What is a Federal Work Study Grant?
The Federal Work Study Grant or FWS for short is a federally funded grant program that provides financial aid to students in the form of paid part time work, hence the name work study. The FWS program has been operational for a long time now, close to 50 years. The Federal work study program was started by Congress in 1964 and has helped many students till date alleviate their academic monetary requirements. That said, do keep in mind that the work study program will not pay for your entire cost of education but it will certainly help pay a portion of it
The Federal Work Study Grant is quite unlike other federal grant programs such as the Pell grant and FSEOG. In other federal aid programs such as Pell Grants and Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant, students receive the entire allocated grant money which is then applied to their tuition and other educational expenses by the college financial aid office. In the FWS Grant program, students are required to work part time in a field and position that is in line or closest to their chosen degree. The financial aid office will determine the amount awarded to the student and this is done based on the financial needs of the student in question.
How is the student`s financial need gauged for the FSW Grant program?
The financial status of the student is determined by the information that is filled by the student on their FAFSA. The U.S Department of Education uses the information from the student’s FAFSA and applies a standard formula to determine the Expected Family Contribution(EFC). The formula varies if the student’s status is independent or dependent. If the student is independent then the main factors that are considered as the student’s assets and income. On the other hand, if the student is dependent then the main factors that are considered are the assets and income of the parents along with the size of the family and the number of household members attending post secondary educational institutions.
Funding for the Federal Work Study program is provided to colleges only once per year and is limited. This means it is important to apply early. Students that apply early and are successful in securing a FSW grant must make full use of the entire grant money by working their allotted number of hours. Failure to do so will mean that the allocated grant money will not be used up completely and will deny other deserving candidates from participating in the program. It is for this reason that all students are strongly urged to fulfill their commitments to the FSW grant program.
How much money was awarded as part of the FWS grant program?
During the fiscal year 2010 a sum of $980,492,800 was awarded as FWS grants by the U.S Department of Education. The average sum awarded to each student amounted to $1524
In the next article we will look at how to apply for a Work Study Grant and the possible work options under the work study program.
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