Federal Work Study (FWS) Program

Federal Work-Study could be an excellent choice for you if you're seeking for another approach to assist with college costs. Through part-time jobs on campus, students can use work-study to help pay for their education. Students have the chance to get useful work experience through the program while earning a college degree.

What is a Federal Work Study Program ?

The Federal Work-Study program, sometimes known as the FWS, was created to assist college students in finding part-time work and help pay for education costs. The FWS is managed by the US Department of Education and represents one form of financial aid that the government makes available to students who need help with college expenses. 

Despite the program's reliance on federal funds, member schools have a significant impact on how much money is given to students and how work-study programs are managed. Currently, the work-study program is used in some capacity by about 3,400 colleges, universities, and professional schools.

For undergraduate and graduate students in need of financial assistance, the federal work-study (FWS) program offers part-time jobs that enable them to make money to cover educational costs. Work study job program encourages work related to the student’s course of study and community service work. Work-study earnings may be credited to school accounts to pay for tuition and other expenses, or they may be sent directly to the student in the form of a check or direct deposit. 

But not all educational institutions take part in the federal work-study program. Schools who do take part are only able to give out a certain amount of money to qualified students. Because some schools give out work-study money based on the order in which applications are received, it is crucial for students to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form as soon as feasible.

Key Facts of Work Study Job

  • Students can earn money through federal work-study program to help pay for college or career school.
  • Students taking undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses at participating schools are eligible for work-study, as are part-time and full-time students.
  • Work-study jobs are available to students who have financial need.
  • The federal work study program offers work-study jobs to graduate and undergraduate students as a component of their financial aid package.
  • The funds may be transferred straight to students' bank accounts or outstanding tuition.
  • The Free Application for Federal Student Aid must be submitted in order to apply for the work study program.

How Does Federal Work-Study Work ?

The federal work study program is a federally funded financial aid program that supports access to worthwhile work experiences in order to help students cover the expense of higher education. FWS provides funds to low-income students that they never have to pay back. In this program, which is offered by around 3,400 institutions, low-income undergraduate and graduate students are hired for part-time jobs that may be performed on or off campus.

Work-study involves working at actual jobs and earning money to help pay for college costs rather than being paid to study. Your financial aid package includes a list of your predicted earnings. Work-study students typically have flexible hours that don't interfere with their class schedules. Students are only permitted to work a certain number of hours per week in order to provide themselves enough time for schoolwork and other obligations.

The sorts of institutions that take part in the federal student aid program include career schools, community and junior colleges, and four-year colleges and universities (technical and vocational schools). But not all institutions take part in the government student aid programs. To learn whether your institution or career school participates, contact the financial assistance office. Provided so, and if you meet program requirements, the federal government will cover all or a portion of the money you make at a work-study position.

Example of Work Study Job

A student's financial aid package may include money for work-study. Then, qualifying students can submit an application for work-study positions on and possibly off campus. Through the college's student employment portal, the financial aid office, or directly with a campus department, the student looks over available positions and submits an application for work-study jobs. Jobs are routinely available in the academic departments, campus offices, administration, and cafeteria services.

A student with little experience who wants to work flexible hours might wish to start with a position in dining services. The student will interview with dining services after submitting an employment application, and if hired, they will be offered a work schedule in food services or the dining hall that doesn't clash with their class schedule.

Who is Eligible for Federal Work-Study ?

Numerous individuals pursuing various educational programs have access to work-study opportunities. In the end, it is up to the schools to choose which of their students will receive work-study awards and how much they can make. Financial need is used to determine eligibility for the federal work-study program, and this need is assessed using data from the FAFSA.

You must fulfil these fundamental eligibility criteria in order to be considered for work-study :
  • You must be a current undergraduate, graduate, or professional student (students enrolled in vocational programs eligible as professional students).
  • You must be enrolled full-time or part-time in a program leading to a degree.
  • You must be currently enrolled in a school that participates in the federal work study (FWS) program.
  • You must be able to prove that you require financial assistance in order to cover your college expenditures and other related expenses.
Students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to prove their financial need. Early applicants have the best chance because most institutions give financial help on a first-come, first-served basis.

Types of Work-Study Jobs

There are numerous work-study jobs on campus. Depending on the school you're attending, different work-study opportunities may be offered, although administrative, research, and library roles are frequently available. Work-study students support institutions in a variety of ways. You might be able to apply for jobs, off-campus as well.

Here are a few of the most popular and/or desired work-study positions that students have on their different campuses. Although by no means comprehensive, this list should give you a decent idea of the options out there :
  • Tutor
  • Resident or Community Assistants
  • Campus Ambassador
  • Teaching Assistant
  • Research Assistant
  • Administrative Roles
  • Library Attendant
  • Admissions and Student Life Roles

How to Apply for Federal Work-Study ?

