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Frequently Asked Questions Employment

Performance/Adverse Actions/Reduction-in-Force (RIF)

  • If the student (STEP or SCEP) has not completed his/her education requirements, students are covered by OPM's reduction in force regulations and are placed in excepted service, tenure group 2. If, however, a student in the Student Career Experience Program has completed his/her education requirements, and is within the 120- day conversion period for optional conversion, he or she has no vested right to remain employed and has no mandatory right to be non-competitively converted to a competitive service position. Therefore, the agency may terminate the student without regard to reduction in force regulations.
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  • OPM encourages agencies to establish performance plans and conduct performance evaluations for student employees to: (1) document what the student is expected to do, and (2) advise the student on how well he/she is performing. Student Temporary Employment participants, who are on appointments not-to-exceed (NTE) one year, could be excluded by their employing agency from the requirements for performance appraisal if certain requirements are met and the student agrees to not having his/her performance appraised. (See 5 CFR § 430.202.) Participants in the Student Career Experience Program, who are eligible for noncompetitive conversion to career conditional status, do not fall under any of the exclusions specified in the OPM regulations and, therefore, are required to have written performance plans and be appraised on their performance as specified in the agency's performance appraisal system. Performance appraisals can be used as documentation to support both positive and negative consequences of the student's performance. Further documentation for the Student Career Experience Program students may be included in the written agreement signed by all parties (student/school official/agency) prior to the initial appointment.
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