includes a signature from your supervising attorney (who must be admitted in the jurisdiction in which the work is being carried out). You must keep this original form in your files until you submit it along with your New York State Bar paperwork. You should scan a copy in case you misplace the original, but note that originals are required for your Bar application.
If I stay longer at my GSF placement and am not paid, do I need to collect any paperwork from my employer to get pro bono credit for the Columbia Law School requirement?
Yes, you must complete an Exit Questionnaire and have your supervisor complete a Supervisor's Report, but ONLY record the hours beyond the weeks you were funded through GSF. The Exit Questionnaire and Supervisor’s Report are on LawNet. Under the Social Justice Initiatives section of “My Services," click on "Pro Bono Status". Click on "Fill out Exit Questionnaire" to complete the Exit Questionnaire electronically. Once you have successfully completed your Exit Questionnaire, you will receive a prompt to send a Supervisor’s Report to your supervisor for completion. You may also request a Supervisor’s Report by clicking on the “Action” button next to the relevant placement on your Pro Bono Status page and selecting “Request Supervisor’s Report.” Once your supervisor completes the Supervisor’s Report, SJI will approve your hours and your profile will automatically be updated on LawNet. Important note: Pro bono hours will not be credited until both mandatory forms (Exit Questionnaire and Supervisor’s Report) have been submitted and approved by SJI. Both the Exit Questionnaire and Supervisor’s Report must be submitted within 30 days of project completion, whether for mandatory or voluntary credit.