You will be submitting an application for the program through the federal government rather than through your college or professional school, in contrast to other employment on campus that are not work-study jobs. You cannot apply for work-study separately, because it is a component of the student aid program. It is based on need and is a part of the federal application procedure for financial help.

To find out if you are qualified for a work-study job, you must submit an official application for federal student aid. To apply for federal financial help for graduate school, technical school, or college, utilize the Free Application for Federal Student Aid form. This comprehensive form helps schools understand your financial situation. You must send it to the schools you are applying to once you have finished it (or the one you currently attend).

When you receive the award package from the institution you're attending, you'll be informed about financial help. You can apply for positions through your school, often through the student employment office, once you confirm that work-study is a component of your financial assistance package.

Remember, this program doesn’t guarantee that you will get a job. Instead, if you are hired, it aids in funding your employment. You are free to decline the award, if you apply for work-study but later decide you are no longer interested.

Note :
You can obtain an idea of how much aid you'll be eligible for and whether work-study will be included by understanding how student aid is calculated. You can estimate something using the Federal Student Aid Estimator.

How Much Does Work-Study Jobs Pay ?

The amount of a student's work-study award will be disclosed in their federal student aid determination, and this is how much they will be able to make through the program each academic year. You will make at least the current federal minimum wage. 

However, depending on the kind of work you do and the qualifications needed for the position, you might make more money. You can only be paid as little as the federal minimum wage for work-study jobs. If your state has a higher minimum wage, you will be paid at least that rate.

Your overall work-study award is determined by :
  • When you apply.
  • Your school’s funding level.
  • Your level of financial need.

How Does Work-Study Job Pay ?

How you are paid depends partly on whether you’re an graduate or undergraduate student :
  • Undergraduate students are compensated on an hourly basis.
  • Graduate and professional students may be paid hourly or by salary, depending on the work they do.
  • You must be paid by your school at least once per month.
  • Unless you prefer that the school transmit your payments to your bank account or use the funds to cover your education-related expenses, your school must pay you directly (e.g., tuition, fees, food, and housing).

Benefits of Federal Work Study Program

  • You work to pay for things so you can keep your spending in check.
  • You increase the number of people in your network and gather references, both of which you might use to apply for jobs in the future.
  • You develop new skills and work experience, which increases your marketability when you apply for internships and positions after graduation.
  • Because of your FWS status, you have an advantage over other job candidates in the competitive employment market.
  • Applying for summer work-study that can be used on- or off-campus with pre-approved businesses is possible. Since most American institutions do not provide summer FWS, having summer FWS eligibility is quite useful.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of jobs are available through FWS program?
The Federal Work-Study Program places a strong emphasis on employment in civic education and work that is whenever possible relevant to your field of study. Consult the employment listings on your school's website or discuss your choices with career services.

Are students guaranteed a work study job?
Work-study employment are not always available. Whether you can get a work-study job depends on your financial need, whether you used work-study money last year, and how much money your school has set aside for work-study positions. Because financing is scarce, it's critical to apply as soon as you can for open positions.

Are jobs, off campus or on campus?
Both, Typically, if you work on campus, your employer is your school. If you have an off-campus job, it is likely that you will work for a public or private nonprofit organization, and the work you do must serve the public good. Some colleges may have contracts for work-study positions with private, for-profit businesses. These positions must be associated with your field of study. The kinds of jobs you can be given may be further constrained if you attend a proprietary institution.

How much the work study jobs pay?
Students working in work-study positions are not permitted to be paid less than the federal minimum wage, which at the time of this writing is $7.25, per hour, per Department of Education standards. Work-study pay must also comply with municipal or state legislation that specify a higher minimum wage where applicable. While all students receive hourly pay, some graduate-level work-study jobs may pay a salary.

Can I put in as much time as I want working?
No, your total Federal Work-Study award cannot be exceeded by the amount you earn. Your employer or the financial aid office at your school will take into account your class schedule and academic progress when determining your work hours.

How can I know, if I qualify for work-study job?
You must first submit an FAFSA application to find out if you are eligible for work-study. If you are qualified for work-study, you will learn after your application has been processed.

How can I find work-study jobs?
After your particular college approves you for work-study, you should have access to a page displaying open positions that qualify. Look at the job description on the school's on-campus job listing website to determine if the position is a good fit for you.

How many hours are required for a work-study job?
Students who work work-study positions are often not required to work more than 20 hours per week.

How do I get a work-study job?
Consult your university's job listing page and start applying for work-study positions that catch your attention once you've applied and been approved for the program.