Student Services Contracting Authority - Frequent Questions
- Who is qualified to apply for a Student Services Contract / Position?
- What is the duration of a Student Services Contract / length of employment?
- Can the Government extend the term of the contract?
- Where are Student Services Contracts available?
- What action is taken if I do not comply with the terms and conditions of the contract?
- Do I get paid?
- How do I get paid?
- Will I receive Sick and Annual leave or Holiday pay?
- Will I be required to work full-time?
- Can I receive overtime pay?
- Will I be issued a Government travel card?
- How do I apply for a Student Services Contract?
- How do I register with Central Contractor Registration and Dunn and Bradstreet?
- Am I subject to a background check and suitability determination?
Who is qualified to apply for a Student Services Contract / Position? Students (individuals at least 18 years old and enrolled in a degree program at a recognized educational institution) or Recent Graduates (individuals at least 18 years old who graduated with a degree from a college or university within the last 24 months) qualify.
What is the duration of a Student Services Contract / length of employment? Contracts are written for up to five years of total service, including options. Any period of performance, base or option period, may not exceed two years. However, there is no requirement to exercise an option.
Can the Government extend the term of the contract? The Government may extend the term of the contract providing the Contracting Officer and you agree. If the term is extended, the hourly rate shown will be adjusted to the applicable calendar year rate. The Government is under no obligation to exercise an option.
Where are Student Services Contracts available? Contract availability is determined by the needs of the respective research and development laboratories and offices within the Office of Research and Development. Past positions have been offered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Gulf Breeze, Florida, Research Triangle Park, N.C. and Washington, D.C. For current openings, see Job Opportunities for Students and Recent Graduates - Current Openings.
What action is taken if I do not comply with the terms and conditions of the contract? The Government may terminate this order for default in the event you fail to comply with any contract terms and conditions, including those listed in Student Acknowledgment of Special Terms, repeatedly fail to report on scheduled workdays, or otherwise fail to perform services required under this contract. False statements on the resume or Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions, (SF-85) are grounds for termination. If the contract is terminated for default, you will be paid only for hours worked to the point of termination.
- EPA Mentors (Federal Employees) may work side-by-side with you providing professional advice and technical skills.
- You may be paid to attend seminars, staff and team meetings, and training sessions if their mentor confirms that attendance directly supports completion of the work and pre-approves it. In this case, your travel (in support of the government) is authorized, arranged and paid the same as federal employees.
- You must participate in health and safety training and workplace safety and injury prevention programs, including workers’ compensation, at the Government’s expense. The Government provides supplies, equipment, facilities, etc., to enable you to perform your work.
- You may drive government vehicles. Accident liability is covered under the Tort Claims Act.
Do I get paid? Students are compensated via a pre-determined hourly wage rate based upon academic coursework, training and region. If a contract is written directly with a student, the student is responsible for reporting income to the appropriate authorities and paying all self-employment and social security/Medicare taxes. If the contract is written through a university, the student will be subject to the universities employment guidelines or policies.
How do I get paid? You are required to submit invoices for review to your assigned mentor. The mentor will then submit the invoice to the Project Office for approval. The invoice must include the following information:
- student name
- invoice date
- purchase order number
- dates covered by the invoice
- daily record of hours worked
- total number of hours worked during the billing period
EPA usually makes payments within 2 weeks after receipt of a proper invoice, but is not obligated to make payment before the 30th day. If you submit timely, complete invoices and do not receive payment within the 30 days, you are entitled to interest payments.
You will be paid only for the number of hours actually worked. You do not accrue leave or holiday benefits. EPA will not pay for any non-work hours, regardless of the reason the agency/building is closed. This includes scheduled holidays, unscheduled holidays, or any other unscheduled closure (e.g., inclement weather, furloughs, security). When the decision to close the building is made by the Government after you have reported to work, you will be paid only for the hours worked before closure.
Will I be required to work full-time? Full-time/part-time work status is determined by employer and will be outlined in the contract. Generally, Student Services Contracts are extremely flexible and designed to meet both student and employer schedules and EPA’s research needs.
Can I receive overtime pay? Students performing under a student services contract are considered self-employed contractors and are therefore exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and Service Contract Act. You will be paid the basic hourly rate specified in the contract for any hours worked beyond the 40-hour week, with no overtime premium.
Will I be issued a Government travel card? If overnight travel is required for performance under the contractor, you will travel under rules and procedures established for federal employee travel. If your mentor issues you a U.S. Government charge card for travel expenses, you are responsible to the bank for timely payment of each monthly statement in full. If you allow the charge card to become 60 days delinquent, you will not be allowed to work until the account is settled. Failure to resolve the debt is grounds for termination. Unauthorized cash withdrawals or other misuse of the card for personal gain are grounds for termination and may result in criminal prosecutions.
How do I apply for a Student Services Contract? Available contracts are listed at Job Opportunities for Students and Recent Graduates - Current Openings. To apply for a contract, follow the directions specified in an announcement. Note that 2e do not accept unsolicited applications or job inquiries for positions not posted on this or other valid relevant EPA (ORD) websites. You will also need to register will Central Contractor Registration and Dunn and Bradstreet (see "How do I register with Central Contractor Registration and Dunn and Bradstreet?" for more information) and undergo a background check (see "Am I subject to a background check and suitability determination?" for more information).
How do I register with Central Contractor Registration and Dunn and Bradstreet? You must register with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) and Dunn and Bradstreet (DUNS). Failure to register may adversely affect you being paid. You are required to provide certain business information, including Taxpayer Identification Number (which may be either a Social Security Number or Employee Identification Number) and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) information into a common Government-wide data source. The Government will use this common Government wide data source to more efficiently meet the requirements of the Debt Collection Improvement Act of 1996. Registration for CCR can be done at www.ccr.gov; registration for DUNS can be done at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. There is no charge to register for CCR or DUNS.
Am I subject to a background check and suitability determination? Students who perform under contract for EPA are required to undergo a background check, a check of FBI fingerprint files, and a suitability determination by the Environmental Protection Agency. Upon award, EPA will provide you with a Standard Form 85 (SF-85) “Questionnaire for Non-Sensitive Positions” and SF-87 “Fingerprint Charts” with instructions on completing the forms and where they are to be submitted. You must return the completed forms at least 14 business days prior to reporting to work. If a background check reveals information that you represent a risk to the interests of EPA, the contract may be terminated.