Federal Work-Study Programs


What is the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program?

Under the FWS Program, you can work part-time to earn money for your education. To qualify for the program, you will need to complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) at www.fafsa.ed.gov.


The FWS Program:


  • Provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school.
  • Helps pay your educational expenses.
  • Is available to undergraduate and graduate students.
  • Is available to full-time or part-time students.
  • Is administered by schools participating in the FWS Program.
  • Encourages community service work and work related to your course of study, whenever possible.


What kinds of jobs are there?

The FWS Program provides jobs for students demonstrating financial need. The program encourages community service work and work related to your course of study.


Are Federal Work-Study jobs on campus or off campus?

Both. If you work on campus, you will usually work for your school. If you work off campus, your employer will usually be a private nonprofit organization or a public agency, and the work performed must be in the public interest.


Some schools might have agreements with private for-profit employers for FWS jobs. These jobs must be relevant to your course of study (to the maximum extent possible). If you attend a proprietary school (e.g., a for-profit institution), there may be further restrictions on the types of jobs you can be assigned.


How much can I earn?

You will earn at least the current federal minimum wage. However, the amount might be higher depending on the type of work you do and the skills required for the position.


Your total FWS award depends on:

When you apply, your level of financial need, and your school's funding level. (We provide a certain amount of work-study funds; when all funds have been awarded, no additional work-study awards can be made for that year.)


How will I be paid?

  • Undergraduate student -- by the hour.
  • Graduate student -- by the hour or by salary, depending on the work you do.
  • Your school must pay you at least once a month.


Your school must pay you directly unless you request that the school: send your payments directly to your bank account, or use the money to pay for your education-related institutional charges such as tuition, fees and room and board.


Can I work as many hours as I want?

No. The amount you earn can not exceed your total FWS award. When assigning work hours, your employer or financial aid administrator will consider your class schedule and your academic progress.


To learn more and apply, complete your FAFSA form at www.fafsa.ed.gov