In our previous article we gave a brief overview of the Federal Work Study (FWS) program and how it can help students pay a portion of their education costs. A student applicant that is approved for the work study program gets paid to work a certain number of hours in a field and position closest to his chosen degree. The work study program have over the years helped a number of students and has been in operation for nearly 50 years. Close to 3400 colleges in the United States participate in the work study program
How to apply to the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Grant Program?
As with all federal aid, your application for Work Study starts with filing your FAFSA. Remember, FWS grant programs are for students that demonstrate financial need and this is determined by the information you fill out in your FAFSA.
On your FAFSA application, you will find an option that asks if you would be interested in Work Study as part of your financial aid package. To be more precise, taking the paper based FAFSA form as an example, on item 31 in the Step 1 section for students in the FAFSA application you are asked if you are interested in being considered for work-study. Make sure you mark that option as “Yes”. That’s pretty much it, you have now signed up to be accepted into the FWS program.
Below is a screenshot of the option
How much can I earn from the Work-Study Program?
The FWS is a campus based aid program. This means that the awarding and disbursement of aid is managed by the financial ad office on campus. Individual colleges have a certain amount of flexibility in managing the Work Study grant program. Some schools have a limit on the total number of hours a student can work part time in a week and others have restrictions where the work study program hours are curtailed if the student’s GPA falls below a certain number. You are guaranteed however that your hourly pay is above minimum wage set by the federal government. Your total wages will depend on the total number of hours you work or are limited to by the program. Typically a student will work 10 to 20 hours a week in a campus based position or a off campus based position.
Where and who can I work for under the Work-Study Program?
One of the requirements of the FWS program is that participating schools try their best to place students in a part time position that is directly related to his or her course work. For this reason you will find that many work offers are within the school itself. Also institutions must utilize at least 7 percent of their FWS allocation to support students who are working in community service jobs such as tutoring preschool or elementary school children. Typical work study jobs that fall under this category are working as Math tutor or English tutor.
You can also find employment in the following organizations
- Federal, State or local public agency
- A private Non profit organization
- A private For profit organization
Since 93 percent of the funds is left to the discretion of the school, you just might find yourself working on campus doing just about anything.
How will I get paid as part of the FWS program?
Unlike other grants like the Pell grant and FSEOG, you can request your money to be paid directly to you or credited to your bank account or applied to your course fees. The choice is yours to make. The payments take place monthly and is dependent on the number of hours you work during the month.
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