Federal Work Study

What is Federal Work Study?

Federal Work Study (FWS) is a source of federally funded, need-based financial aid. Students must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for FWS. If you demonstrate financial need as determined by Student Financial Aid, you may receive FWS as part of your financial aid "package." If so, FWS will be listed on your Notice of Financial Aid Eligibility Letter, also called an "award" letter. Student Financial Aid (SFA) determines a maximum amount of FWS you can earn during the school year.

What is the difference between an FWS job and a Regular Employment job?

The primary difference is in how the jobs are funded. The table below describes the differences between FWS and Regular Employment:

Federal Work Study (FWS)

Regular Employment

Must demonstrate financial need by filing the FAFSA. Filing the FAFSA is not required.
Federal government pays 60% of wages; employing department pays 40%. Employing department pays 100% of wages.
FWS earnings can be excluded when determining eligibility for financial aid the following award year (according to FAFSA instructions). Wages are considered when calculating need-based financial aid for the following award year.
Increasing or decreasing FWS eligibility may affect current year award package. Regular Employment earnings do not affect current award year aid package.
Only FWS-eligible students can work in FWS jobs. Any student can apply for Regular Employment jobs.
FWS students have an earnings limit listed on the award notification. Regular student employees do not have an earnings limitation. However, the number of hours worked may be limited by department funding levels and the student's eligibility for employment.
Must meet minimum half-time enrollment requirements:
6 semester hours for undergraduates
4 semester hours for graduate students
Same requirement applies for receiving FWS for summer.
Must meet minimum half-time enrollment requirements when working fall or spring semesters. During summer sessions, enrollment not required IF: 1) student was enrolled at least half time the previous spring semester, and 2) there is evidence of planned (at least half-time) enrollment for the fall semester immediately following.

How do I apply for Federal Work Study?

You must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for Federal Work Study and other need-based aid. The Student Financial Aid office determines your eligibility for aid, and notifies you in writing. If FWS is not included on your "Notice of Financial Aid Eligibility" and you are interested in a specific FWS job, contact Student Financial Aid at (419) 372-2651. It is possible that you may be eligible to have FWS added to your award "package." Increasing or decreasing your FWS eligibility may affect your other financial aid.