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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

Student Educational Employment Program

  • An intermittent schedule is appropriate only when the nature of the work is so sporadic and unpredictable that a regularly scheduled tour of duty cannot be scheduled in advance. In establishing the Student Educational Employment Program, OPM did not intend to have STEP or SCEP students working on intermittent schedules. Students may work full- or part-time schedules, however, as best meets their needs and the needs of the agency
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  • Upon satisfactory completion of course requirements.
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  • Health and life insurance coverage for Federal employees depends on the type of appointment an employee has and the expectation of substantial employment during the year. Students in the Student Temporary Employment Program are considered temporary employees and are generally not entitled to these benefits. However, once students have been continuously employed for a year without a break in service exceeding 5 days, they may enroll in the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, but they would have to pay 100 percent of the premium (i.e., both the employee and government share). There is no provision for temporary employees to be eligible for life insurance coverage. Students in the Student Career Experience Program are eligible for both health and life insurance coverage as long as they are expected to be employed under this appointment authority for at least one year and are expected to be in a pay status for at least one-third of the total period of time from the date of their initial appointment to the date of the completion of the program. Cost of premiums is split between the employee and the agency, as for all permanent employees. (See 5 CFR § 870.202 for life insurance and 5 CFR § 890.102 for health benefits.)
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  • Agencies may wish to modify their performance plans to allow student evaluations after a minimum of 320 hours in order to take advantage of this new flexibility. If the student meets the criteria for exceptional job performance and outstanding academic achievement, the program allows an agency to evaluate a SCEP student after 320 hours.
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  • Students in the Student Career Experience Program are eligible for within-grade increases. For students in the Student Temporary Employment Program, eligibility for within-grade increases depends on the pay system of the occupation. Temporary WG employees are eligible for within-grade increases; temporary GS employees are not eligible for within-grade increases.
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  • There is no overarching requirement that applicants applying for positions in the excepted service be U.S. citizens. However, the student must have been lawfully admitted to the United States as a permanent resident or otherwise authorized to be employed. Note, some agencies are precluded from hiring non-citizens by a ban in their appropriations act. Agencies should check with their financial officer or general counsel's office when considering a student who is a non-citizen. Students who participate in the Student Career Experience Program may not be converted to career conditional employment in the competitive service unless they are citizens at the time of conversion.
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  • Students appointed to the Student Career Experience Program who have met all requirements of the program and have satisfactorily completed the requirements of their diplomas may continue on the appointment for 120 days beyond the date of completing their work and academic requirements. This 120 day period is permitted by Executive Order 12015. At the end of the 120-days, if the graduate has not been converted to a position in the competitive service, he/she must be separated. Once a student appointed to the Student Temporary Employment Program has completed the requirements for his/her degree/diploma/certificate (as appropriate), he/she is no longer a student as defined by 5 CFR § 213.3202(a)(2), and must be separated, even if the NTE date on their current appointment has not been reached. The reason for the separation is that people in this situation are no longer "students" and therefore no longer meet the basic eligibility for the program. Executive Order 12015 does not permit these graduates to remain on a STEP appointment beyond the date of completing academic requirements. If enrolled or accepted for enrollment in an additional educational program, they may be given a new appointment.
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  • No. The required work experience must be gained prior to, or concurrent with the completion of the student's education. This requirement is stated in the Executive order.
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  • No. The requirement that noncompetitive conversions must take place within 120 days after completion of educational requirements is in Executive Order 12015 and has not been changed.
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  • No. A student is eligible to be noncompetitively converted in any Federal agency. Agency student employment coordinators are urged to try and place the graduates with other agencies, if placement in their own agency is not possible. Checking the job listings on the USAJOBS is one way to locate appropriate positions for graduated students.
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