Applying for REAL

To qualify for REAL, students need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) before December 31 (preferred deadline) to strengthen your chances for being awarded. Awards are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, so the earlier you submit your FAFSA, the better.

Students will be notified of their award status when their financial aid is packaged in mid/late spring—should a student receive REAL, then the award will show up under their financial aid in OPUS.

Eligibility is based on:

  • Availability of funds
  • Date the FAFSA form was submitted
  • Student qualifications
  • Date of admission
  • U.S. Citizen or Permanent Resident status
  • Full-time enrollment as a degree-seeking student
  • Satisfactory progress as defined by Rollins

Students who would like be considered for the REAL award in their second year at Rollins will need to submit the FAFSA again starting in the January of their first year at Rollins.

Please Note: Many students have chosen to use their REAL position to fulfill part or all of their practicum requirements. Students will need to check in with their associate/assistant director of academic programs (ADAP) to discuss practicum requirements.

International Students

International students who are eligible to work may apply for a REAL award after classes begin in their first semester. Should the student receive the award, then it will be for the second semester of their first year of the program. 

To be considered for the REAL award during the second year at Rollins, students may apply during the spring semester before their second year at Rollins. If the student receives the award, then it will be for the fall and spring semester of their second year of the program. 

Next Steps After Being Awarded REAL

If a student intends to participate, then the student should accept their award in OPUS by August 1.

Some students participate in the fall or spring only. Declining the award for the fall semester has no impact on a student's eligibility to participate in the spring semester and vice versa. If a student wishes to decline their award, they should do so as soon as they have made this decision by declining their award in OPUS or emailing the REAL Program Manager.

HR Requirements

  1. Complete Human Resources’ Orientation Hiring Module for Students. Refer to your REAL Student Guidebook for instructions.
  2. Then, see Page 9 of this link for a list of acceptable I-9 documents. Be prepared to bring these original I-9 documents with you to Rollins to present to RSPH Human Resources.
  3. Scan/email clear copies of your I-9 documents to In the subject line of the email, put your full name and “I-9 Documents.” If you are unable to scan/email your I-9 documents beforehand, please bring clear photocopies of them with you to Rollins. If you’re unable to bring clear photocopies of them with you, then you can scan them at the RSPH Human Resources office.
  4.  Then, bring your original I-9 documents to one of the human resources tables at the REAL in-person orientation session during the week of orientation.
  5. If you are unable to bring the documents to orientation, then future dates/times will be announced or show them in-person to an RSPH HR staff member by visiting the 8th floor of the Grace Crum Rollins building.

Mandatory REAL orientation sessions are held in August.

Look and apply for jobs posted on the Rollins Opportunity Link and begin job interviews.

Learn about awards, wages, and hours

Students are allowed employment in only one position funded through REAL at a given time; furthermore, they may only use their REAL award for one position in a given semester. However, a student employee may hold both a REAL position and a non-REAL position simultaneously.

Once you accept an offer, please email the REAL program manager. Your supervisor/employer will complete and send your paperwork to the REAL program manager.

The REAL program manager will review and forward your paperwork to the Rollins School of Public Health (RSPH) Human Resources department.

RSPH Human Resources will notify the student and supervisor by email when the student is authorized to work. This email will include timekeeping information, the student’s KRONOS ID number, and the student’s authorized start date.

Students are not allowed to begin working until they have received authorization from RSPH Human Resources. This is a state and federal compliance issue. For those who secure positions at the CDC, please be patient with the hiring process—they have a separate set of instructions (internally) when hiring.

Conditions of Employment

  • Students will be considered employees of Emory University and paid on a bi-weekly basis tracked by the time and attendance system until the $2,500 per semester award is depleted.
  • For timekeeping information, please refer to chapter 5 of the REAL Student Guidebook. If a student fails to clock-in or clock-out, they should email noting the time correction or make the correction via the Timecard Adjustment System.
  • Students are responsible for maintaining records of their employment hours. They should not rely on notification that their award is close to ending. If a student overbills the award, he/she runs the risk of losing future awards. The employer will be billed (at 100%) for the extended amount.
  • Students and supervisors will be contacted by the REAL Program Manager when they are near completion of the $2,500 award each semester. The award is based on a per semester disbursement and does not transfer between semesters.
  • Students may change work assignments after one semester as long as the student discusses this with their current employer, then reports it to the REAL Program Manager, and the new employer agrees to the conditions of the REAL Program. Students may only work on one REAL position at a time.
  • Employee work arrangements with Rollins end once the $2,500 award is depleted each semester, and the employment arrangement is terminated.
  • The employer and student may continue a work arrangement beyond the $2,500 award each semester, but the student must be placed on the employer's payroll and the employer will assume 100% of the salary for additional work hours.

Student Work Plan Document


For questions regarding REAL, program organization and logistics, posting a position, and invoicing, please contact the REAL Program Manager at

For questions relating to Human Resources and the KRONOS timekeeping system, please contact Tax, W-2, and direct deposit questions can be directed to Emory Payroll: 404-727-6100.