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Pay and Tax FAQs

Pay and paycheck questions

Where is my paycheck?

All employees and students with access to myHR can view their paycheck information by logging into myHR.  If you have a paper check or advice sent to you, it may be sent to your primary department (faculty, staff, and graduate students) or your local home address (temporary and terminated employees)

If you are missing paperwork or I-9 Section 2, your check may be held for pickup at the payroll office on your campus. The most common reasons for checks to be held are a missing I-9 (proof of eligibility to work in US), missing I-9 and nonresident paperwork, and missing work-study authorization form (required for work-study students).

How do I get a replacement for a lost paycheck?

If you haven't received a paycheck, call the Payroll Office to request a replacement. Replacement checks typically take two to four days to stop the original payment and re-issue a new check.

I just started at Northwestern. What forms does payroll need from me?

You must complete a Personal Data Form and have a valid I-9 Section 2 within three days of being hired to receive your first paycheck on time.  It is also recommended that you complete the federal and state W-4 tax forms.

When do I get paid?

All faculty, exempt (salaried) staff, and graduate students are paid on the last work day of every month. All biweekly (hourly) staff and temporary employees are paid every two weeks, typically on the Friday. 

How do I change my direct deposit accounts?

You may change your direct deposit account(s) at any time by submitting a Direct Deposit Form  to the Payroll Office.  Please allow at least one week for your changes to be processed.

How do I tell payroll that my address has changed?

Please update your address in the "My Personal Information" section of the myHR if you are an active employee. If you are no longer active and have left the University, please use a Personal Data Form.

How do I get payroll to change my name?

Complete a Personal Data Form and attach a copy of your new Social Security Card. Your name in payroll must match your Social Security Card.

What does the “PDF File” box mean in my online paycheck?

All paychecks since December 2010 are available for download as PDFs. Clicking on these paychecks will automatically open the PDF file (you may have to turn off your pop-up blocker to see it). Paychecks prior to December 2010 will open within Self Service and are not available as PDFs. For more information regarding the viewing of a PDF paycheck, see the overview guide.

How far back in my service with the University can I see my paychecks?

All checks received since 1997 will be displayed in myHR. To view all your historical paychecks, use the arrow button in the “Select Paycheck” box.

Does the online paycheck view take the place of my paper checks and check advices?

By default, Northwestern no longer prints paper paychecks or check advices. You may, however, opt to receive paper advices by contacting the Payroll Office on your campus.

What does it mean if I see a negative sign in front of an amount on my check?

A negative sign in front of an amount signifies a reversal of either your earnings, benefit or tax data. For specific questions, please contact the benefits or payroll office.

Tax questions

My tax exemptions are incorrect and/or my tax withholding needs to be changed. What do I need to do?

To change your tax exemptions or take additional taxes out, you must complete and submit a new Federal and/or State Form W-4. The forms are available online and can be updated and sent to Payroll at any time of the year.

I can't find my W-2 or 1042-S. How do I get another copy?

Call the payroll office at 847-491-7362 (Evanston campus) or 312-503-9700 (Chicago campus) or email us at payroll@northwestern.edu.

I am a graduate student receiving a stipend from a scholarship/fellowship payment. How do I get federal and state tax withheld?

If you are receiving a stipend from a scholarship/fellowship payment, these wages are not reported on form W2 and are not used to calculate federal and state taxes to be withheld despite their taxability. You need to complete a federal and state W2 listing exactly how much tax you want to be withheld in the additional withholding field. More details and the tax forms are on our tax information page. If your position changes to a graduate assistant, change your W4s back to zero additional withholding.

I am a graduate student. How do I get my Social Security and Medicare (FICA) tax refunded due to my late school enrollment?

To receive a refund of Social Security and Medicare tax taken from your monthly check due to late enrollment, you must send the payroll office a copy of both your check stub showing the tax was withheld and a copy of your schedule or other proof of full-time student status. Your tax will be refunded in a separate payment within 30 days sent to your department.

Benefit questions

Can I see my FSA (Flexible Spending Account) reimbursement check?

No, the FSA benefit plan is administered by a third party, PayFlex. If you are enrolled in the FSA plan, you can see details about your claims by logging into the PayFlex website.

Can I see my vacation and sick accrual balance?

At this point, vacation and sick balances are not included in the online paycheck view; balances can be seen by logging in the Kronos time system.

If I sign up for pretax transit, when do I need to submit the form and when do I get my CTA Chicago Card Plus or RTA transit check?

All forms should be submitted by the 5th of the month. Faculty and staff who submit applications for RTA transit checks (for Metra) that are received by the 5th of the month will have a deduction that month and will receive the transit check by the end of that month. Faculty and staff who submit applications for CTA Chicago Card Plus by the 5th of the month will have their first deduction in the following month receiving their Chicago Card Plus by the end of that month with the deduction value loaded by the end of that month.